|Let Freedom Ring
On this day in 1776, our young republic adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring ourselves a new nation: the United States of America. Our founding fathers envisioned a country freed from British rule, set apart by its principles of limited government, freedom, individual responsibility, and founded on the fundamental truth that“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Those rights amount to what so many of us know as the “American Dream” – the freedom to build a life of our choosing, to offer our children a brighter future than what we once knew, and to fulfill our God-given potential.
The American Dream is the promise that where you start in life does not determine where you end up. It means that you can write your own story – no matter where you came from, what your last name is, or how much money was in your parents’ bank account. The American Dream was at the heart of our Founding Fathers’ vision for this young republic. It is what sustained and strengthened our nation for some 240 years, and it must be vigilantly protected even today.
For me, this cause is deeply personal because the American dream is what makes my story possible. As I have shared with many of you during our conversations together, I spent the first years of my life in public housing – the daughter of a homemaker and an electrician, neither with more than a ninth grade education. My parents worked hard to eventually purchase the same modest home that they still live in today, but even then I never imagined that I would attend college, let alone serve in Congress. Thankfully, a high school guidance counselor made a personal investment in my life and taught me to dream a bigger dream for my future. With his encouragement, the help of a few odd jobs, and a scholarship from the Optimist Club, I became the first person in my family to earn a college degree.
Now, several decades later, God has blessed me beyond measure; giving me a fulfilling career in nursing, three children and six beautiful grandchildren, and, of course, giving me the great honor of serving each of you in Congress. It is a story that I will tell to anyone who will listen because I know that only here, in the United States of America, can a person’s story start in public housing and end up in public office.
I went to Washington because I didn’t want my story to be unique. I want it to be repeated every day. The beauty of America has always been that, while we do not promise equal outcomes, we promise equal opportunity. We are a country founded on the belief that if you work hard and do the right thing, you can achieve your goal. When big government policies threaten that premise, we have to fight back so that this remains as true in 2016 as it was in 1776.
Today, whether you are celebrating the Fourth of July at a family picnic, a hometown parade, or simply enjoying time spent at home with your loved ones, I hope you will join me in rededicating ourselves to the defense of the American Dream for future generations and in asking God’s continued guidance and provision for our nation.
From my family to yours, Happy Independence Day!
Member of Congress