Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Post-Election Message from Tim Cunha

Dear Friends and Faithful Supporters,

It has been an honor and a privilege to run for the United States House of Representatives. Thank you for the opportunity and for all your encouragement and support.

I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and reflections in the days following the election.

Johanna and I have met thousands of wonderful people of every description -- and we've made hundreds of new friends. I can never express in words the depth and warmth of my profound gratitude for all the effort and sacrifice made by so many throughout this district and across Florida and the United States to support and advance our campaign. Nor can I describe the overwhelming sense of responsibility and obligation I feel to continue to serve all of them -- all of you -- by pursuing the principles and values so essential to our ethical character and our national destiny.

I have learned even more what an awesome and demanding responsibility it is truly to be a servant of "we, the people."

I have learned how important it is for all who seek public office and all who serve in public office to be guided always by the words of the prophet Micah:
"Do justice, love kindly, and walk humbly with your God."

I have learned that Americans are tired of the 'right/left' debate.
We Americans have far more in common uniting us than dividing us.
We need to return government policies to the center,
respecting all perspectives, seeking common ground -- and moving forward.

And, I have learned that we all are desperate to once again believe in
the promise and potential of democracy for ourselves and for all our children.

Rather than outmoded radical ideologies, we need new perspectives, fresh ideas, and bold leadership to solve the real problems affecting our everyday lives --
affordable energy,
accessible healthcare,
innovative education,
responsible environmental stewardship,
inclusive economic prosperity,
effective financial regulation,
extensive business stimulation,
and enhanced national security
-- all to build a better future, a nobler world,
for our children and grandchildren to live together in peace and prosperity.

Government must once again reflect core American values, fundamental human values that embrace that simple but most profound reality: we are family, we are all brothers and sisters. We must include all of us in the national conversation and, ultimately, come together in consensus seeking to make this best of nations even better, for the good of all nations.

As conscientious individuals and faithful citizens, we are called to express and share our principles and values to help build a better world. For too many decades we have pursued a national agenda of "every person for himself," "the survival of the fittest," "to the victor go the spoils." We have seen the disastrous results of such shortsighted, callous, and selfish behavior. This attitude is inconsistent with our moral heritage and antithetical to our best interests. Rather, we must once again commit ourselves to those time-honored values rooted deep in our collective national conscience -- liberty, justice, equity, equal opportunity, compassion, and, yes, love.

We must reaffirm that we are "our brother's keeper," and recommit ourselves and our government to a consistent ethic respecting the dignity of each person --
combating poverty and ignorance and despair,
assisting the ill and disabled,
protecting freedom and human rights,
providing opportunities for each American
to reach his or her unique God-given potential,
maintaining the rule of law, and,
liberating all those entrapped and enslaved
by circumstances beyond their control,
wherever and whoever they may be.

These are not just moral imperatives -- they are wise national policies that will make our country and our world more just, more humane, and more secure.
We must pursue these principles humbly and graciously and respectfully,
not as zealots or tyrants, but as instruments of God's peace.

When we provide opportunity for each of us,
we expand the accomplishments of all of us.

When we redress the injustices to the least of us,
we enhance the justice experienced by all of us.

It is this quest that together we must continue to pursue: "... that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
We will accomplish that goal
by prohibiting the inordinate power of money and privilege
from influencing the priorities of Congress;
by seeking justice for all people;
by treating each person with dignity, respect, and love; and,
by all of us, particularly our elected representatives,
serving with integrity, with diligence,
and most importantly, with humility.

As we look forward to the next four years of the new Presidential administration,
let's commit ourselves to all these values,
rally support for our new President,
and encourage Congress to
place principle above politics,
people above expediency,
and consensus above stridency.

As we look forward to 2010, let's talk to our neighbors about how important it is for every member of Congress to be committed to this same agenda. And, let's continue to seek new representation for the 6th District that will truly reflect the values that we share and will serve the best interests of the human family now and into the future.

In Conclusion.

Saying "thank you" is terribly inadequate, but nonetheless profound and genuine.

Counting all the couples individually, I figure that somewhere around 1,500 people contributed to this campaign -- from $1 to $4,600. And, a number of unions provided generous and essential financial support, along with the Duval, Clay, and Alachua DECs, the Florida Democratic Party, and various Democratic clubs. (But, not one cent from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Consider what we could have done with just a small fraction of the millions that were poured into some other campaigns, including some that were lost.)

On top of that -- and literally priceless, hundreds of people dedicated many, many hours -- several of them full-time -- for no compensation except to know they have been part of a noble cause: after eight long years of darkness and desperation, restoring the light of hope and rebirth to our nation and our world.

All this in just 6 months, with most of the funds raised and actual campaign effort waged in the 70 days from August 26 to November 4th. We all did remarkably well and, despite the final count on Election Day, it is truly a victory for all involved.

To all of you, I say simply but most sincerely,
Thank You,
Tim Cunha

What now?
There are just a little more than 700 days until Election Day 2010.

District 6 "Town Meetings".

In the next 18 to 21 months, Clifford Stearns will hold numerous "town meetings" at which he will give a PowerPoint presentation and answer a few carefully screened questions from an audience comprised disproportionately of radical right wing apologists. Let's change that paradigm!

Stearns told the press that I was welcome to confront him at these town meetings.-- Well, let's all do it. We need scores of Democrats, Independents, and "fed up" responsible Republicans to attend. We need to challenge him at every event-not just with questions to learn his viewpoint; but, rather, with alternative policy statements and demands for his response and his acquiescence.

These town meetings are public events, arranged by taxpayer-paid congressional staff, traveled to at government expense, promoted by government-paid printing and postage-let no one intimidate anyone from attending and photographing, videotaping, and recording everything. If anyone does attempt to infringe on our rights at these meetings (as they have in the past), we will confront Mr. Stearns and his staff and anyone else involved, in federal district court.

Federal Programs & Priorities for North Florida.

In the months ahead, let's gather together and determine what programs and policies are most pressing for the counties included in the 6th District. Then, despite the do-nothing obstructionism of our current representative, let's rally public support and congressional sponsorship to promote these priorities. In other words, let's put North Florida back to work in new high-quality jobs, with financially-sound homes, well-educated children, affordable healthcare, pure and sustainable water resources, secure and affordable energy, a healthy environment, and a durable public infrastructure.

Fortifying the Democratic Party.

We have accomplished so much in this campaign by revitalizing the party and engaging new people in areas of North Florida where Democrats have been an all-too-silent minority. In "red" Marion County, for example, Democrats came so close that with only a one-percent vote shift, Democrats would have controlled the County Commission 3-2!

We must keep the thousands of Obama volunteers as integral members of the organization, revitalize and coordinate the efforts of the various Democratic clubs, and build a solid financial base.

We also must create an environment of campaign cooperation, coordination, and teamwork so that we can reap the benefits of: (1) incumbent Democrats endorsing challenger Democrats; (2) more cost-effective advertising with full-ticket advertising in newspapers, on radio and TV, and in printed literature; (3) the economies of scale in the use of volunteers placing signs, distributing literature, making phone calls, canvassing neighborhoods, etc. for all candidates simultaneously; (4) and, assuring that public appearance opportunities for any one candidate are made available to all candidates.

Last, but not least, hold onto those "Tim Cunha" signs and shirts! We're going to need them again in 18 months. And, if you will, keep those bumper stickers on ... two years of sustained name recognition will help a lot.

We're keeping the "Tim Cunha For Congress" committee open; and, along the way, we'll be doing early fund-raising to get a head start for the next time.

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