It has been a long 16-year journey to come to this point. But, here we are at a beginning again. A wise man once wrote, “The past is prologue.” So, fasten your seatbelts…I’m running for Congress…we’re taking off together again!
Sixteen years ago when I first ran for office, I didn’t promise anyone a job, or a cushy contract, or a road through their property. I made just these promises…to work hard, stay honest, and use commonsense. I have kept those commitments.
I have also stayed “independent” in my service to you. When George Ryan called the next morning after I was the only state senator to rise and speak against what would become his scandal-ridden Illinois First Program and after he was finished chewing off my ear with what could only politely be called colorful language, he said, “I gave you a big $10,000 campaign contribution when you ran statewide, and this is what I get in return?” My reply was “If that’s what that donation meant to you (Governor), you’ll have your money back.” I didn’t have $10,000 in our campaign account, but it’s part of the public record that I paid him back $5000 immediately in 1999 and, several months later, I raised and paid back the rest. I have demonstrated that I understand that I work for you, and not the political potentates and special interests.
The reason why I’ve asked you to meet me here in Garfield Park on Pigeon Hill in Aurora, Illinois is because this is where I learned the values of faith, family, and the fruits of freedom. They were not taught at first in books at school. There were no lectures on “moral philosophy” and “political theory”.
When I was in 2nd and 3rd grades two events occurred in my life--one was very bad and the other was very good. Although both my mom and dad were strong and competent people, they just couldn’t get along. They grew apart and then divorced. Pain and despair between them were like a dark roar that deafened our hearts. My brother, sisters and mom came to live with my Grandpa George Moldovan here on Pigeon Hill just across the hedge over there…and I began to see what love really meant.
While we played in this park, my grandpa provided a home for his daughter and his grandchildren. He had a small catering business where eventually he would employ us grandkids in our first jobs of peeling potatoes and carrots, serving food at weddings and funerals, and scrubbing pots, pans and doing dishes. With our appetites, I’m sure that we ate up every nickel of profits he made during that time.
This is a peaceful place where neighbors fear God, work hard, play cards on Friday nights, and have a beer or two with friends. Generally, we mind our own business, get along with our neighbors, and hope to pay off our mortgages before we die. Church bells at St. Joe’s, Annunciation, St. Nick’s across the bridge, St. George’s and St. Mike’s Romanian parishes would sound every hour to remind us in our work and play that there is a greater power and that we are not the center of the universe. There was a comfort in that gentle reminder that there is order and justice, if we are humble enough to believe.
Eventually and with some sadness, we moved off the Hill to live closer to the grade school we attended. Ten to fifteen years later, I remember my Grandpa stopping over at our home on Hardin Avenue. He wanted to talk to my older brother, Dave, and me. He had a very official looking document that turned out to be the paid-off mortgage to the house we lived in. He was presenting ownership of my mom’s house to all of us and he said, “Boys, I’ve done my part; now it’s up to you to take care of your mother.”
A couple of years later my Grandpa died. To my brother’s eternal credit, he has employed my mom in his accounting practice and cared for her.
Look around this park and see the fruits of freedom…they are peace and prosperity. Our children and grandchildren playing before us is like Christmas and Easter rolled into one every day. Sarah and I have been blessed by God with four sons. They are the delight of our lives--like your children and grandchildren are to yours. Together we have a choice of who we will send around the world to represent our values. Sometimes it’s necessary to send our bravest and strongest sons and daughters as soldiers, but how much better to send them as athletes, scholars, musicians, and friends for life.
Every once in a while during the past 15 years, I’ve been criticized for taking this political business “too seriously” and “too personally”. Well, I’m guilty as charged to that description of my work on your behalf, and I’ll tell you why with one last story about my Grandpa George, then we’ll get on our way.
When I was old enough to ride my bike across town, I’d come to visit Grandpa and Grandma. I clearly remember that he’d come home tired from a long day at work serving people. He’d sit down in his chair in the family room, that we called the “T.V. room” in the back of that red brick house. He’d crack open a Hamm’s beer and turn on the news. Grandma and I would just laugh because he’d start talking back to the TV set. “Grandpa, they can’t hear you!”
That’s my point today--you don’t have to be frustrated about politics or even talk back to the TV set. You need to become involved and change things for the better with us in this campaign.
Americans are hungry for honest, unselfish, competent leadership to help our country and its individual citizens achieve their maximum potential. Leadership is vision to see beyond the horizon, and discipline to make the journey.
You know that I am the only proven and reliable traditional conservative running in the Republican Primary for the 14th Congressional District. I am unambiguously pro-life…pro-Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment…pro-traditional family…the best voting record in the General Assembly, anti-tax…and the only one of 59 state senators to effectively speak against and then to vote against giving more financial incentives to people who are breaking our immigration laws.
I will defend our right to keep the words, “In God We Trust” on our currency and the words “One Nation Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. I ask you to join me in this run for Congress.
This is the “People’s Campaign” for Congress. I know that there will be opponents who threaten to spend millions of dollars to hammer us with robotic-telephone-calls and T.V. commercials full of unproven promises. But no one should be able to “buy” public office; we should “earn” it through building your trust and providing public service.
There will be powerful political and special interests who believe that they should exercise more than their proportionate share of influence in making these decisions for us. But those political potentates, both Democrats and Republicans try to swap principle for power, only to discover that they end up with neither.
We are doing today what is seldom-attempted in American politics. We are calling up an “all volunteer” army of grassroots leaders to march against the power of money and clout. Good government is the best politics. And, the best politics is not about money; it’s about the quality of our relationships and the values we share…limited government, individual liberty, free and fair markets, and traditional values. I need your help.
People ask me why I’m running. I am running to serve my neighbors by continuing to provide the best constituent service at home and by reinforcing those who exercise good judgement in Washington, D.C. “Good judgement” in American government is defined by the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
People ask, “Why are you going to win, Chris?” I’ll tell you why we’re going to win; we’re going to win because…
…there’s a guy named Kevin Reger who is organizing our Grassroots-100 volunteer team.
…there’s a guy named Mike Bock who has been a trusted friend for 30 years helping with this effort.
…there’s a lady named Leslie Root who’s a “true believer” in faith, family and the fruits of freedom.
…there’s Keith and John, and Fran, Cristina, Kim and many more who will work countless hours.
…there are all my fellow colleagues in the state senate like John Millner, Brad Burzynksi in DeKalb, Todd Sieben out West, Randy Hultgren in DuPage, and even former State Senator Steve Rauschenberger.
…I’m deeply grateful for the early endorsements of U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, WLS radio talk show host Tom Roeser, friends at Family Taxpayer Network, and leaders in the pro-family, pro-life, and pro-constitution causes.
We are going to win because people in the 14th Congressional District want to believe again that politics is not about money and clout…it’s about people and our hard work together. We reward honest competence combined with a servant’s heart…not arrogance, swagger, and ego.
And, most importantly, we’re going to win because, by God’s grace, the second thing that happened in my life in 2nd and 3rd grade and it was really good, is that a little girl named Sarah Longley sat right behind me. She was the smartest and toughest kid in the class--and I ended up marrying her. And, now she’s raised 4 beautiful, strong, and generous sons. Springfield, Illinois and Washington, D.C. have nothing that I want beyond doing my duty to my family and my country!
Thank you for being here today--let’s go win!