One year ago today, I launched my campaign for U.S. Senate. I did so because of my profound concern about the direction in which this president and this Congress were beginning to take our country. And I did so because I did not see anyone in the race willing to stand up for the principles and ideas that will be required to get America back on track.
A lot has changed in the past year, though it hasn’t been quite the change President Obama promised. Our deficit has ballooned. Our national debt has grown to an increasingly dangerous level. Spending on government stimulus and other programs has exploded. The size and scope of government have grown as initiatives like Obamacare became law. Unemployment has also changed for the worse, with more Floridians unemployed today than ever before, at a record 12.3 percent rate.
Most worrying is that the identity of our nation has incrementally but methodically changed, drifting towards a future where government growth begets an intrusiveness that threatens to strangle our economy and all that has made America exceptional for more than two centuries.
A lot has changed in the past year — the ever-shifting political winds, for example. Even Charlie Crist’s party affiliation has changed.
But several things haven’t changed. I am still and will always be a Republican. More importantly, my campaign is still based on the limited-government, free-market principles I have always believed in and that will guide me in Washington.
Because Florida’s next U.S. senator will be entrusted with steering our state and country during an era of serious domestic and international challenges, I have embraced the opportunity to let Floridians know exactly where I stand on the issues of the day, while providing concrete solutions to the challenges before us. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of traveling throughout Florida, meeting people from all walks of life, and sharing our mainstream message of why limited government, free enterprise, and traditional values are critical to our nation’s future. I’ve addressed Republican clubs and other groups from the Panhandle all the way down to Key West, across every media market in our state. Through it all, I’ve been energized by the enthusiasm that exists to get our country back on a limited government track.
The past year has been an extraordinary experience, although challenging at times. Campaigns are grueling and can be especially tough on young families such as mine. But I remind myself every day that it’s all worth the sacrifice, because the work I strive to do in Washington will be to the benefit of my children, their generation, our state, and our nation. And it’s a sacrifice worth making for the honor of representing Florida. The past year has been rewarding, and I will now spend the next six months earning the trust of Floridians and their support for the privilege of going to Washington to accomplish things on their behalf.
A year ago, I was relatively unknown, trailing badly in the polls and considered crazy for even thinking of running for the U.S. Senate. We’ve come a long way since then, fueled entirely by voters who understand the challenges our nation faces this decade and the tough decisions our leaders will have to make to ensure our children inherit a stronger, more secure, and more prosperous country.
A year ago, I was considered a long shot. But a year from now, I plan to be hard at work in the U.S. Senate, standing up for the principles and policies that have been the centerpiece of our campaign, because I believe they’re needed in Washington more than ever.