The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable Kay Hagan, United States Senator, North Carolina, at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
It's an honor to welcome everyone to North Carolina. I hope those of you who are visiting us have had a chance to experience our beautiful state. Mostly I hope you've had the chance to visit with the wonderful people of North Carolina.
North Carolina is strong because our people are strong. They define our state—by their hard work, commitment to their families and neighbors, their willingness to sacrifice so that their children can have a chance to forge their own path. I've seen those values in every corner of our state. From our small towns to our big cities. From the beaches to the mountains. From our farms and mills to our clean energy and advanced biotech companies.
We call North Carolina "the place where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great." We've always prided ourselves on the fact that anyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, can work hard to make whatever they want of their life. But we didn't get there by accident.
We got there because we were blessed with leaders, from all walks of life, who were willing to do what was right; make difficult, not easy choices; and invest in our future generations. We got there because a group of civic leaders had the vision to look over thousands of acres of empty land and see the potential for Research Triangle Park, which today is a hub of innovation and job creation that employs tens of thousands of people. We got there because four young men were brave enough to sit down at a lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960—a lunch counter where they were not welcome simply because of the color of their skin. We got there because those young men sparked a movement that demanded equal opportunity for every one of our state's citizens. We got there because in 1795, we opened the first public university in the United States, which grew into the best public university system in the country, educating a workforce that fuels our economy.
Our country needs that same forward-looking leadership now more than ever. The solutions of yesterday won't get us where we need to go. We can't get there by slashing education or cutting back on research and development. That's what the other side wants to do—but they tried every one of their proposals before, and they left us with a shrinking middle class and the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
President Obama has a different plan. You can find the whole thing online at BarackObama.com/plans. And when you go there, you'll see a plan to keep building an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down. That's what we need. That's how we'll keep moving forward together.
The eyes of the nation are on North Carolina tonight. And that's fitting because the same values that have made North Carolina great—hard work, community, commitment to a vibrant middle class—are the values that are going to keep our country on the right track for generations to come. I know that the energy we see here tonight is going to carry us on through November and carry this country to a better and brighter future.