Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Speech as prepared)
ADDRESS OF MATTHEW DUNLAP
47TH AND 49TH MAINE SECRETARY OF STATE
2014 MAINE DEMOCRATIC STATE PARTY CONVENTION
Chairman Grant, Vice Chair Fenrich, Mr. Speaker and distinguished delegates to the 2014 Maine Democratic Party convention:
My name is Matt Dunlap. I was born and raised in Bar Harbor, and I proudly live in Old Town, my home for the last 25 years. I am also Maine’s 49th Secretary of State, and it is my privilege to address you here today.
Our party is the party of progress, of great ideas made manifest and strong ideals held dearly. We are the party of working families and small business; of family farms and small woodlots; of strong communities where we care not only about the success, prosperity and welfare of our next door neighbors, but justice, peace and prosperity for our neighbors around the world.
We often speak of our party’s ideals in terms of high level goals and objectives that we strive to accomplish on the international, national, and statewide stage. You rarely hear from the constitutional officers—the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and State Treasurer, along with the State Auditor. That’s understandable, because to the untrained eye, the constitutional officers deal in boring, administrative minutiae. At least, that’s what it looks like when we’re doing our jobs well.
There are the important, visible aspects of our work; the conduct of elections, ensuring consumer protection, choosing sound investments of our state’s financial assets, promoting highway safety, providing business services, the delivery of justice, preservation of our state’s public records, and the sound management required to pay our public bills and account to the public for them.
There are, too, those facets of our work that are remarkable for what is missing.
We do not file frivolous, politically biased lawsuits against the Federal government to get a bounce in the polls. We do not invent ghost stories about voter fraud and then use those fictions to frighten American citizens into canceling their legal voter registrations. We do not use our positions or the structures that support them to create fear or to divide our people against each other. We do not pander to our base of support; we do not make a mockery of our solemn, constitutional charge.
Instead, we sit with grieving families who have lost loved ones in spite of our best efforts to ward off tragedy. We listen to people in states of desperation, even if we cannot help them. We help reunite citizens with the remnants of forgotten estates, we advise them when a business transaction has gone badly, and when it counts, we stand wherever the fight takes us, and we fight for our neighbors. The victories are sometimes small, and almost never make for good headlines. But that’s not why we do it.
You see, I got into this business to help people. I know, as Janet, Neria and Pola do, that people sometimes make bad choices, and we sometimes help folks navigate the aftermath of those choices. Two years ago I stood on this stage and talked about the big picture that faced us as Democrats. Ultimately, although I lost at the polls, I won in a big way. I spoke with thousands of Mainers as I sought support for my campaign, and I heard their stories—many times tragic stories.
I never heard a single complaint about the wrenching circumstances that faced them— all I heard was courage. Maine people are incredibly strong. I learned that people don’t choose cancer; they don’t choose mental illness; they don’t choose to lose their jobs; the important choices that they really made were to face their problems head on. And no, Governor LePage, people do not choose poverty.
We don’t do our jobs because we have all the answers, and we don’t do them because of the fame and glory.
We do these things because we’re Democrats. We do it because standing up and being counted is why we got into the business of politics in the first place; and because we believe in the power of people working together so much that we always put everything on the line for the people who have no other voice.
Ladies and gentlemen of the convention: that is who we are, and that is what we do. I, for one, serve the people of Maine with pride, and thank you for the honor you bestow on me every day through the votes of the Legislature that installed me in the office of Secretary of State. I thank you for your work in securing a Democratic majority in the Legislature so that I can be here today; and with you and alongside you, I pledge my strong support and hard work in every minute of my spare time to insure that come November, we can renew that pledge to the people of Maine—that pledge to keep a trust, that we the people built this government to serve the public interest—and not the special interests. It is the pledge that we the people—the citizen legislators of Maine—take to uphold the Constitutions of our state and the United States; and to uphold the entire documents, not just the parts that suit our political needs of the day. And it is the pledge that we make to each other, here today and in all corners of this great state, that all we have is each other, and we will fight for everyone, regardless of their station in life, or their race, or where they come from, their sex, their sexual orientation, we will fight for freedom, we will fight for a better future, we will fight for justice, and we will stand for our ideals, and never give them up.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the State of Maine and the United States of America.