Last week our country suffered another senseless school shooting. Ten more families lost loved ones, thirteen more were injured, and another community has been shattered by the loss of classmates and teachers and their sense of safety. Again.
I’ve been in towns that have been devastated by school shootings, and I know the grief of the Santa Fe High, Texas community. Nearly 20 years ago, after the Columbine shooting, President Clinton asked me to lead his Youth Violence Commission. That year I began traveling across the country to towns afflicted by violence. I met the families of children who had been killed in school shootings and classrooms of traumatized children.
I sat at kitchen tables with parents, and saw the empty chair where their child should have been.
Those days haunt me, as do my memories of the people of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Springfield, Oregon; West Paducah, Kentucky; Pearl, Mississippi; and Littleton, Colorado. Now Santa Fe joins that list that no city, no community should ever be on. This is not a political issue; it is life and death.
We’re releasing this message today, and I’d be grateful if you’d watch it and share it with others. It describes the work I’ve committed myself to for more than twenty years. It is about something much bigger than any office or any election. I would do the same things again if it cost me every vote. I know this is true, because I did this work long before I ever cared about a vote. And it’s why I’m running.
Children have died because of the failure of leaders to pass laws that work in every other nation on earth. Our government has failed us, and I’m done waiting for leaders to change. We need new leaders.
After the 101 California shooting in San Francisco, I helped lead a group that has become part of the Giffords Courage campaign. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, I worked with the nation’s leading law firms to form a coalition that is providing free legal services to fight the gun lobby. I helped beat the NRA in the California Supreme Court to close the gun show loophole in Alameda County. And this year, I left the campaign trail to stand in solidarity with the students from Stoneman Douglas High School at the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C, joining the Giffords Courage campaign, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
I’ve seen how change works. It happens when leaders aren’t afraid of the NRA, aren’t afraid to lose elections, and aren’t afraid to speak the truth. Americans have died because politicians wanted to get reelected. That has to end now.
As Lt. Governor, our children know: I’ll stand with them.