Campaign Stump Speech

The following speech was frequently delivered by Paul Wellstone in early 1990, as he took on powerful incumbent Sen. Rudy Boschwitz. It is taken from his personal files and notes from the 1990 campaign.

Thank you, thank you very much!

I love to campaign and I can't wait to get started on this campaign against Rudy Boschwitz. I am not worried about his money, or his image-makers and pollsters. We'll raise the money we need to win and we also have some powerful weapons Boschwitz can't begin to match. We have the people working with us, we have the organization, we have the energy, excitement and integrity, we have the issues and conviction to fight for what we care about.

I promise you a fighting, progressive-populist, grassroots campaign in the Hubert Humphrey - Harry Truman tradition. A campaign that will offer the people of Minnesota a clear alternative to Rudy Boschwitz. A campaign that will be rooted in the participation of people every city, town, county and district in Minnesota, a campaign that will restore people's faith in politics, a campaign that will light a prairie fire that will sweep Rudy Boschwitz and all his money and wealthy benefactors out of Washington like a pack of grasshoppers. We will win this race!

We must win for health care. My mother Minnie Wellstone is 89 years old, a cafeteria worker, she never made much money. Now she has Alzheimer's' disease and is in a nursing home in Northfield. All her resources will have to be depleted until she is eligible for any financial assistance. There is no dignity to such a system. We can do better than that. With your endorsement I'll beat Rudy Boschwitz and lead the fight in the U.S. Senate for universal health care coverage. It is an idea whose time has come. We must provide humane, dignified and affordable health care for all the people in our country.

We must win for our children. One-quarter of our children our poor; one-half of children of color are poor. Every day 100,000 children are homeless. A society that abandons its children with inadequate health care, child-care, education and nutrition is a society that has failed in its mission. We can do better than that. When I am in the United States Senate I will be a strong voice for children, not my children, not your children, but for all the children. We need a New Deal for the children in America.

We must win for the working people. This decade of the 80's - a decade of plants closed, strikes defeated, higher taxes for working people, unions busted, wages depressed, health care and pension benefits cut, broken dreams, broken lives, broken families. It has to stop. When elected to the Senate I'll lead the fight for legislation banning companies from hiring permanent replacements during a strike. It is time to put the government back on the side of the people, not on the side of union busting corporations.

We must win to save the environment. We cannot continue to poison our air, land and water. We must make peace with the planet Earth. Rudy is an election year environmentalist. He is the Senator from Exxon. He takes money from almost every major polluter in the country. We've got to get him out of there and elect a Senator who really cares about the environment. Rudy Boschwitz is the Senator from Exxon; I am going to be the environmentalist Senator from Minnesota, from now on.

Boschwitz says we don't have the money to deal with education, child-care, health care, the environment. He is willing to spend $500 billion to bail out the S and L's a $300 billion dollars a year for the Pentagon. I say we will have no real national security unless we invest in our people, our communities, our economy. I say we will have no real national security unless we invest in the skills, intellect, health and character of our children.

You know where I stand on the issues the vast majority of Minnesotans believe in. I am pro-choice. I am an advocate for children. I stand with working people. I am passionate about fighting for family farmers and rural people. I want my own children to have a future as family farmers and stewards of the land. I believe in businesses that make productive investments business communities and our economy. I support civil rights and human rights in our country and abroad. I am opposed to discrimination against any group of people. I've struggled with and been inspired by people with disabilities.

With the kind of campaign we can wage, I know that Rudy Boschwitz can be beaten this year. But to do it I must have your strong endorsement today. If you believe in what I stand for, and I know that you do, then this time, work for what you believe in and stand with me. I am a teacher, fighter for children, an environmentalist, a husband and a father. And I am proud to be a Democratic-Farmer-Laborite. What I've stood for, what I have acted on is the heart and soul of our party and the very essence of what Minnesotans believe in.