Suzanne's Remarks At The Virginia Republican Convention
As prepared for delivery:
In 1847, a man named Hendrick Pieter Scholte, came to America leading a group of 40 families seeking religious freedom. He had been part of a spiritual awakening in the Netherlands that had put him at odds with the established church. He was jailed for preaching the Gospel and his followers were harassed and forbidden to gather. He and his fellow Dutch pioneers decided to come to America to be a free people. In 2008, a woman named Song Hwa Han came to America with her two daughters after escaping from North Korea, a country that controlled every single aspect of their lives. Because the government even restricted travel, when famine came, Song Hwa’s family slowly started to starve to death. After seeing her mother, husband, and sons die, Song Hwa vowed to save her remaining two daughters and together they escaped to America to be a free people.
Although Hendrick Scholte and Song Hwa Han arrived in America 161 years apart, they both came when America was a land of opportunity and promise and prosperity. While America may have changed dramatically during that period, the fundamentals that made America great were still a part of our national fabric. Yet, today that America is vanishing. We see government institutions used to stifle free speech, we see government officials starting with the President ignore the Constitution. We see attempts to limit freedom of the press and a refusal to recognize the seriousness of an American ambassador and Americans murdered while serving us abroad. We see massive debt and joblessness. We see a massive government take over of our health care system despite the fact that Americans in every single poll have opposed this plan. Remember: this was supposed to be about getting 35 million uninsured insured – it has also been a massive deception. We see the breaking of faith with our veterans. This year of 2014 we have got to change direction. We have got to elect a Republican to the Senate, and we have got to win in Congressional districts like mine - the 11th District of Northern Virginia. We have to win in Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Prince William County.
My fellow Virginians, the 11th district where I have lived for 30 years and raised three sons is one of the most diverse Districts in America. It is a melting pot of longtime Virginians like myself and many new Virginians who came to America to be a free people. These are the folks who most understand the message of our Republican Party if we reach out to bring them in.
One of our greatest Presidents: Ronald Reagan warned us that "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Our freedoms have never been in greater jeopardy than today.
Reagan inspired my life’s work to champion freedom, democracy and human rights. My work has taken me to the DMZ in Korea that separates those who are free from those who are enslaved. I have stood at the Wall of Shame in North Africa that separates those who are free from those who are enslaved. I have given a voice to those who have escaped tyranny whether Cuban or Chinese, whether Iranian or Russian. I have helped rescue hundreds of people from tyranny including victims of trafficking.
These are the folks who understand that freedom is not for a select few, but a God given right for all people. And BY the way, my ancestor Hendrick Pieter Scholte was a strong and outspoken Democrat – that was up until 1859. In 1859, he switched parties because he was so passionately against slavery. This one time Democrat believed all people had the God given right to freedom and he became a delegate to support Abraham Lincoln at the Republican Convention. Oh, also by the way, Song Hwa Han also attended a Republican convention. She and her daughters voted for the first time in their lives last month for me for Congress as they were delegates to Virginia’s 11th District Republican Convention.
My fellow Virginians – this is the time for Democrats who share our same love of freedom like Hendrick, and new Americans like Song Hwa who risked everything so her family would have it, to join Republicans for this election so that we can continue to be a FREE PEOPLE. Thank you.