All politics are personal.
When we first met in ’08 we bonded as survivors; his aneurysm, my cancer. We pledged to keep fighting. This year, we shared our Gold Star family loss; his son Beau to brain cancer, my brother Peter in Vietnam — and our Irish / Italian roots. I shared essay tributes to my late parents and he thanked me with this moving letter on March 9 :
It was a pleasure meeting you last month and I am grateful that you shared with me the heartfelt memories of your parents.
The Depression Era stories of your mom, a teacher, and your dad, a bill collector and accountant, both with parents who immigrated to America to pursue a better life for their families — that’s the history of this country. So many American families identify with these stories because they remind us of our resilience and the sacrifices of the generations that came before us.
When I travel around the country and I’m welcomed into people’s communities, homes, and workplaces with such kindness and grace, I am reminded why I got involved in public service — because of hardworking, optimistic Americans who get up every day, do extraordinary things, play by the rules, and ask for nothing but a fair shot to get ahead. The values we strive to maintain — honesty, decency, respect, fair play — are not out of reach. In fact, I’m more confident than I’ve ever been that we can get this country back on track if we just remember who we are.
We embrace equal opportunity for all. We treat one another with dignity. And we are at our best when we invest in a middle class where everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability is in on the deal — that’s what we’re fighting for and it’s within our capacity to achieve it. While Donald Trump and his administration have shown time and time again that they are willing to put those core values at risk, we as a country never walked away from them. We’re not going to walk away from them now — we’re going to let the world know who we are and what we believe in.
Thanks for your support, Fred. Your compassion and generosity will remain with me as we work together to ensure everyone can grasp their share of the American dream.