The Democratic National Convention is doing a lot for East Texans, particularly Congressman Jim Turner of Crockett. The ranking democrat on the Homeland Security Committee delivered an important speech at the convention's opening moments.
Turner stepped up to the podium at a time when security is very high at the first party convention since September 11th. So it's fitting that Turner is the only speaker setting out John Kerry's plan on homeland security. "We all know the war on terror is the central issue in this presidential campaign. I can talk with credibility about John Kerry's plan to make our country safer," said Turner from his hotel room in Boston.
C-span viewers caught Turner's speech. Perhaps not prime time, but it's still an important audience according to Stephen F. Austin State University political science professor Dr. Newton Gaskill. "For East Texans it's a a big thing. It could change at least for a short time how the East Texas Democrat Party sees its fortunes rising or falling. The convention role for East Texas is to energize East Texas Democrats, energize the party activists here," said Gaskill.
Bernice Wright, the president of the Nacogdoches Democratic Women is one of those democrats interested in the convention. She's certain East Texas delegates will return from Boston ready to go to work for their party. "I think they're going to be reenergized because we have a lot of hope that Kerry is going to win," believes Wright.
And Congressman Turner hopes to convey that message nationwide. "The truth of the matter is something is happening all across America. There's an uneasiness about leadership that we have. And I think Americans are looking for an answer to that and I believe John Kerry's platform and what he's saying to the American people will ring true with them," said Turner.
Turner's selection as a speaker could also boost the morale of Texas Democrats. "since East Texas in particular was a target of the latest round of redistricting I think the national party wants to shore up the visibility and the prestige of some of the East Texas Democrats party candidates. Congressman Turner is one," explained Gaskill.
Congressman Turner's Speech
My fellow Americans,
Tonight we begin our campaign to build an America that is respected in the world and safer here at home. An America full of hope and promise. An America free from threat and free from fear.
We meet in Boston, the cradle of liberty. The patriots who fired the first shots at Lexington and Concord risked their lives for the cause of freedom. From the Revolutionary War to the Cold War, this same spirit of vigilance and sacrifice has sustained the liberty of our nation.
Today, we confront a new enemy – one forever etched in our memory almost three years ago, when innocent lives were lost and symbols of freedom destroyed. America is engaged in a new kind of war.
To win this new kind of war, we need a new kind of leader. A leader who knows that our military power must be second to none, but who understands that military power cannot be the only weapon in our arsenal. A leader who can build the lasting world alliances that we must have to win the victory over terror. A leader who will make the investments at home necessary to ensure our safety. A leader with the wisdom, vision and insight to understand and defeat this enemy.
John Kerry is that leader.
Tonight, all around the world, brave American soldiers and their families sacrifice for our nation's freedom. John Kerry has walked in their so hes. He has been tested in battle. As Commander in Chief, he will provide our troops with every tool they need to defeat the enemy.
He will never forget that a great nation keeps its promise to its veterans.
And John Kerry knows that in this new war, the front lines are here at home. Americans do not run from a fight, nor will we accept living in fear. As the lead Democrat on the HOuse Committee on Homeland Security, I have seen the work we need to do to protect America from danger.
And I'm here to tell you John Kerry has a plan to make our homeland secure. John Kerry will fix our broken intelligence system to stop terrorists before they strike again. He will bolster security at our borders. He will make our vulnerable targets-our nuclear and chemical plants, our refineries- more secure to keep those who live nearby safe from harm. He will ensure that every cargo container entering our ports is screened for radiation, protecting us from the threat of nuclear terrorism. The cost of securing America is great, but the cost of failing to secure America is even greater.
From the river deltas of Vietnam to the halls of Congress, John Kerry has shown courage in the heat of battle. He is a soldier and a leader who will face our challenges squarely and with resolve. And that is why tonight, I ask you join us in electing John Kerry the next President of the United States.