Brownback & Richardson are “in,” too

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican, made his presidential candidacy official on Sunday with a speech in Topeka.  Just re-elected New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson also jumped in the race on the Democratic side this weekend.

Brownback’s advisory popped in my inbox first:

Brownback Anounces Run for President
Delivers remarks from Heritage Hall in Topeka, Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He delivered the following remarks from Heritage Hall in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas:

"I am declaring today my candidacy for President of the United States.

"Ours is a great nation and I make one pledge to you, to use our greatness for goodness.

"We are a great nation because our greatness is built on the foundation of fundamental goodness. If ever we lose our goodness, we will surely lose our greatness. Our purposes, from the time of our nation’s founding, have always been bigger than we are. They must be if we are to fulfill our destiny.

"But destinies are built on daily achievements. Inch by inch, step by step, we press on to our higher calling. Today I wish to state what I believe those next steps are, for our nation and for our people.

"Two hundred years ago this year, a little known British Parliamentarian by the name of William Wilberforce finally achieved success after a lifetime of effort to end the slave trade in the British Empire. A committed Christian who believed his faith should be a force for good in Britain and around the world, Wilberforce had two great passions: ending the slave trade and renewing the culture. Although his goals appeared impossibly lofty, both were achieved.

"He used Britain’s greatness for goodness.

"Our mandate today has a similar feel. If William Wilberforce were alive today, I believe he would be passionately fighting for the dignity of every human life everywhere, without regard to race, wealth, or status. He would also feel compelled to take up the vital cause of renewing the family and the culture.

"These are our fights today.

"We must fight for the downtrodden, the voiceless and the powerless. We must fight for freedom and justice. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of our heritage.

"But, our land needs healing.

"Our people need hope.

"Our world needs help.

"We need reconciliation. Lincoln properly observed that, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand.’ We are divided and need healing.

"We need to rebuild our families. We need stronger families! We need people belonging and committed! By doing so, we will reduce poverty, strengthen our nation and increase hope.

"We need to support the foundational institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman for life. We should support marriage, not tax it. It’s wrong to take away welfare benefits just because someone gets married. Marriage remains the best place to raise children–not the only place, but the best.

"We must stop wasteful spending that steals a families’ income and then insults them by throwing their money away on pork-barrel projects.

"And we need more opportunities–not more taxes. I’ve never voted for a tax increase, and I certainly will never sign one!

"But that’s not enough. We need a different income tax system altogether. This one, the Internal Revenue Code, should be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull axe.

"I propose the creation of an alternative flat tax, which lets the people choose which system works for them.

"We need a social security system in which all Americans are given a choice in how to prepare for their retirement; a choice they do not presently have. No one should be required to leave the current system, and everyone must be guaranteed their current level of benefits. Every American should be given this freedom.

"We are a large nation. Let’s start embracing American-sized goals that lift us up and pull us together!

"Let’s put our energies into conquering the number one fear in America: the fear of getting cancer. We can end deaths by cancer in ten years. The last two years have seen a decrease in deaths by cancer. It’s time to put this killer to death. With our intense effort, we can make it a chronic–rather than a terminal–illness. What a gift to humanity!

"We need high-quality, affordable health care for everyone. Here, let me step back for a moment. I am a conservative. A conservative that believes in addressing problems, not ignoring them. We must address our health care problems with market-based solutions, not government-run health care. We can, and we must. This topic requires our urgent attention.

"We must be energy self-reliant in North America in the next fifteen years–at the same time we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This is possible using our ingenuity, resources, and determination.

"Also, we need judges who want to be judges, not legislators.

"And for goodness sakes, the last thing we need in America is to take God out of our public lives and institutions! We need to embrace our nation’s motto ‘In God We Trust,’ not be ashamed of it. Search the record of history. To walk away from the almighty is to embrace decline for a nation. To embrace him leads to renewal, for individuals and for nations.

"Something most people feel deeply in their hearts is the need for a culture of life–a culture that doesn’t allow the strong to exploit the weak–a culture of compassion instead of a culture of convenience. Life is beautiful. We all know this. Let’s start following our hearts and work to protect all innocent human life.

"We are a nation at war. I just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops–the finest, most courageous people our nation has to offer–are fighting for the cause of liberty in places that have never known her. It is a long fight. We will win. We cannot lose our will to win! We must win to redeem our troops’ sacrifice. Let us resolve to have a bipartisan strategy for the war. We need unity here to win over there. This is not the time for partisanship on any side. Lives–and our future–are at stake.

"We will achieve these goals, not through government action, but by tapping into our innate goodness as a society and working together. This is how America has always achieved great goals.

"At the end of the day, it comes back to the basics: faith, family, and freedom. America is great because she is good. That goodness is not based in Washington, or New York, or even Topeka. It is based in the hearts of the American people. This is a goodness whose author is the divine. A goodness that doesn’t let us rest until our neighbor is at peace. A goodness that feels the chains of another rub on our own skin. A goodness from God that demands our vigilant action.

"How much better we will be as we seek to live the great commandment to love God and one another.

"Yes, we are great and that is a humbling thing, for to whom much is given, much is required.

"Let us, in this generation, continue our destiny of greatness by focusing on the heart, a heart full of good. That’s what I’ll seek to do everyday.

"So it is with sincere humility and a determination to do good that I declare my candidacy for President of the United States.

"God bless you all, and may God continue to bless this great nation!

A few moments later, the Richardson folks sent out this news release:

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Announces Presidential Campaign Exploratory Committee
Richardson has unparalleled experience and proven record of success as a Congressman, UN Ambassador, Energy Secretary, and Governor
SANTA FE, NM–New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced the formation of a Presidential campaign exploratory committee, with the clear intention of seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

"I am taking this step because we have to repair the damage that’s been done to our country over the last six years," said Richardson. "Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, and civility and common decency in government has perished."

"The next president of the United States must get our troops out of Iraq without delay. Before I became Governor of New Mexico, I served as Ambassador to the United Nations and as Secretary of Energy. I know the Middle East well and it’s clear that our presence in Iraq isn’t helping any longer," said Richardson.

"Our next President must be able to bring a country together that is divided and partisan," said Richardson. "It is clear that Washington is broken and it’s going to take a return to bipartisanship and simple respect for each other’s views to get it fixed. Most public policy solutions these days are coming from Governors and state government. On issues like the environment, jobs, and health care, state governments are leading the way. And that’s because we can’t be partisan or we won’t get our jobs done. That’s a lesson I’ve learned as Governor and that’s what I’ll do as President."

When New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson speaks about embracing diversity, the American dream, and public service, he speaks from unparalleled experience. Born November 15, 1947 in Pasadena, California to an American father and Mexican mother, Governor Richardson grew up in Mexico City before moving to New England, where he attended high school and college. He has dedicated his life to public service, as a United States Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and now as Governor of New Mexico.

This past November, Richardson won re-election to his second term as Governor of New Mexico with a resounding 69% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in state history. He was supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents, winning in both urban and rural counties. New Mexicans overwhelmingly endorsed Governor Richardson’s aggressive efforts to improve education, cut taxes, build a high-wage economy, expand health care access, invest in renewable energy and make New Mexico safer.

Bill Richardson’s fiscally responsible governing style has allowed New Mexico to tackle important priorities, while maintaining a balanced budget and the highest reserves in state history. He cut $230 million in bureaucratic waste, invested in new opportunities for New Mexico’s children and returned more than $1 billion dollars in taxes to working families. His innovative policies have turned New Mexico’s economy around, with 84,000 new jobs, rising personal income and a growing high tech sector that includes manufacturing, aviation, and renewable energy.

As Secretary of Energy to President Bill Clinton, Bill Richardson implemented tough efficiency standards to save energy. And as Governor, he has made New Mexico the Clean Energy State by requiring utility companies to produce energy through renewable resources and reduce carbon emissions.

Before becoming Governor, Bill Richardson served in Congress for 15 years and helped President Clinton pass the economic plan that created millions of jobs and led America to its first balanced budget in 30 years.

Appointed by President Clinton as the Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson worked with world leaders to build alliances and help prevent the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea. Bill Richardson has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the release of hostages, American servicemen and political prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba. Governor Richardson recently negotiated a 60-day cease fire in war-torn Darfur following direct talks with rebel leaders and the President of Sudan.

As Chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Governor Richardson raised more than $28 million for gubernatorial candidates and helped elect the first Democratic majority of governors since 1994. Governor Richardson also served as Chair of the Western Governors Association, Border Governor’s Conference and the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Bill Richardson has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for 33 years. Richardson received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and a MA from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.

The Bill Richardson for President Exploratory Committee will be headquartered in New Mexico. Key staff will include:

Dave Contarino: Contarino ran Richardson’s first campaign for Governor, served as his Chief of Staff for 3 years and most recently was the Chair of his re-election campaign.
Amanda Cooper: Cooper was Richardson’s re-election Campaign Manager and Fundraising Director. Cooper oversaw raising $14 million for the Governor’s re-election campaign and led the effort to raise $28 million for the DGA in Governor Richardson’s two year term as Chair.
Pahl Shipley: Shipley was most recently the Communications Director and Chief Spokesperson in the Office of Governor Bill Richardson. Shipley is a 25-year award-winning veteran of television news and prior to working for Richardson, he served as the News Director at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Colleen Turrentine: Turrentine served as the national fundraising director for the Democratic Leadership Council. Before that, she worked for the 2004 Joe Lieberman presidential campaign.
Richardson’s Senior Advisors will include:

Steve Murphy: Murphy is a founding partner of Murphy Putnam Media, a premiere Washington media consulting firm. Murphy was Dick Gephardt’s National Campaign Manager in 2003-2004 and managed his Iowa caucus campaign in 1988.
Mike Stratton: Stratton has served in numerous senior roles in several Democratic Presidential Campaigns and has served as a long-time Senior Political Advisor to Richardson.
Mark Putnam: Putnam, a founding partner of Murphy Putnam media, has been a media consultant and campaign strategist for over two decades. He’s written, directed, and produced over 1,000 commercials for campaigns in 46 states, including helping elect five Governors, six U.S. Senators, and dozens of members of the U.S. House.
Jeff Eller: Eller is the CEO of Public Strategies in Austin, and a veteran of the Clinton 1992 Campaign and the White House.
Jennifer Yocham Poersch: Yocham Poersch, a former deputy finance director for the 2004 Lieberman campaign, will work with Cooper on national fundraising. Poersch worked for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, including a stint
as senior adviser to committee chairwoman, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
Joe Velasquez: Velasquez is Richardson’s advisor on Labor and Political Affairs. Velasquez was the Head of the Department of Community Service for the AFL-CIO. Additionally, he was a former member of the DNC staff and a Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President Bill Clinton.
Calvin Humphrey: Humphrey has worked with Richardson for many years as his Foreign Policy Advisor, traveling to Iraq and most recently, Sudan on hostage rescue and other missions. Humphrey served as the Democratic Staff Director, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives and previously was the Principal Deputy
Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of International Affairs.
Andre Pineda: Pineda is the Founder and President of Pineda Consulting, a California-based, Latino-owned firm specializing in political polling and strategic communications. Pineda has over 15 years of experience working for some of the biggest names in the political consulting business – Peter Hart, Geoff Garin, Fred Yang, Rich Schlackman, and Stan Greenberg.
Suzanne Cole Nowers: Nowers is the CEO of Nexus Direct, a top direct marketing firm, who worked for Richardson’s re-election and whose clients include the DSCC to coordinate our direct mail fundraising.

To view Governor Bill Richardson’s video statement in both English and Spanish please go to:

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.