All my life, I've been proud to say that I'm a West Virginia Democrat. I am not a Washington Democrat. Being a West Virginia Democrat means that I'm a commonsense, responsible Democrat -- and I always will be.
I have great compassion for people in need, but I also hold people responsible when they are able to contribute to society and I hold people accountable for their actions. I learned what it means to be a true Democrat from the way I was raised. I am a product of my environment, which included rules and expectations.
My grandmother, Mama Kay, always took in folks who were less fortunate -- and if you were staying with Mama Kay, you could eat well and have a warm bed. But if you could work, by God, she expected you to do so.
That's the Franklin Delano Roosevelt school of Democrats -- that we need to rebuild America by giving people jobs and hope, not just sending out checks. That's the school of Democrats that I believe in and will always belong to.
That's why I stood up for Social Security when both political parties sliced its funding stream for a temporary tax break. Just last week, we learned that Social Security's shortfall will now come three years earlier than expected. That's why I felt compelled to take a stand. We have to protect our social safety nets, and that is one of my core values.
Those core values are why I stood up and fought for the Buffett Rule, to put some fairness back in our tax system. The people of West Virginia just don't understand why hardworking, middle-income people are paying a much higher tax rate than some of the wealthiest people in this country. I will continue to stand up for all people to be treated fairly and to ensure that everyone pays their fair share when it comes to taxes.
Because of my values, I stand with the hardworking men and women in this country. When the Senate voted on three so-called free trade deals -- which will cost this country 250,000 jobs -- I opposed those agreements, even though my political party supported them. I'm proud to stand with hardworking people who are fighting to keep their jobs and to bring jobs back to America, and that is why I have earned the strong support of labor groups.
The list goes on. I've been one of the loudest voices calling for an end to our nation-building war in Afghanistan so we can bring our troops home and start rebuilding America. I'm co-sponsoring the Violence Against Women Act -- to protect our women and families. I opposed the House Republican budget because it would decimate our social safety net and continue to give special favors to the very wealthy.