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Owens' victory speech

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Bill Owens, the Democrats' candidate in the 23rd Congressional District, became part of history Tuesday when he became the first non-Republican to represent any part of this 11-county area in more than a century.

Mr. Owens joined his supporters for a victory party at the American Legion in Plattsburgh around 12:30 a.m. this morning, where he gave the following remarks:

"When we began this journey, a lot of people didn't give us much of a chance. They didn't think the people of upstate New York were ready to set aside partisanship, and all the things that divide us, in favor of finding commonsense solutions to the challenges that unite us.

"Upstate New York hasn't received this much attention since the Miracle on Ice. And tonight with the entire country watching, upstate New Yorkers sent a message.

"We came together tonight as Democrats, Republicans, and independents to seek solutions - to create jobs for our workers, to bring economic development back to our communities, to fight for Fort Drum, and to give all middle class families in upstate New York a fair shake from Washington.

"Tonight, the voters in this election sent the message loud and clear: when it comes to getting our economy moving again, to creating good-paying jobs for our workers, to ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas, and for making upstate New York a leader in producing clean energy, they put aside partisanship and declared they're ready to move forward, not backward.

"There are so many people to thank tonight. First and foremost, my thanks to the people of New York's 23rd Congressional District.

"You are the ones who proved that elections aren't decided by pundits or polls. You rejected the false attacks and the partisan divisions and decided that when it comes to confronting the challenges we face, we're all in this together. Tonight's victory is your victory.

"I am humbled by your support and I pledge to honor your trust by working every day to bring jobs and opportunity back to upstate New York.

"My thanks to President Obama for his extraordinary leadership for our country and his support for my campaign. My thanks to Vice President Biden as well, who was here with me just yesterday. I look forward to working with our president and vice president to bring common sense solutions to create jobs here and get our economy back on track.

"Thank you to my wife Jane and our three amazing kids.. All campaigns, especially one this hard-fought, require families to sacrifice. I am grateful to them for giving up so much for me. I would not be standing here without their love and support every day.

"I must give special thanks to Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava. I was honored to earn the support of a great leader like her. She has always put the people of upstate New York before any partisan agenda. I share her commitment and I look forward to working with her to help the people of this district.

"I'd like to thank our outstanding Senators from New York - Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who worked hard for my campaign and work even harder for the people of New York in the U.S. Senate.

"My thanks also go out to the outstanding Members of New York's Congressional delegation, especially Congressmen Steve Israel and Paul Tonko.

"I look forward to joining the outstanding men and women of New York's Congressional delegation to move our state and our country forward.

"Thank you to my friends in organized labor, who spread my message of creating jobs and opportunity for working people across upstate. I am grateful to all of the volunteers who gave their time to knock on doors, dial phones, and helped me spread the word about what's at stake in this election.

"My thanks to Secretary John McHugh, who spent 16 years representing upstate New York in Congress with honor, with integrity, and always with a sincere desire to put the best interests of Upstate families first.

"Finally, I want to thank to Doug Hoffman on his campaign. I look forward to working with him and his supporters in the months ahead to work together as New Yorkers to find solutions to the challenges we face together.

"I began this campaign to bring a new kind of leadership to Washington - one that focuses on finding the commonsense solutions we need right now.

"As I go forward now to Washington, I'm going to work with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to do just that so we can:

"Get our economy back on track with good paying jobs and investments in clean energy here in upstate New York.

"Protect our dairy farmers, who are struggling because they're not getting a fair price for their milk.

"Fight for health care reform, so that our middle class families have quality, affordable care and our businesses can become more competitive in the global economy.

"Fight for Fort Drum - to make sure that it stays strong. In the Army, we pledge to leave no solider behind, and I will fight just as hard to make sure that we leave no veteran behind when they come home.

"Our challenges aren't Democratic or Republican. They're not liberal or conservative. They are American challenges that we will overcome with American resolve.

"The only way that we can create jobs and attract economic development to our communities is by bringing people of all parties together and giving everyone a seat at the table.

"That's what I've done through out my career and now, thanks to what you did in this election, that's exactly what I'll do for you every day as your representative in Congress.

"Thank you."

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