Four years ago, I became chairman with a mandate for bottom-up reform — grow the Democratic Party in your neighborhood and every other community in America.
We promised to compete in every state, for every level of office. And we demanded a party that would stand up for itself and fight for an agenda that reflects our values.
When the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee elected me, it wasn’t because they thought I could accomplish these things.
They elected me because I knew that only you could.
I believed then — and I believe now — that every single one of us must take responsibility for building our party. It’s not enough to simply vote for Democrats — in order to win, every one of us must deliver our message and values into our own communities. We must organize.
Four years later, we have more Democratic state legislators and governors. We expanded the electoral map, regained a majority in both houses of Congress, and put a Democratic president in the White House.
We did it by rebuilding the party infrastructure from the ground up, creating a truly national voter database, and developing 21st century campaign tools that merged traditional organizing with new technology.
I said on my first day on the job that this wouldn’t be my chairmanship — it would be ours together. And you reshaped the political landscape over these four years.
Next week, I will step down after four years as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
I’d like to congratulate Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, who will take my place as Chairman on January 21st. He will be an excellent leader in the years ahead.
I know a lot of people are wondering what to expect as we move forward. I can assure you that Governor Kaine will continue the grassroots approach that has made our party and Barack Obama’s campaign so successful.
Governor Kaine knows first-hand what a commitment to fighting everywhere means — Virginia is a prime example of what can happen when we refuse to concede any part of this country and build our organization everywhere.
In that spirit of grassroots engagement, Governor Kaine has offered to answer your questions personally in a video on Democrats.org.
Democrats have made great gains over the past four years, but we still have a lot of work to do to get this country back on course.
Governor Kaine knows that the strength of our party comes from the bottom up, and he will need your support as we take the next steps to grow our party and elect Democrats everywhere.
You’ve done a lot over the last six months, and over the last four years. You’ve donated money, talked to friends, knocked on doors. You’ve invested yourself in the political process. And it’s tempting to take it easy after a big victory.
But these are not short-term investments. We will only create lasting change if that sense of obligation to one another and responsibility for the common good becomes a permanent part of our lives.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
We cannot be silent. We cannot leave it to others to see this through.
Thank you for everything you did for our cause in this election and over the last four years.
But we are not stopping here. And even though my term as chairman is ending, I will be with you — and with our new chairman — every step of the way.
Thank you again,