Democrat Robin Kelly easily won Tuesday the House seat held by disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill), awaiting sentencing in June on federal corruption charges. AP called Kelly the winner in the special election in the heavily Democratic second district of Illinois seat. The Sun-Times story is HERE.
Kelly by the numbers, per Emily's List: "98th Woman, 75th Democratic Woman To Serve In The 113th Congress."
"EMILY's List is thrilled that Robin Kelly will become the 75th Democratic woman to serve in the 113th Congress" said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List.
Kelly made gun-control a centerpiece of her campaign--she got a big assist from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PAC--and was joined by the parents of Hadiya Pendleton--shot to death in a South Side park-- at her victory press conference on Tuesday night.
Below, the prepared text of her remarks...
When I first announced for Congress in December, I asked you to stand by me in a fight that was bigger than any one person.
I told you then--and throughout this campaign--that our fight wasn't about me--it was about you.
about your dreams. Your hopes. your families.
You lent us your hearts, your time and your support. And look at where we are now.
I'm sure that you remember that---when we began this campaign-- there were a whole lot of people who counted us out, naysayers who said we couldn't win.
Well, we not only won an election
we took on the NRA
we gave a voice to the voiceless,
and we put our communities on a brand new path to a brighter day.
Yes, we've seen some tough times and some setbacks. I know for some of you, your faith in your leaders is a little shaken.
Dr. King once said that "Only in the darkness, can we see the stars." Well, you all, you are the stars.
Throughout it all, you stayed committed to our communities and to helping usher in the change necessary to move us forward.
Through your support, you put your trust in me. I thank you for that and I promise that I'll never let you down.
Now, make no mistake, the road ahead will be bumpy.
Making our families safe from gun violence is going to be a challenge.
Putting people back to work is a tough task.
But, to those who say that we won't be able to make Congress do anything on gun control, who think this Tea Party Congress can't be beaten---
I've got two words:
Watch us beat the odds again.
Watch us take on the NRA, the Tea Party and anyone else standing in the way of our safety.
Watch us mobilize families and turn grief into action--just like the families of victims of gun violence have done in powering this campaign each and every day.
Watch us tell the Tea Party Republicans that we aren't going to let them gut vital promises to seniors like Medicare and Social Security.
Watch us work with President Obama to continue to put people back to work, to fix our broken immigration system and to keep us on the path to recovery.
And watch me work hard, day in and day out, to be your voice and your champion.
Because that's what this campaign was all about.
Giving voice to the voiceless and making the powerless powerful.
Along the way, we lost some battles and mourned some losses, like the tragic killing of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton.
I am honored to be joined on stage tonight by Hadiya's parents, Nathaniel and Cleopatra Pendleton.
Nathaniel and Cleopatra, thank you for standing with me as I will stand with you in our fight to end gun violence.
I am awed and inspired by the strength of families like the Pendletons and, unfortunately, far too many others, who are working to turn tragedy into triumph.
Together, we grieved but we never gave up.
We never lost hope and we never stopped fighting.
And we never will.
Because, after all, you don't overcome challenges by seeing them as too great to conquer.
You overcome them by always reaching a little higher, by dreaming a little bigger, and by believing that the stars above us ARE WITHIN our grasp when we reach for them together.
Thank you and God Bless.