My name is Bill Ritter, and I’m the governor of the great state of
With me tonight is my wife Jeannie, our four great kids, my mother
Ethel, and many of my eleven brothers and sisters. My mother raised
our family on a small wheat farm just east of Denver. With such deep
roots in Colorado, it is especially gratifying, a privilege and an
honor to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Tonight, as we mark the end of this convention we reaffirm the western
spirit as the American spirit. Tonight, we mark another milestone on
Barack Obama’s historic path to the presidency.
And this year, the road to the White House cuts straight through the
heart of the American West.
Merle Haggard said it best: “If God doesn’t live in Colorado, I’ll bet
that’s where he spends most of his time.”
Here in Colorado – like in all of America, from Denver to Detroit to
Dayton – we face incredible challenges. And we know why: The
Washington of George Bush and John McCain is failing us on energy, the
economy, education, health care, Iraq. Have you had enough?
Are you ready to end the Bush-McCain economic policy that is weakening
the middle class? Are you ready to turn the page on the failed Bush-
McCain energy policy that opposes investments in renewable energy? Are
you ready to close the book on the Bush-McCain health care policy that
does nothing for the uninsured, nothing to reduce health care costs,
and nothing to help seniors cope with the costs of long-term care?
Are you ready for the change we need? Are you ready for Barack Obama?
Maybe it’s the mile high altitude and all this thin air. Maybe it’s
the pioneering spirit of the American west. Whatever it is, we
westerners look at the many challenges facing America and see hope and
opportunity and possibility.
I call it the Colorado promise: creating a future that gives every
person in every community the chance to reach their full God-given
potential. We see the opportunity to build a new energy economy based
on natural gas, wind, and solar power, to create thousands of new jobs
for hard-working Coloradans. We see the opportunity to build an
economy around industries of the future like aerospace, biosciences,
and technology. We see the opportunity to reform our education system,
so every child gets the skills they need to fill 21st century jobs.
What’s happening here is just a preview of the powerful change Barack
Obama will bring to all of America. The western experience can be the
American experience. In Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico,
Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma, a new generation of Democratic
governors has replaced Republican governors and is showing America how
to solve big problems. How to work together with Republicans and
The wide open west isn’t just about wide open spaces. It’s about the
possibilities of American opportunity. It’s about a set of American
ideals that offer hope and unity and the promise of change. It’s about
binding people together with common goals, shared visions, and the
pioneering spirit that defines all of America.
There’s a little bit of that western spirit in the Colorado promise,
in all of us.
Really, it’s the American promise. The vision of a country where “what
can be” becomes “what is.” That vision only becomes a reality when we
have a true partner in the White House – a partner like Barack Obama
who will work with our states, not against them.
For the last eight years, we have not had that partner, and we will
not have a partner in John McCain.
America will be better tomorrow when we create a government that
legitimately intersects with where people struggle, and only if we
elect a bold new president named Barack Obama to get America back on
Once again, it has been our honor to host the 2008 Democratic National
Thank you, and God bless you.