Ro's pledge to fix our politics

To my neighbors in the 17th Congressional District,

We have within our grasp the opportunity to provide a high quality education for every child, make college affordable again for every student, ensure a living wage for every worker, secure Medicare and Social Security for every generation, fund cures to serious diseases for every family, and stem the tide of climate change for every one of our children.

And Silicon Valley - driven by a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurialism, diversity and hard work - can lead the way.

If, that is, our politicians give us the chance.

These opportunities remain out of reach for reasons that have nothing to do with their merit or their importance. Rather, they have been victims of the way we conduct our business in Washington.

President Obama is right. As he said in his State of the Union, we can't reach the potential to strengthen our nation, which is so tantalizingly close at hand, unless we fix our politics.

If we are going to get things done we can no longer demonize our political opponents. I'm a proud Democrat, but I don't think "Republican" is a bad word. And I pledge to continue to work across the aisle on common cause.

If we are to strengthen education, wages, and retirement security then we can no longer allow the special interests to have a voice greater than that afforded American families and small businesses.

The American people see the doors of their government open to large contributors and lobbyists, while the door is slammed in their face. They see politicians using their office for their re-election and their contributors, rather than working for them. Their trust with their government has eroded to a breaking point.

This trust must be restored.

In short, if we are to change our policies then we must change our politics.

So, today, I pledge to continue to refuse contributions to my campaign from PACs and lobbyists, and call on others in this race to join me and do the same.

Let us, together, heed President Obama's call and follow his lead. We can build campaigns that get our message out with the limits set for individual contributions. Let’s say together that regular people, regardless of socio-economic status – not PACs and special interest lobbyists – will fund our campaigns, because it is the people we will fight for.

We must send a signal to our neighbors in the 17th Congressional District that we are on their side.

What I am proposing today may be a new kind of leadership in this Congress, but it's the type of leadership that reflects the way we do things in Silicon Valley. It is the new type of leadership that will allow us to capture the potential of the people of the Silicon Valley and, for us together, to achieve what is great.