As a longtime supporter of Eric Schneiderman, it was solace for the political soul, on a grim election night, to mark his victory as New York State’s attorney general. His win is one that should give us hope as we continue to fight for a more fair, decent and just country.
As I wrote in endorsing Schneiderman, he has a proven record of fighting for social justice, economic fairness and women’s rights, and an abiding commitment to a cleaner and more ethical government. Indeed, in the pages of The Nation, he has written of a "transformational politics" needed "to challenge the way people think about issues, opening their minds to better possibilities."
Schneiderman successfully pursued that tough and principled course in leading the fight to overhaul the disastrous and racially biased Rockefeller Drug Laws. He also showed his mettle in taking on political corruption when he wrote and sponsored the most sweeping ethics reform legislation to pass the legislature in a generation.
In his rousing victory speech, Schneiderman sounded like he was channeling that Nation piece he wrote nearly three years ago. He spoke of the need to restore public confidence in government as "a force for good," and "in the basic institutions of the private sector." This is an elected official who will stand with ordinary people versus corruption whether on Wall Street or in government.
In closing, Schneiderman spoke boldly, "This is the time for big ideas, for all of the innovators, for all of the reformers, for all of the activists—this is our moment."
Here’s what Schneiderman said Tuesday night at a packed ballroom at NY’s Sheraton Hotel….
Eric Schneiderman, Victory Speech, 11/3/10
Thank you Democrats, thank you New York. And thank you to all the people who have helped me so much in this improbable journey.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with me. Thanks to the advocates, leaders and activists who supported me. This is a campaign, and it has been from the first day, of activists. This has not been a campaign by people who are into the cool calculations of who is the ideal Attorney General according to some computer program.
But people like Citizens Union, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Planned Parenthood, Citizen Action, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign, Gun Free Kids, the Empire State Pride Agenda….
This was a campaign of activists and boy did we show what activists can do… and I would not be standing here but for the work of the hardworking, perpetually working, effectively working members of the New York State labor movement—thank you….
We’re going to have a lot of time to talk about public policy. We’re going to have a lot of time to talk about cleaning up problems in the public and private sector. But I am humbled and honored tonight—and really kind of amazed—to stand here before you as the next Attorney General of the State of New York.