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May 4, 2011

NJDC Vice-Chair Stephen Bittel’s Nomination Speech for DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, Speeches

On May 4, 2011 Democratic National Committee (DNC) At-Large member and National Jewish Democratic Council Vice-Chair of Development Stephen Bittel delivered one of the nominating speeches on behalf of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who was confirmed as the new chair of the DNC. His prepared remarks appear below.

Good afternoon, I’m Stephen Bittel, a DNC Member from the great State of Florida. Today, I have the honor and privilege of batting cleanup. You’ve heard from three of our distinguished DNC colleagues about why Debbie will make a fantastic DNC Chair and I want to support what everyone has said.

In my many years playing baseball, I always dreamed of batting cleanup - the problem was I could not really hit. Well, President Barack Obama really got a hit when he asked Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to serve as Chair of our Democratic National Committee.  In fact, I think he knocked it right out of the park.

I can say this with confidence because I know this woman - I have seen her passion, her commitment, her tireless work. I have gotten her phone calls, her texts, and her emails at all hours of the day and night. This is a person who never stops thinking, never stops dreaming, and never stops working to move our country forward. 

So all of us in South Florida are more than willing to share our Congresswoman with you, because we could not imagine a more outstanding, or qualified person to help re-elect President Obama and move America forward. I think we can all imagine a stronger country-a country with the best education system, the most robust economy, the most opportunity, innovation and growth - and  I think we can all agree that Debbie Wasserman Schultz will help President Obama get us there.

And let me tell you how I know she’ll do a great job: One evening a few years ago, my wife and I were out with Debbie and her husband Steve at a sporting event, and I asked her how she felt about being known wherever she went in her district, and people always asking her for help with one thing or another. She didn’t hesitate to respond that she loved it and that it was her job. She said she wanted to help every single person who needed her help-in fact, that is why she sought her seat in Congress and that’s why she’s so good at her job. And that’s the same thing that is going to make her outstanding at this job.  She genuinely cares, and because she cares, she will apply herself 1000% to the goal of strengthening our party.

Now, some of you might wonder: how does she do it all? Well, if there is a superwoman-her name is Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is smart, bold, strong, energetic and she knows how to WIN and she can leap all building in a single bound! Debbie also can count one thousand percent on the support of every member of her family- who are here today.  

But, what I think is truly inspiring about Debbie is that she is a clear illustration of the idea that in this country, if we apply ourselves-if we out prepare, out organize and over deliver - everything is possible. No matter where you come from, or where your parents or grandparents came from. No matter your religious beliefs, or your sexual preference. Regardless of the color of your skin, or your gender - you can reach for your dreams.  

As DNC Chair, Debbie will work hard to make sure that our party and President protects that dream for all Americans. Debbie is ready.  She is eager and dedicated to fighting for our rights and for our future, and she will not quit.

We have a lot of work to do in the next 18 months. We have a lot of elections to win-from mayors, to state legislators, Governors, Members of Congress, Senators, and yes, President Obama. The road ahead is long and at times it will seem steep. But you can count on my friend, your friend, our friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz to have our backs, to have the President’s back, to encourage us, to lead us, and to reinvigorate us.   

I’d like to end with this thought:  we are Democrats, and what keeps us working together day after day is an overriding passion to make our communities, our states, our country and the world better for each living person. Our work together makes a difference.

In my faith’s tradition, every Jewish child is taught of their obligation for Tikkun Olam - the need to personally work to heal the world.  I take this teaching very seriously and I know that Debbie is personally committed to this principle as well. It is that internal burning need that drives Debbie to help us to secure for ourselves and our children and grandchildren every opportunity we can dream of.  

Well, this is my only chance to bat clean up and now it is time for me to do my job and get this election going.

President Obama got it so right when he asked Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to accept the enormous responsibility to Chair the DNC and help lead us to victory in 2012.  In now officially placing her name in nomination as our DNC Chair—-ohh does that sound good——I ask you to join me in making our vote unanimous for my friend, your friend, our friend, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.