Wow! Who could have predicted that the race for Sen. Olympia Snowe's now open seat would turn into unprecedented upheaval. In chaos, however, there is often opportunity and I welcome the potential that Maine's new political landscape offers.
It is now clear that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree will likely run for the United States Senate. I applaud her decision. As I said earlier this week, I will not challenge her in a race for Senate. This is an historic opportunity for Maine -- sending a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in nearly twenty years. I look forward to helping with that effort.
Now, Democrats must ensure that we hold onto her vacant seat in Congress and send a strong, progressive voice to continue her great work. We share a commitment to core Democratic values and each of us seeks to achieve broader social justice. In fact, one reason I stepped up to run against Olympia Snowe was because I feared that the Democratic Party would not present a strong, progressive voice to challenge her.
In light of the altered political landscape, I am pleased to announce that my plans have changed. I have set a new direction for my campaign team to work on a race for the seat in the United States House of Representatives for Maine's First Congressional District.
For my campaign, there is not a moment to waste. I still believe that I will bring new energy and new vision to the United States Congress -- the race has changed but my moral guideposts have not. I want to ensure economic security for middle class families.
The potential shift of the balance of power in Washington presents a unique opportunity to achieve greater social justice and economic fairness for all, and to improve the state of health care, education, and the environment. As we have recently seen, we must continue to fight to preserve basic civil rights, including womens' access to contraception. This is no ordinary time. There is a lot at stake, and I am ready to meet the challenges presented.
My campaign has already planned and organized two different canvasses for this weekend of the Greater Portland area and York County. We are ready to go, to ensure that Maine's First Congressional District stays represented by a strong progressive voice. Moreover, given the tight deadline to submit signatures before March 15, we are likely to be in the best position to secure a Democratic candidacy.
The winds are rapidly shifting, but I am ready to respond. Most of the talk is about jockeying for political position, but I remained focused on helping to set Congress on a new course. I am still ready to stand with middle class families and the small businesses that sustain our economy. I will continue to fight back against the powerful special interests, and I look forward to working collaboratively to solve problems that will help move our state forward.
As for the political circus, I am reminded of the words of the tightrope artist, the Great Wallenda: "On the wire is living."