The results from Tuesday's elections are in, and many are commenting on the political shift in Washington and across the states. However, the election process underscored a few key facts about voter sentiment that should not be lost on newly elected representatives and leaders: Families are deeply concerned about their economic well-being, and are still reeling from the deepest recession in memory. They want good jobs, opportunity for their children, retirement security, fair rules that prevent financial industry abuses, and a responsible fiscal path forward that ends the recession and creates lasting prosperity. The bottom line is, Americans want a sustained economic recovery and a government that will work to achieve it.
Unfortunately, many candidates campaigned using messages that played on voters' deeply held anxieties and fears, without offering solutions to address them. People are frustrated, and it is up to these newly elected officials -- and those currently holding office -- to act in the voters' interests.
This is a time to act boldly and ensure that public investment to build the middle class is high on the legislative agenda. This is one of our most important shared priorities. And, as a nation, we convene every other year to elect, as we did on Tuesday, new stewards of those priorities, and our future. Americans want government to act decisively.
Despite fiery campaign rhetoric, again and again Americans have spoken out in support for public investment in the structures at the core of our society and that lead to a sustainable and growing middle class. Our fellow citizens want effective and well-funded public schools and access to affordable higher education, safe and modern transportation infrastructure, robust public safety systems through fully supporting our police and fire departments, and clean air and water. They want sustainable and living-wage jobs, which means investing in research and innovation; they want Social Security strengthened for generations to come; they want health care costs reduced, and to ensure that more of their loved ones, friends and neighbors have access to adequate and affordable care. Americans want government to put these things at the top of the 'to invest in' priority list. They are more important to families now than ever before.
Americans want to move past political stalemate. They want their future secure, and call on government to meet our national priorities and challenges. Demos will continue to work with our elected officials in Washington, DC, and across the states, and with advocates and concerned citizens everywhere, to advance an agenda that moves this nation toward full economic recovery and future prosperity.
Miles Rapoport is President of the non-partisan policy center Demos and former Secretary of the State of Connecticut.