In 1988, I saw a sign for City Year in a store-front window in Cambridge. Later that afternoon I met Alan Khazei, and signed up as an early volunteer in this new service initiative. We have remained friends ever since. City Year flourished. Remarkably, 575,000 people have served as corps members, providing over 700 million hours of service to this country educating our children, fighting poverty, conserving the environment, caring for our seniors, providing disaster relief and supporting our veterans. It was a big idea that continues to create big change.
Alan has continued every day to inspire and mobilize large groups of people to believe that, together, the world can be made better. With courage and conviction, Alan has led the way, with City Year, and then building and sustaining AmeriCorps, and creating strong legislative coalitions. None of this would have been possible without a keen understanding of how Washington works. Alan has worked with four U.S. Presidents and members of congress on both sides of the aisle as the key mover behind AmeriCorps legislation and the Kennedy Serve America Act which won 79 votes in the Senate, a majority of both Democratic and Republican votes.
Those of us who have worked with Alan to expand service opportunities know he has won tremendous respect in the Senate for his commitment to country and his work effectively moving legislation. Alan represents a rare opportunity to elect a bridge builder with a proven ability to work the inside Washington game with members of both parties while also galvanizing outside pressure from citizens to effectively pass meaningful national legislation. And Alan has also proven his toughness. When Tom Delay threatened to slash the budget for AmeriCorps, Alan went to Washington and brought 700 citizens with him from around the country, including 50 members of Congress, for an unprecedented, round the clock, 100 hour citizens hearing. Alan and his band of Big Citizens not only restored the budget for AmeriCorps, they delivered a 100 million dollar increase in funding to expand service. In these times, when our people desperately need action and results, Alan can be counted on as a proven, effective leader.
Alan will bring the same wisdom, passion and fresh approach to the hard work of creating jobs, ending the war, protecting our planet and resources, improving schools, and addressing the health care needs of our citizens. Alan has the experience to bring people and our representatives in Washington together around the essential issues we care about deeply. He has done so again and again with remarkable success.
Perhaps most important, Alan has a joyful, dedicated energy that is unwavering. No one works harder or cares more. His indomitable spirit and deep appreciation of possibility would make him a most indefatigable advocate for Massachusetts in the years ahead. Please join me in supporting his candidacy for U.S. Senate on December 8th.