The following is a letter to my granddaughter, Larkin, who was born last year. I don't mean for this letter to be overdramatic -- that is not my intention. Having been so personally and professionally invested in elections for as long as I can remember, I've felt a noticeable difference in the way I see the stakes this time around. Maybe when you become a grandmother, your perspective on a lot of things changes. But I can honestly say that my children were born at a time when elections certainly mattered, but I felt as though there were enough reasonable people in government regardless of party affiliation who could keep our ship afloat and find reasonable solutions to difficult problems by working together. I fear that's not the case today. So as I think about what kind of world my beautiful granddaughter will live in, it's hard to overstate how important this year's election really is.
As we approach the election of the next President of the United States, I want to tell you that my vote is about you and your future. You were named for your great-grandmother Jeanne Larkin, who was born in New York City in 1916 before women had the right to vote. At 16 months old, it is hard for any of us to imagine what this country will look like when you are old enough to vote in 2029. The country you are inheriting almost 100 years after your great-grandmother's birth is still full of promise and hope, but some major changes by the next administration could make your path in life much more difficult.
There are some fundamental beliefs that I hold dear. They guide me in life, and I hope I can pass them down to you. It is those beliefs that I hope will guide the elected officials I will cast my ballot for this year.
I vote for a future in which you will receive a first rate public education -- one worthy of the richest country in the world. We know that for all of us to have a better future, every baby born here deserves access to that same educational system. Critical thinking skills will make you intellectually curious enough to go beyond the bounds of what we know in 2012 and to imagine a world with new wonders in medicine, transportation and technology. I suspect over the next 80 years there is much for you and the others of the class of '29 to discover. The world is counting on it.
I vote to assure that the air you breathe and the water you drink will not harm you. More than that, we want to make sure that you and your classmates have the science background to use and create more sustainable energy sources to make this nation energy independent. Respect the planet -- Mother Nature can be beautiful and nourishing. She can also be cruel and unforgiving when things get out of balance. Climate change is real and has consequences for all of us. I hope that your generation cares for the earth beyond the next quarter's profit and realizes that we have an obligation to future generations -- that we should be stewards of this beautiful planet earth because it's the smart thing to do and the moral thing to do.
I want your health care to be second to none, so that life expectancy continues to rise. The cost of keeping yourself and your family well should not overwhelm you. Decisions that we make this year could put insurance companies back in control of who they will cover and what they will pay for, when we get sick. And while I am on the subject, you, baby girl, are a much more important person than any corporation will ever be, no matter what politicians may say.
I hope when you are older you find someone that you love and want to spend your life with for better or for worse. No matter who that person is, we hope you can have the happiness and comfort that marriage affords. On the ballot in many states this year will be the issue of marriage equality, where civil rights will be up for a vote. I hope that for your generation, marriage equality is celebrated and no longer debated.
You are one lucky child to have been born in this great nation. It has been made great by the generations that went before you, by your forefathers who fought to preserve it, to say nothing of the commitment of the strong women from whom you are descended, including my work while I served as President of the Colorado Senate. Never forget that we were all immigrants to this country. America has become great because of the talents that we were all able to contribute. Sometimes we forget this. There were both Democrats and Republicans in your family tree and they put the nation ahead of party and put their shoulders to the wheel to build a country together. Building this country means casting a vote for the people who will implement the policies that allow this great nation to continue to be a place of hope and opportunity for all of its people.
You are your own unique and beautiful person. When you're old enough, you will be able to vote for anyone you want. Think for yourself, be curious, be informed. I write you this letter so you can better understand my dreams for you and the kind of country I hope you grow up in.
The path of progress is long and winding and, even though there are bumps along the way, as a nation we have always moved forward. Most important, we must move forward together and leave no one behind. I want that to continue so that we come out of hard times stronger. I hope that your America of the future is more tolerant, more peaceful, more connected, and more innovative than we could ever imagine.
I love you more than you can ever know. In a world of opportunity, you can do absolutely anything you want. Don't ever forget that. I want to make sure we continue on this path to progress; I want to make sure this country remains a place where everyone, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, class or place of birth has a chance to reach his or her dreams. I want you to reach your dreams. That's the America that I know. When I vote on Tuesday, I'm casting a vote because I want that to be the America that you know as well.
Here's to Election Day, for you and all of the class of 2029.
All my love,