WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement today following the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris:
“In the midst of one of the darkest winters in American history, today is cause for celebration and resolve. Today, our nation begins the hard work of turning the page on a dark chapter marked by racism, division, and incivility, as we set out to write a new one of hope, freedom, and equality for all.
“It won’t be easy. First and foremost, we must face and defeat a devastating pandemic that has already claimed 400,000 American lives and robbed millions of their livelihoods. But we must also reckon with deeper and more long-lasting forces that have shaped everything about our lives and our politics, up to and including the current pandemic.
“For decades, powerful special interests have done everything in their power to rig our economy and our society in their favor. They’ve flooded Washington with dark money, and stoked fears and pitted groups of Americans against each other in order to protect themselves. Their project has done real, lasting damage to the fabric of our republic, and it’s on each of us to do our part to restore it.
“I have every confidence that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are well equipped to lead that charge with the skill, compassion, and determination it will require. And I am fully committed to doing all that I can to ensure that the Senate is a strong partner to their efforts—from tackling the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis, to passing the For the People Act and reinvigorating our democracy, to addressing directly our national shame of racism and discrimination and ensuring that every hardworking American has a roof over their head and food on their table. Let’s get to work.”