BOSTON, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of a speech by Ret. Lt. Colonel Steve Brozak, before the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, July 28, 2004: Good evening. My name is Steve Brozak. I am a husband and father of two young daughters. My wife and I are the children of immigrant parents. I am a businessperson who co-founded a small investment-banking firm. And I am also proud to say I am a United States Marine. I rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel -- and after the attacks of September 11th, I volunteered to go back on active duty. And today, I am running to represent my home state of New Jersey in the United States Congress. If you told me 18 months ago that I would end up addressing the Democratic convention, I would have said that you were crazy. You see, up until then, I was a Republican. But not anymore. On my last tour of duty, my job was to help reservists who came home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and places all over the world ... to help them get back on their feet ... to help them with their jobs and their families. I saw their struggle and the hardships they bore. I saw how their families coped with deployments that kept being extended, and children who were growing up without their moms and dads. When I was deployed to the Middle East, I saw what our troops are facing there. How our military is so overextended that tours of duty last far longer than soldiers had originally signed up for. How hard it is for our soldiers to complete their mission without the proper equipment to keep them safe. I saw how hard it is for them to shoulder this burden alone without our allies. And I saw how hard it is for our soldiers to know that while they wear their uniforms with pride, the world looks at America with suspicion. So a year and a half ago while back home, I went to my local town hall and I switched parties. I became a Democrat. You see, I didn't change. My belief in what makes a patriot never changed. My belief in a national security policy that makes us truly safer didn't change. And my belief that you only send Americans into a war with honest purpose and plans for peace didn't change. What changed was the direction of the Republican Party -- so I did the honorable thing. I changed parties and I became a Democrat. I have never considered myself to be a very partisan person. But the Republican Party left me behind. And so I had no choice but to leave the Republican Party behind. But I am far from alone...And I will be in the majority come November 2nd. It's not just Democrats; it's Republicans and Independents. It's Americans from all walks of life who believe that to keep America safe, to defeat al-Qaeda, we need both smart bombs and wise policy. That America must be strong at home, strong abroad, and respected in the world. John Kerry understands this. He learned that lesson the hard way, as a Lieutenant commanding a swift boat in the deltas of Vietnam. As President, John Kerry will honor the service and the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, by keeping our military strong and ready to respond to any threats we may face. John Kerry will be a Commander-in-Chief who will not hesitate for one moment to use the military might of the United States to destroy the terrorists who threaten our way of life. John Kerry is a leader. And this Marine will proudly follow John Kerry into battle. John Kerry has a plan to win this war on terror. John Kerry will strengthen our alliances and restore America's special place in the world as a nation to be admired rather than questioned. John Kerry will give our men and women who serve in uniform solid support instead of hollow rhetoric. John Kerry is someone who means what he says. And John Kerry will make sure that our veterans are shown the full gratitude and appreciation of our nation. My friends, Iraq is filled with professional soldiers, patriotic reservists and guard members, who long for a mission that is planned and purposeful ... and are long past ready to be reunited with their families. One of these men is a friend of mine from New Jersey who looked after my family while I was on active duty last year. This man, a veteran in his mid-forties, is now being sent straight to the battle zone in Iraq with no promise of returning home to his family before 2006. As my friend is put into harm's way, I will repay my debt to him and look after his family. But I will do something else: I will fight alongside John Kerry to create a better, stronger America -- united at home and respected in the world. If you want to support our troops, if you want to help their families, if you want to build a nation that is the envy and not the enemy of the world, I ask you to join us in this fight. Help make John Kerry President of the United States. My fellow Americans, this election is not about party labels or partisan bickering. This election is about creating the America that we learned about in school, the America that brought my immigrant parents to these shores, the America that I fought to defend. An America where freedom is cherished; An America where individuals are respected; An America where anything is possible because each of us has the right to go as far as our minds can imagine and our hearts can dream. Let's build that America: a safer, stronger, more respected America. Let's make John Kerry the next President of the United States. Thank you and good night.
SOURCE Democratic National Convention Committee