I stand before you today a very changed cat. Before I decided to run for the open US Senate seat in Virginia, I was concerned about how the majority of people would respond to my campaign. Within minutes of the official announcement, those doubts were erased. You, my loyal supporters, stood by as I was attacked in the media by a canine SuperPAC (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M0r-dNEH38), and cheered me on every step of the way - when I got my first Congressional Softball League team(https://www.dropbox.com/s/eywfetkt2tosbdr/hanks-hitters-web.jpg), when I appeared with New York Times Bestselling author Gwen Cooper(https://www.dropbox.com/s/ufp2vp5u77bm871/gwen.jpg), and when we celebrated my 10th birthday(https://www.dropbox.com/s/tor2bflutfbdvg7/cake-facebook.jpg). You were also there for me during the rough times - when I was denied ballot access for being a ‘non-human’, when my Dad had a heart attack, and when Hank’s Hitters succumbed to defeat in the playoffs with true poise and dignity.
I have done my best to educate you with my knowledge of our history and the political system today - just the same, I have learned a great deal from so many of you on a wide array of topics. Together, we have enjoyed ups and downs, consoled each other on tragic losses of friends who left the world too soon (RIP Bonnie and Rustles!), and revelled in our amazing achievements.
Because of you, because of your constant support, your endless donations, your thousands of write in votes (which is certainly the highest vote total America has seen for any animal in a long time!), I am proud of the cat I am today. As long as there are people out there like you - intelligent and caring persons who strive for a better government in bleak times, who can no longer go back to the same old political tricks and opponent bashing, who demand representation and dialogue from their leaders - as long as you are out there, I have no fear for the future of our democracy.
Today, I am officially announcing the end of my campaign. We fought hard together, and we made a real difference for thousands of lives, human and animal. We brought to light the farce that is the political system as it stands today, and we showed without doubt that any politician interested in actually helping their community can do so with very little money, increased media coverage, and a sense of actual self-respect.
I am taking a break from politics right now because something happened on the campaign trail that I never expected - I began to appreciate the deep understanding of giving to those in need. As a politician, I regularly asked for your hard-earned money, and this aspect began to gnaw away at me. While one could argue about the ‘career’ of a politician, it was clear that so many of you work so hard each and every day to strive for a better world for you and your families - cats, dogs, even human children! To donate that money, even just a few dollars, is really defining of a special type of person (or cat, or dog, etc). To put your money where your mouth is, as the saying goes (Of course, Sammy likes to do this literally, as he loves playing with cash - but that’s a story for another time). This is something that I would like to experience for myself, as it has been such a joyous experience to see so many wonderful people come forward and help a cause they believe in, even if it’s for a kitten halfway around the world. Because of this desire, I have decided to enter the private sector as a consultant (as I am doing so in the image attached on a construction project). Now that I have felt the humbling touch of thousands of wonderful people, I want to be one of those who give.
While we have limited stock left with the bumper stickers, yard signs, and buttons, the t-shirt sales will continue indefinitely (and remember, there are plenty of new designs including “Vote the Humans Out” at www.hank2.com), with proceeds still benefiting the various groups.
Perhaps someday, I will return to the political arena once again. If and when that day arrives, you will certainly be the first to know, and I have no doubts that you will support me once again if the need arises. When I started this campaign, I was just a cat - a wonderful, fluffy, cute cat, no doubt - but today, I now belong to each and every one of you, and I will continue to be yours for all time. I hope this campaign has helped you become a better person as much as it’s helped me become a better cat, and witness the true beauty of this great nation - the people such as yourself, who want the best, and will fight against all odds for it.
With tears in my eyes, and love in my heart,
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