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Davis in defeat: 'We'll have better nights to come'

Gray Davis delivers his concession speech.
Gray Davis delivers his concession speech.

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SPECIAL REPORT
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
California Recall
Gray Davis

(CNN) -- The following is an transcript of California Gov. Gray Davis' concession speech:

GRAY DAVIS: Tonight, I stand before you with a heart full of gratitude and appreciation. I am so grateful to all of you and to the people of California for the privilege and the honor of representing 35 million people the last five years, and the opportunity to serve you and, in my own way, to try and make life better.

This state has been very good to me. It's elected me five times statewide, given me a chance to serve, given me a chance to meet some of the greatest people on the planet, and I will always be indebted to you.

Tonight, the voters decided it's time for someone else to serve ...

We've had a lot of good nights over the last 20 years, but tonight the people did decide it is time for someone else to serve, and I accept their judgment. I have placed a call to Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I placed a call to Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger just a few minutes ago to congratulate him on being elected governor, to extend best wishes from myself and my wonderful wife, Sharon, to he and Maria.

But I want to just say a few words of gratitude. Even though this was not our night, and even though we did not win this time, lots of people came out and voted and gave us their vote to finish the term that you elected me to last November. I appreciate their vote of confidence, and I will not forget them going to the polls to help us out.

And over the past five years some good things have happened. Even in the face of a tough recession, some good things have happened. We have focused on the schools. Achievement scores are up five years in a row.

We have 300,000 more scholarships a year for deserving students who get a B average, and now they can go to college. That can turn their life around.

We provided health care for 1 million children that didn't have it when I became governor.

And I'm proud to have signed legislation that will extend health care to working Californians, 1 million of them starting in 2006.

We've worked long and hard to protect our environment, and I'm very proud that we have 10,000 acres of urban parkland, more than any administration in the history of this state, so parks are new where the people are.

And I'm proud that over the last five years, thanks to the genius and the enterprise and the initiative of Californians, we have 900,000 net new jobs. I would like more, but at least we have 900,000 more jobs than when we started.

And there are many other things, my friends. There are many other things we fought for and won to make life better, not just for a few, but for all the people that live in this state.

My friends, in the next few weeks, we will have a new governor.

VOICES FROM THE CROWD: "No recall!"

DAVIS: No, that was the argument before tonight. No recall was the argument before tonight. Now I have a different message for you. I am calling on everyone in this state to put the chaos and the division of the recall behind us and do what's right for this great state of California.

And I pledge to Mr. Schwarzenegger tonight the full cooperation of my administration during the transition. We want to let the new governor know what the challenges are, what the status is of various issues in Sacramento. We will do that, just as Governor Wilson did for me. That's an obligation of one governor to the next. We are going to do it.

Now, let me say a few thank yous. First of all, I am so proud to be married to the best Democratic first lady in 32 years, Sharon Davis.

She has done great work. She's done great work getting another 500,000 mentors in this state, raising money to get books and school libraries, and just being a wonderful, wonderful ambassador for this state. Let's give her another round of applause.

I'm very grateful that my family came out here. Most of them live on the East Coast. My wonderful mother, Doris Morrell ...

I told my mother and my wife before we came out here that this is a no-crying zone on this stage. We can cry later tonight, but this is a no-crying zone. And I want to thank my brothers, Billy and Barry, and my sisters, Ann and Didi. Raise your hands. Where are you? You guys are way back there. Come over here.

And their spouses. I thank all of them for coming out here. I want to thank my loyal staff in Sacramento, all of the appointees. They've served this state ably for five years, and they deserve a round of applause.

I want to thank all of the campaign staff that have worked extraordinarily hard these last 77 days. Many of them are on stage here. Please give them a round of applause.

I want to thank every Democratic official in this state and all across America that came out here to express their views, to stand with us, and to try and make the case that a recall was not a good idea. I am very grateful to everyone on this stage, to everyone who came out from around America to communicate to the voters of California, and please give them a big round of applause.

Let me close with this, my friends. We have had many good nights together. We have had many good fights together. We have advanced the interests of this people -- of our people in this state over my 20-year political career. I am grateful to all of you for all your hard work today and all your hard work for the last two decades. And I am proud of what we've accomplished together these last five years. And I am secure in the knowledge that whatever its challenges, California remains the greatest place on earth.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless this great state. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you for coming here tonight. Thank you for believing in the Democratic Party. We'll have better nights to come.


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