The economy and jobs were on the minds of thousands of voters who gathered in Van Dyck Park Thursday in Fairfax City to hear Republican presidential candidate and former Gov. Mitt Romney speak.
The rally began with speeches from local small business owners and Romney supporters. The business owners told the enthusiastic crowd that they support Romney because he has proven to be a strong and successful businessman.
Souny West—owner of The W Salon in Burke—said she has two sons who deserve the best. West also said that small business owners work very hard and make a lot of sacrifices and hope to continue to employ hard workers.
"The only way we can guarantee [our children] have the best of the best in this beautiful country is to make sure we secure our rights," West said. "Our future, mine and yours, is our responsibility."
Many in the crowd brought their children along to support the Romney campaign. Heather Perry from Vienna said she came to support the Romney/Ryan campaign and really get "pumped up" for the election.
Perry said, like others, she's concerned about the economy and wanted to hear Romney speak about it.
"Stop spending," Perry said. "Stop spending money we don't have. Paul Ryan had a budget plan, so I'm familiar with that. I would say the main thing is we have to get them elected, then work with both sides of the aisle to get something on the book to move forward. I'm so excited we finally have two guys who I feel confident will tackle the economic issues.”
Romney Talks Jobs, Energy
While the energetic crowd chanted "Mitt" and "USA," Romney explained that their energy gave him a boost of optimism.
"Northern Virginia could well determine who the next president is and I hope you make that decision and get me elected," said Romney.
Before moving forward, Romney recognized that the country is in mourning after losing four diplomats in the Middle East this week.
"We're thinking about their families and those they've left behind," he said.
Romney said the needed income in America has dropped by $4,300 per family according to USAToday. There are 23 million people who are out of work in the United States, he said.
"They've stopped looking for work or they're underemployed. But America's coming back," Romney said. "We're going to make sure we have the jobs that we need. America's going to remain strong, and we're going to make sure we remain the hope of the earth."
During the rally, Romney said he looked at the text of President Barack Obama's speech from last week's Democratic National Convention and said he expected new ideas, but found none.
"He's out of ideas, he's out of excuses," he said to the crowd. "And we're going to make sure that in November you put him out of office."
Romney devoted much of the rest of his speech to the five things in his plan that will get America working again. His plan, he said, includes using America's energy, which he says will create jobs in different fields, and opening the trading market to expand the reach to other countries.
"We got to help people get the skills they need for jobs. We've got to make sure our schools are competitive in the world," he said. "We can't continue to have schools in the bottom third of the world. I want to make sure we put our kids, and the teachers and the parents first and put the unions behind us."
"We want real change," said Romney, "and I'm going to bring real change to get America working again."