I was her son as I listened to "Darkness on the Edge of Town" with my high school friends on the Jersey Shore.
I was her son as I moved into a studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that is now 26 years old.
I was her son as I coached our sons Andrew and Patrick on the fields of Mendham, and as I watched with pride as our daughters Sarah and Bridget marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade.
And I am still her son today, as Governor, following the rules she taught me: to speak from the heart and to fight for your principles. She never thought you get extra credit for just speaking the truth.
The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting -- but that respect could grow into real, lasting love.
Now, of course, she was talking about women.
But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.
I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.
Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.
Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say "yes," rather than to say no when "no" is what's required.
In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path.
It's been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we've stood silently by and let them get away with it.
But tonight, I say enough.
I say, together, let's make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.
We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.
We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.
Tonight, we choose respect over love.
We are not afraid. We are taking our country back.