North Carolina's congressional delegation took the stage just before 5 p.m. Thursday, parading one after another to the podium to welcome the crowd to Charlotte.
Only U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan talked for an extended time, telling the state's story and crediting leaders "who were willing to do what was right; make difficult, not easy choices; and invest in our future generations," she said.
"The solutions of yesterday won't get us where we need to go," she continued. "We can't get there by slashing education or cutting back on research and development. That's what the other side wants to do—but they tried every one of their proposals before, and they left us with a shrinking middle class and the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression."
Congressman Mel Watt, David Price and G.K. Butterfield echoed the sentiment.
"So this fall, we need to send them a message: Stop playing games with our future," Butterfield said.
"We believe in supporting the middle class, not selling them out," Price added later.