There have been some major developments in the presidential race recently, namely Barack Obama named Joe Biden as his running mate and officially accepted the nomination.

Joe Biden is a great pick. He’s a good match for Obama, who shares Biden’s working-class roots. Like Obama, Joe also has a track record of bringing people together to get things done – and that’s what this campaign is all about.

Joe Biden grew up in a Catholic family from Scranton, Penn. The son of a car salesman, he learned the value of hard work at a young age. At just 29 years old, Joe was elected to the U.S. Senate. Just weeks later, his wife and daughter were killed and two sons injured in a tragic car accident. He was sworn in to the Senate at the bedside of his sons, and began commuting to Washington, D.C. In his 36 years in the Senate, Joe has continued to take the train home to Delaware every night to be with his family.

We’ve seen what great leadership can do – from John F. Kennedy inspiring America to reach the moon, to Franklin Roosevelt lifting millions of seniors out of poverty. But it takes a president who both understands what everyday Americans are coping with and has the vision and commitment to turn good ideas into reality.

Obama and Biden know what hardworking families are going through because they have lived those challenges. Obama, the son of a single mother, was raised with fierce pride and respect for hard work. He is a self-made man who, like Biden, earned everything he has and built success on his faith, family values, and unshakable belief in the American dream.

This fall, Joe Biden will be praying for his son’s safe return when his son is deployed to Iraq, just as so many Maine families are praying for their sons and daughters overseas. When he works to make America more secure, he’ll be acting not just as a seasoned expert on foreign policy, but also as a father of a soldier. When Barack Obama talks about health care, he is speaking as the son of a mother who, when struggling with cancer, found herself trying to figure out how to pay the bills, rather than focusing on getting better. These two leaders understand our greatest challenges because they have been profoundly and personally affected, just like you.

We have a winning ticket that every American can be proud of. We have two leaders who will bring about the change America needs and get our country back on track. As this historic race has entered the final stretch, I hope you’ll think about what is at stake.

This year is about making politics work again for everyday Americans. That means electing a president who will deliver relief to Mainers who are taking on second or third jobs to pay the heating bill this winter. That means making affordable health care a right, not a privilege. It means giving the millworker whose job has been outsourced a chance to help build a new energy economy.

We can turn these challenges into opportunities to create new jobs and make America stronger than ever, but we need to elect a president who has the judgment and vision to lead us there.

This election matters for the future of our state, the future of our country, and the future of our children and grandchildren. Whether it is lifting the tax burden on hardworking families or returning fiscal discipline to our government; whether it is making affordable health care available for all or safely and responsibly redeploying our troops from Iraq, our challenges are great, but our ability to rise above is greater. Obama and Biden have the record behind them and the vision ahead of them to take on these challenges and deliver solutions.

Mike Michaud is the U.S. representative for Maine’s 2nd District.