Sep 28, 2020
Jill Biden Campaign Speech Transcript in Waukesha, Wisconsin September 28
Jill Biden gave a campaign speech for the Joe Biden & Kamala Harris 2020 campaign in Waukesha, Wisconsin September 28. Read the full transcript of her remarks here.
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Lynn Kerry: (06:00)
Jill. My family understands the economic consequences of health insurance. In 2004, I was diagnosed with a rare lung disease. I saw my doctor because I was short of breath. I thought I would leave his office with a prescription for an inhaler. Instead, I left with a prescription for oxygen, 24/7, and a diagnosis that changed my life. I was on oxygen every day, all day. I was on very expensive medications. I needed to be monitored by my pulmonologist every three months. And I needed expensive procedures like heart catheterizations. I had to stop working. And when you stop working, we all know what happens, right? What do you lose? Your health insurance.
Lynn Kerry: (06:58)
I lost my health insurance. I was able to go on my husband’s plan and then he lost his job. So we lost our insurance again. I know what it feels like to be sitting across the table when someone tells you that you do not qualify for insurance because you have a pre-existing condition. We cannot go back. Fortunately, he did find a job shortly after and I was able to get on his plan. They could not deny me because of the ACA. Actually Dr. Biden, Jill, I first met you eight years ago during the Obama Biden re-election campaign. I was on oxygen and I have a picture. And for some reason you look that same. But I don’t look that same. But I remember your kindness and concern as we talked.
Lynn Kerry: (08:01)
Well, as you can see, I don’t need oxygen to talk with you today. On May 13th, 2015, I was fortunate enough to have a double lung transplant. Thanks to a young woman, a 37 year old young woman who chose to be an organ donor. So transplants and ICU stays and rehab are expensive. We did not go bankrupt. We did not have to worry about losing everything we had worked so hard for, because of the ACA.
Lynn Kerry: (08:48)
And now, COVID threatens all Americans, and particularly those who have chronic health problems or are immunosuppressed like I am. So you see, I understand that this is a critical time. I understand that much is at stake in this election. For me, for my family, healthcare is at the top of my list. Joe Biden has laid a detailed set of plans. I was just on the website yesterday looking at the health plan once again. And no matter who you are, Joe would make COVID testing, treatment, and vaccines available to all of us free. Yes, that’s huge. Americans will have a new choice offering a new public option like Medicare, the fastest path to universal coverage. We all have the opportunity to elect a candidate in Joe Biden with the experience to help us recover and the empathy to help our country heal.
Lynn Kerry: (10:04)
So with that, I would like to introduce someone who I think speaks so well and gives me hope every day. Our second lady, former second lady, soon to be our first lady, Dr. Jill Biden.
Jill Biden: (10:22)
Thank you. Okay. Thank you, Lynn. And it’s wonderful to see you again. My gosh. You know, as a nursing educator and a transplant survivor, you know our healthcare system better than anyone. Wow, you have quite a story, and you’ve seen how innovation can save lives and the quality of care doesn’t mean much if you can’t afford it. Right? So once again, I’m so grateful for your sharing your incredible story, and I thank you for your tireless efforts for making sure that all Americans get the healthcare that they need.
Jill Biden: (11:12)
Amy and Maggie, thank you so much for hosting us today in your beautiful house, and your beautiful land, with your beautiful animals. So, I’m so glad to be here in Waukesha. I said that right, right? Okay. Especially to be here in person after I’ve done so many virtual events in your state, but I’d like to start with a personal story of my own.
Jill Biden: (11:43)
So as many of you know, for the last 10 years, I’ve taught writing at Northern Virginia Community College, but I’ve been teacher for forever for 36 years. And a few years ago, I had to tell my students that I would miss the next class for personal reasons. And so my students have a lot of shining qualities, but boundaries are not one of them. So they immediately began shouting to me, “Dr. B, Dr. B, where are you going?” Well, my sister Jan was having a STEM cell transplant, the first of her cancer treatments, and she would be isolated in a hospital room for over six weeks. And I tried to explain that to my class with as much composure as I could muster, but as I tried to tell them, the words caught in my throat. And so I turned around and I was in my classroom and I faced the whiteboard, hoping to gain my composure, and as I turned back around, my entire class was lined up and they gave me a hug one by one.
Jill Biden: (13:08)
And that act of kindness, that act of community, gave me the strength to keep going. And it saved me in a time when I didn’t even realize how much I was struggling. And in a way, that act of community saved my sister Jan, too. You know, she has built her career as a waitress. And when she got sick, believe me, she didn’t have the money and she didn’t have the insurance to cover her treatments. It was only because of the Affordable Care Act that she was able to find a plan that she could afford. And it was that law that made it possible for her to get covered, even though she had a pre-existing condition.
Jill Biden: (13:59)
So it’s easy to take for granted just how much changed when we passed the ACA. So, 20 million people got covered, it’s amazing to think of that, including more than 200,000 Wisconsinites. Wisconsinites. I don’t think I ever said that word before. So pre-existing conditions got covered. You know, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this law saved my sister’s life. And we all know that the ability to take care of our health is the foundation of a good life. I mean, we all agree with that. But these last few months have shown us that it’s more than that, too. Our health is the foundation of our communities and our economy. And gosh, this pandemic has done so much damage. Some of it can be measured. The over, over 200,000 American lives lost. Millions who have contracted this disease and because of it now have a pre-existing condition. The more than 10 million workers who are jobless.
Jill Biden: (15:27)
But in other ways, the damage can’t be measured. The lost time with our loved ones, the mental toll of isolation and anxiety, the shattered hearts of every family that is grieving a loved one, and it didn’t have to be this way. I mean, that’s what’s so unbelievable. It didn’t have to be this way. And at almost every turn, this administration has not only failed to prevent and mitigate the destruction around us, they’ve made it worse.
Jill Biden: (16:07)
As the pandemic rages, President Trump is attacking the healthcare coverage that millions of Americans rely on, and trying to eliminate the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. He’s hoping to get rid of the law that protects them. I mean, for all of us, I mean, it’s unbelievable. Still, amid the chaos and the grief, we also have so many stories of courage and resistance, and resilience. Healthcare workers going above and beyond to care for their patients. Educators driving to neighborhoods to create hotspots for kids who don’t have WiFi. People donating food at food banks in order for others to keep safe. It’s amazing the food insecurity that we’ve seen in this country. And across this country, people of all walks of life are putting their shoulders back and fighting for each other. We haven’t given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation, worthy of all of you.
Jill Biden: (17:27)
And Joe is the only candidate in this race with the plan to recover from this pandemic. He’s going to provide clear evidence-based, yes, he believes in science, national guidance for businesses, schools and individuals, created by public health experts. And he’s going to make sure that our schools and our childcare centers have the resources that they need to be safe so that our kids can go back to school and we all can go back to work. And he’s going to ensure that all Americans have access, like was said, to free testing, free treatments, and when that vaccine comes out, so that we can protect our families and our communities.
Jill Biden: (18:21)
But it’s not just about returning to a system that left so many behind. It’s about building our nation back better than before. And that’s why Joe is going to make sure that our steps for economic recovery are just equitable and benefit all Americans, creating millions of good paying jobs. And he’s going to invest in the small businesses that are the backbone of our country. And he will not only defend the Affordable Care Act, he will build on it as well. Because it was always meant to be like a starting point, not a finish line. So he’s going to create a public health insurance option, like Medicare, so that everyone can have high quality affordable healthcare plan. And he’s going to lower premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. And the big one, I think for everybody, he’s going to make prescription drugs affordable. And I hear that comes across this country.
Jill Biden: (19:35)
Joe has spent his entire career bringing people together and getting this seemingly impossible done. And I can’t think of anyone better to lead us through this pandemic than my husband, Joe. With the chaos of this moment, the uncertainty, it can be easy to watch what’s going on and feel so discouraged. I mean, I feel, I hear from a lot of people how much anxiety and depression they feel. But right now we don’t have to just watch what happens, we have to decide what happens. And when we elect Joe and Kamala, they will help bring us back together and heal our fractured communities. And they have the fortitude to help us rebuild better than ever. And with their steady leadership, steady, not chaos like we have now, we can change the course of our future.
Jill Biden: (20:39)
So for just a moment, I want to take you to that future. So imagine that it’s November 4th, the day after the election. I know we’re all like counting down, right? You wake up and it’s a beautiful morning, maybe a little bit more sunshine than today. And maybe you stayed up a little too late watching the returns. I’m sure we’re going to be up until all night. So you go and you pour yourself a cup of coffee. And at first you start to worry about your day, which I’m sure you all do now like thinking, “Oh my gosh, what time are my meetings? What time do I have to get onto that computer?” You know, you’re thinking about your Zoom schedule. And then it hits you like, “Oh my God, Joe Biden won the election.”
Jill Biden: (21:30)
Pretty soon there’s going to be a nationwide strategy to end this pandemic. And when you go out to get your mail, you think about your neighbor who lost her job. And then you realize, whoa, the next president is the same man who led the recovery in 2008 that created millions of jobs. You go to check the news and you notice there’s no pit in your stomach. Your shoulders don’t tense up. You’re not dreading what’s going on in the world. Instead, you sit a little taller knowing that our next commander in chief will bring out the best in us, a president and a vice president elect that your kids, your granddaughter, can look up to, leadership that makes you proud, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And for the first time in so long, you take a deep breath and you feel hope. That’s the November 4th that I want, and I know it’s the November 4th you all want or you wouldn’t be sitting here today.
Jill Biden: (22:49)
In this moment, we have the power to decide what comes next. So I know you’re here because you’re already engaged or you wouldn’t be sitting in this freezing cold. And I know you’re busy and you’re probably stretched too thin, but I’m asking you to just do a little bit more for the next 36 days, because this election is just too important to sit out on the sidelines. All of us have to do every single thing we can until the election. This is it. There are no do-overs. This is our last shot to wake up November 4th and feel that hope.
Jill Biden: (23:34)
So join us. Go to Iwillvote.com to make sure you’re registered, so I don’t know if you’ve all done that, so to make sure you’re registered. Help your friends and family do that, too. Make sure they’re registered. Then if you want to get involved with our campaign. This is so funny. You text cheese, three, zero, three, three, zero. It’s very fitting. So we have just 36 more days, 36 more days to make sure that our voices are heard, to make calls and talk to our neighbors, to fight for this country like we’ve never fought before. Let’s wake up November 4th knowing that we did everything we can to feel that hope again. This is our moment. This is our election. This is our nation and we will get to choose our future together.
Jill Biden: (24:36)
So thank you all for being here. Thank you for, you know, in this chilly weather. Thank you for your commitment and your support. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Oh, thanks. Okay. Thanks.