Oct 30, 2020
Kamala Harris Campaign Event Speech Transcript Fort Worth, Texas October 30
Kamala Harris hosted a campaign event in Fort Worth, Texas on October 30, as Texas becomes more widely considered to be a toss up state in the election. Read the transcript of her speech remarks here.
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Rebecca Acuna: (00:13)
Hello. Good afternoon, Fort Worth. It is so wonderful. My name’s Rebecca Acuna. I’m the Texas State Director for the Biden campaign. And like you, I have been working every day to flip this state and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Rebecca Acuna: (00:42)
By now, we all know that Texas is a battleground state. It is. It’s why today on the last day of early vote and just four days before the election, Senator Kamala Harris is right here in Fort Worth. We know that this election is about the battle to restore the soul of the nation. We know that this is about a better future and an America that works for all of us.
Rebecca Acuna: (01:32)
Now I’m going to share something very personal with you. Some of those videos that you all saw today, and I saw a photo of her father, an immigrant from Jamaica and her mother, an immigrant from India. And I was moved because what I saw was an immigrant family like mine. You see, my father, [inaudible 00:02:06] and my mother Norma came to the US from Mexico, seeking a better life for our family when I was just six years old. And my mother, she had these flashcards with photos on one side, and she would use them to teach us English, even though she herself could not speak it yet. And when the math homework got a little hard, my dad would go to the library and check out books to help us do our math homework.
Rebecca Acuna: (02:32)
They worked hard to make sure my sister and I lived our American dream. My mother, a waitress at Denny’s who after her shift would bake dessert to make a little more money, and my father who was a manager at Mexican food restaurant, both of them spending a lifetime on their feet. And aside from the financial hardships, like many working families face, we were also dealing with a complex immigration system. If you’re wondering, yes, we were undocumented. Back then, the Obama Biden relief for immigrant children for dreamers known as DACA didn’t yet exist, leaving my sister and me in limbo. And today, many, many, many, many chapters later, this dreamer stands before you as a proud American citizen who just this morning cast my first vote in a presidential election and I did so as the state director for the Biden Harris campaign.
Rebecca Acuna: (03:55)
And there could be no better first because Kamala Harris embodies the hopes, the dreams and aspirations of all of us. Her story says to the world that in America, anything is possible. That it is the place where the kid of an immigrant can rise to the US Senate into the White House in just one generation. She has spent her life fighting for justice, and now she and Joe Biden need our help. Today, Texas, is the last day of early voting. Election day is right around the corner. So Texas, you vote. You vote because generations before us fought for this fight. You vote for the families worried that their health coverage will get taken away. You vote for all of the Texans who have lost a loved one to COVID-19. You vote for the mothers and fathers who lost their jobs in this pandemic. You vote for the disenfranchised. And you vote for all those who still can’t.
Rebecca Acuna: (05:07)
Today I voted for all the dreamers who still can’t because when future generations, they ask us, and they’re going to ask us what it was like to elect the first woman of color as vice president of the United States, and we will say, “Yes, I was there. I stood up and I was counted.” Without further delay, I am so honored to introduce the next President of the United States, Senator Kamala Harris.
Kamala Harris: (06:39)
What’s up Fort Worth? Can we please hear it for Rebecca Acuna? She is phenomenal. When I look at Rebecca, I know our future is bright. I know our future as a country is bright. She is extraordinary. She has been a leader in this campaign. She is someone who walks and talks with confidence, having life experiences and knowing when she walks in that room, yes, sister. Sometimes we may be the only one that looks like us walking in that room, having had the experiences that we’ve had, but the thing we all know is we never walk in those rooms alone. We are all in that room together. So proud of you.
Kamala Harris: (07:30)
How’s everybody doing? It’s so good to see, Texas. Bernice, it is so good to see you. I want to first acknowledge all the leaders. Everybody here is the leader. Bishop [Spheres 00:00:07:47]. Where is Bishop Spheres? There? Hello, Bishop. Thank you for welcoming us in such a warm way. Thank you, Bishop. DeDe McGuire, I talked to her earlier. Where is she? Hi DeDe. Thank you. Thank you for your show and your voice. Fred Hayman and Marvin Sapp, where are they? Oh my God. I felt like that was a good revival. There we are. Thank you both for just the gift that you have and that you keep sharing and giving. Thank you. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the great Congresswoman. And Mark Veasey, We are on his home turf. Thank you for letting me be here. And Colin Allred, where is he? And Colin Allred.
Kamala Harris: (08:35)
And we are all colleagues in the United States Congress. We are also members of the Congressional Black Caucus. And I will tell you Texas, you are so well-represented in the United States Congress with these three. And they’re always in these rooms. And you know, I see them in the rooms where the cameras are and where the cameras are not, and they are always fighting for the people of Texas. They are leaders for Texas and they are national leaders and they represent the voice of all people so well. So thank you all. Thank you. Thank you.
Kamala Harris: (09:10)
So listen, today is the last day of early voting in Texas and you all have been doing your thing. What did I hear? Was it nine million people have voted so far? Early voting in Texas nine million. Now we know this is no time to let up on the pedal though, right? So I know people sent me pictures of standing in line at midnight this morning, I guess last night, waiting to vote. There was a line. People are committed. And so today is the last day of early voting in Texas. We want to make sure we see it through and then let’s make sure on election day, everybody we know has made sure that their voice, their powerful voice is represented in this election-
Kamala Harris: (10:03)
Their powerful voice is represented in this election through their vote, because there is so much at stake and so many reasons to vote. Just think about it. Right now in our country, we are in the middle of at least four obvious crises, right? There’s the crisis that is a public health crisis that has caused over 215 … I think now over 220,000 people to die in just the last several months. The tragedy of it is so many, because of the nature of this pandemic, spent their last hours on earth without even the benefit of holding the hand and touching someone they love, maybe communicating through a video, but without the warmth of the family around them.
Kamala Harris: (11:02)
Eight and a half million, almost nine million people have contracted this virus with untold long-term consequences. Doctors are talking about things like lung scarring. It will, by the way, at this point, most likely qualify as a pre-existing condition, which means on top of the numbers that we know, the disproportionate numbers in terms of African Americans and Latinos for high blood pressure and diabetes, we’re now looking at this. Let’s look at the racial disparities in this virus. African Americans and Latinos are three times as likely to contract the disease and twice as likely to die from it.
Kamala Harris: (11:43)
The tragedy of the loss of human life, I’ve been referring to this as one of the greatest mass casualty events that we’ve experienced since World War II. The tragedy of it, and here’s why I bring it up, guys. It didn’t have to be this bad. It didn’t have to be this bad. Just think about it. Thanks to a fellow by the name of Bob Woodward, we know about the seriousness of this virus. Informed that it is five times as likely to kill people as the flu, was informed that it would hurt people of every age. Was informed that it is airborne, and he sat on that information. He called it a hoax. He suggested that on his ledger of … the other side of his … ledger if you don’t. Can you imagine, as parents, as teachers, as small business owners, what you … President of the United States sat down, what you might’ve done to prepare, knowing that even before this pandemic, far too many Americans were working two and three jobs to try and pay their rent and put food on the table. By the way, and Joe Biden in my America, nobody should work more than one job to have to put food on the table and pay the rent.
Kamala Harris: (13:41)
But what folks might’ve done to prepare, small business owners, workers, because you see, still, even before this pandemic, which has been highlighted, we have a country that has not made it a national priority for working people to have paid sick leave and paid family leave. That will change in a Biden and Harris administration. But what people … Their children are going to miss so much of these critical days … their education. What people might’ve done to prepare, to just simply buy a couple of extra rolls of toilet paper. We’re in the midst of a public health pandemic. You also have a situation where we have a President who, while we are seeing spikes around our country, talking about we’ve turned the corner, continuing to mislead the American people. So there are clear choices in this election. Barack Obama created Obamacare, which brought health care to over 20 million people and protected people with preexisting conditions and understood that healthcare and access to healthcare should be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it, Joe Biden, who says we will expand on the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. We will extend protections. We will bring down the cost of prescription drugs. We will bring down the cost of the premiums. We will lower Medicare eligibility to age 60, expand healthcare, understanding the body doesn’t just start from the neck down. It includes the neck up, and we need to expand mental healthcare.
Kamala Harris: (15:55)
Clear choices, because you see, on the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who together with his boy Bill Barr are in the United States Supreme Court right now, trying to sue to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which, again, brought healthcare to so many people. Here in Texas, we’re looking at 10 million Texans who have preexisting conditions. If they are successful with that lawsuit, all of the folks who have … Over 20 million people are likely to lose their protections, and we now have almost nine million people who have new preexisting conditions called COVID.
Kamala Harris: (16:43)
There are clear choices in this election. Because of this pandemic, the worsening of the wealth gap in America has been such that over 30 million people in just the last several months had to file for unemployment insurance. We are seeing numbers that tell us one in five mothers who has a child under the age of 12 is describing her children as being hungry. Here in Texas, we’re looking at the numbers that tell us that one in eight households is describing their household as having been hungry.
Kamala Harris: (17:20)
We’re in the middle of a hunger crisis in America. They’re not covering it enough. We’re in the middle of a hunger crisis. Here in Texas, one in six households has described not being able to pay their rent or being concerned that they cannot pay their rent next month. Here in Texas, one in four small businesses has gone out of business, and let’s be clear. Across America, almost 50% of the workforce either owns a small business or runs a small business. We are looking at an economic devastation that is being compared to the Great Depression.
Kamala Harris: (17:56)
On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who says, ” You want to ask me about the economy and how it’s doing? Then you need to tell me how working people are doing. How are families doing in America?”, which is why Joe Biden is committed to not raising taxes ever on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, lowering middle class taxes, also making sure that no working family pays more than 7% of your income in childcare, making sure there’s a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, understanding that is the way that we have intergenerational wealth in America, is to allow people to own a home. That’s how Joe Biden thinks of the economy.
Kamala Harris: (18:50)
On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who when asked, “How’s the economy doing?,” he will ask, ” Well, how’s the stock market doing?” He asks, “How are rich people doing?” As one of his first orders of business, he passed a tax code benefitting the top 1% and the biggest corporations in America. Well, let me tell you, Joe Biden and I, if we win, are about to get rid of that and invest that money in working people in America, invest that money in building back up our infrastructure, our roads, and our bridges and renewable energy, creating millions of jobs, investing that money in making sure that our students coming from families that make less than $125,000 go to public universities tuition-free, including HBCUs, including private HBCUs, ensuring that our students, when they graduate, if they take on a life of service and public service in a job that pays less than $125, 000, that their debt will be erased.
Kamala Harris: (20:03)
… $125,000 that their debt will be erased. That’s how we’ll invest that money, in the American people. Crises. We are facing a long overdue reckoning on the issue of racial injustice in America. And there are clear choices. On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who is a student of American history and has the courage to speak the phrase Black Lives Matter. A Joe Biden who understands that we need to deal with these racial disparities, we need to acknowledge them, difficult though they may be to think about much less talk about. We need to address it in terms of what we’re doing around healthcare. We need to address it in terms of the racial wealth gap. We need to address it in terms of the gaps in our education system.
Kamala Harris: (21:09)
Joe Biden says, “Let’s deal with it by putting $150 billion into low interest loans for minority businesses, Black and brown businesses which tend to be the economic lifeblood of the community. Joe Biden says, “Let’s deal with it in terms of a criminal justice system that must be held accountable for those disparities. Let’s get rid of mandatory minimums. Let us decriminalize marijuana and expunge the record of the people who have been convicted for marijuana offenses. Let’s shut down the private prisons. Let’s get rid of cash bail, understanding people are sitting in jail for weeks, months, and years, simply because they can’t afford to get out, which makes it an economic justice issue as much as it is a criminal justice issue.”
Kamala Harris: (22:03)
And on the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who on a debate stage two debates ago, refused to condemn white supremacists. And then doubled down and said they should stand back and stand by. Donald Trump. Because you got to understand this is a pattern. Who, when running for office and even before, had the gall to question and challenge the legitimacy of America’s first Black president. The commander in chief of the United States who, when asked about the tragedy in Charlottesville, where peaceful protesters were protesting racial injustice and a young woman was killed, and then on the other side there were Neo-Nazis wearing swastikas, carrying tiki torches, hurling racial and anti-Semitic epithets. The commander in chief said there were fine people on both sides. A president of the United States who has called Mexicans rapists and criminals, who as his first order of business instituted a Muslim ban.
Kamala Harris: (23:26)
America, we deserve better. That does not reflect who we are as our values and priorities as a nation that knows we are our strongest when we are unified, knows that we have so much more in common, regardless of where you live, the race, your ethnicity, the language your grandmother speaks. We know we have so much more in common. And we have a choice in this election to elect a Joe Biden who says we are, as a first order of priority, going to unify our country and bring us back together as a nation who values the importance of giving each other respect and dignity. Clear choices in this election.
Kamala Harris: (24:21)
Not to mention the other crisis we are facing, which is the climate crisis. Texas, you know that well. You look at what’s going on around our country. Up and down the west coast, you know I’m from California, up and down the west coast, California to up to Washington over to Colorado, wildfires that are burning out whole communities. I’ve met families that are being evacuated or have been evacuated, never to return to their home. Firefighters who were fighting fires while their own homes were burning. My brother-in-law’s a firefighter. Tragedies. You look at the gulf coast states. The neighbor, our neighbors to Texas. Being battered by these storms. There have been now five named storms just this year. And they name a storm because it’s really bad. So Zeta being the last one, the most recent. In the Midwest, you’re seeing floods that have caused farmers to lose a whole season of crops.
Kamala Harris: (25:33)
Joe Biden says, “We need to deal with this with a sense of urgency. We must embrace the science on this. We cannot play politics on this.” And we see that in this moment of opportunity to have timelines understanding, we must deal with this with a sense of urgency, that we also have the opportunity to grow our economy and create jobs. Joe sees the opportunity in the moment to invest in renewable energies, to invest in the apprenticeship programs with the folks like the building trades, knowing that we have a moment of opportunity to invest in America’s auto industry and be the best in the world in production of electric vehicles. All of these are opportunities to meet a moment of crisis if you are a real leader.
Kamala Harris: (26:36)
And on the other hand, you have the current president of the United States who, when he was asked about the wildfires in California, so he was asked by a journalist, and the question was something like, “Well, Mr. President, these wildfires are happening and scientists are telling us there’s a real connection between the climate, the extreme changes, and human behaviors that are contributing to that. And what do you have to say?” The president of the United States who is also, again, the commander in chief, responded, “Science doesn’t know.” As though science is a person. Can you believe? Science doesn’t know?
Kamala Harris: (27:33)
And there’s a through theme here too, because right? That’s how he’s been treating the coronavirus, right? A refusal to embrace the people who are smart enough to know what is actually going on and give us some direction around how we need to deal with it instead of trying to make everybody think everything’s okay as though people aren’t smart enough to see what is happening around them. So all these things are at play, and so much more.
Kamala Harris: (28:05)
And that brings me to this moment where we are today. I’m here in Texas to thank you for all you have been doing to speak up about these challenges and to remind people to vote here on the last day of early voting, four days before the end of the election. And I’m here to talk about it in the context of also understanding that there’s a lot that we need to get done. And there are a lot of reasons for folks to vote. And people ask me a lot, “Why should I vote? Does it matter?”
Kamala Harris: (28:49)
And I think there are three reasons that it is important that people vote. One is to honor the ancestors. Honor the ancestors. I mean, we, Bernice, Mark, we all know we lost an incredible American human, just a hero, in Congressman John Lewis. Just a hero. He is now among the ancestors. John Lewis, who shed his blood at Edmund Pettus Bridge. John Lewis, who said to us, ” Get in good trouble.” John Lewis, who lived life that was about a commitment to fighting for equal rights and civil rights. And it was a fight that was born out of being a patriot and loving our country, knowing the best way we achieve our ideals is to fight for those ideals, to do it in every way by standing up, showing up, and speaking up. So we must vote to honor the ancestors.
Kamala Harris: (30:03)
So we must vote to honor the ancestors. This year, we celebrated the 19th Amendment, the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The ancestors, the suffragettes, who those hundred years ago in all of their white were marching and shouting for a woman’s right to vote saying, “We will not be deterred. We will not be left behind.” Now let us remember, because we almost must speak truth about history, that black women couldn’t vote until 1965. So we have to remember that.
Kamala Harris: (30:38)
But yes, it is important to honor those who fought for this precious right, understanding that like Coretta Scott King told us, the fight for civil rights, for equal rights, for human rights, this fight for justice must be fought and won with each generation. And what she meant is it precious, these rights, but you cannot take them for granted. We must be vigilant. So we vote to honor the ancestors. We vote because everything is at stake. Everything is at stake. Let’s think about where we are. We talked about it in terms of these crises. I mean, let’s talk about it in terms of these 545 babies who right now have been orphaned because of a failure of the United States government to reunify them with their parents. Let’s talk about a nation under this administration that had a policy of separating children from their parents at the border. A nation that broke its promise to the Dreamers in terms of not following through on a commitment around DACA protections. There are so many things at stake, so that is a reason to vote.
Kamala Harris: (32:09)
And the third reason is this. So I’m traveling the country and I’ve been to, in the last week and a half, in fact, I’m going back to Florida tomorrow, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan. I mean you just name it. Okay? And one of the things that we have been seeing certainly since 2013, before for sure, but since 2013 when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, as we’ve been seeing as many as two dozen states putting in place laws through their state legislature that have been designed to suppress the vote, have been designed to make it difficult for people to vote. Have been done in such a way, you’ve seen that in Texas, where they’re trying to remove the drop boxes, where they’re trying to reduce the number of polls, where they’re saying if you vote from home, you need to fill out two envelopes. I mean, all kinds of things. Right?
Kamala Harris: (33:09)
Leaders who have tried to make it difficult and confusing and to suggest you can’t trust the process. In fact, at that first debate, the President of the United States took that stage in front of 70 million Americans, and in my opinion, openly encouraged a suppression of the vote. Not to mention what he’s doing and what they’re doing to mess with the post office. The post office. The best people in the world work for the post office. The post office.
Kamala Harris: (33:48)
So we have to ask, why do we think so many powerful people are going out of their way to make it so difficult and confusing for us to vote? And I think the answer is because they know our power. They know our power. They know when we vote, things change. They know when we vote, we win. So let us not let anyone ever take our power from us. Let us use the power of our strong voices every day, in the spirit of John Lewis, in the spirit of the suffragettes, in the spirit of all of the generations of people here and in the future who are counting on us to know what is at stake and to step up and to stand up and to fight for this country we love. That is what is before us.
Kamala Harris: (35:10)
And so my final point is this. This moment will pass. It will pass. And years from now, our children and our grandchildren and others, they will look at us, each one of us, they’re going to look in our eyes and they will ask us, “Where were you at that moment?” And you see, we’re going to be able to tell them so much more than just how we felt. We will tell them what we did. We will tell them what we did.
Kamala Harris: (35:54)
We will tell them on this particular Friday afternoon, on the last day of early voting in Texas, we were sitting in a field, hanging out with Kamala. We will tell them we texted everybody, called everybody, emailed everybody we knew. That yes, we knew we were kind of getting on their nerves, but we also knew they’d get over it. That we reminded people of the path that we are on, that the shoulders upon which we stand, that we reminded people about what is at stake and that we reminded people about their power.
Kamala Harris: (36:30)
And in this moment where we are dealing with crises we reminded our friends and our neighbors and our family that you are not alone. Don’t let anyone make you feel small. That you are big, you are strong, you have power. And at election time that power will be through your vote. And you will tell them when they ask that you elected Joe Biden, the President of the United States. Thank you Fort Worth, and God bless Texas.