FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton Stops at Carpenters Training Center - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton Stops at Carpenters Training Center in Sioux City


?Hillary Clinton Discusses Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure, Receives Endorsement from Tom Perez

During a town hall in Sioux City today, Hillary Clinton highlighted her five-year $275 billion plan that will create jobs and increase wages by building a 21st century backbone for a thriving 21st century economy.  Clinton also received the endorsement of the Honorable Tom Perez, who highlighted her commitment to fighting for the middle-class and the issues that keep families up at night.

Please see a full transcript of the remarks below:

TOM PEREZ: “Good afternoon! It is great to be here in Sioux City. It is great to be here in the only state in the country with a public university that has an undefeated football team! And I come here as part of the Toms for Hillary movement. The co-chairs of the movement are Tom Vilsack and Tom Harkin. And they asked me to join and said, "Hell yeah, I want to join!”

“And I wanted to smell that popcorn from Tom Harkin's office again, so I thought I'd go to the hometown and tell him. So thank you.

“It is so exciting to be here today, my friends. And I want to say "thank you" to all of my union brothers and sisters in the room. Thank you for [inaudible].

“Thank you for bringing us the middle class, thank you for bringing us the weekend, thank you for bringing us workplace safety. Thank you for all you do to protect collective bargaining in this country. We're with you!

“I have two pieces of great news, I'm excited to be here for two big reasons, aside from seeing all of you. Number one, I want to give you some news that's right hot off the presses. You know, the first Friday of the month is Numbers Day. That's when we report the jobs numbers.

“And this morning, we have another solid month: 211,000 jobs created. Last month we had almost 300,000 jobs created and you know what? You know what? We are on pace so that this year will be the second consecutive year where we have seen job growth of more than 200,000 jobs a month. In two years in a row!

“And folks, you know when the last time that happened? Bill Clinton, you got it baby! Bill Clinton!

“You know what? Look at the numbers. If you want to jobs in this country, one this is clear: elect a Democrat President of the United States!

“And that brings me to the second reason why I'm excited to be here, because you know what? It has been an unmitigated privilege for me over the last six years to work for President Obama and I want to say "thank you" to all of you who helped get him elected.

“He inherited a mess. We were in the deepest ditch of our lifetime economically and we climbed out. We're on the ladder, we're on that rope of opportunity once again. But we have undeniable unfinished business. Too many people aren't feeling the recovery. Too many people are working a 50-hour job and getting their food from the food pantry. And that is why we need to continue our progress, address the unfinished business and the reason I'm so excited to be here is I want to introduce you to the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton!

“I'm a proud, progressive Democrat. And I'll tell you why I'm proud to introduce you to the next President of the United States, and that's because she is a fighter, she's fighting for you! She's smart enough to get elected, smart enough and tough enough to govern effectively and her North Star is the middle class, her North Star is working families, her North Star are those kitchen-table issues that keep people up across this country every night, fighting for good jobs, fighting for fair wages, fighting to make sure that women have an opportunity to succeed, fighting to make sure that everybody who works hard and plays by the rules can succeed, that's why I'm here today!

“And if it sounds like I have a little passion, it's because I do, okay? And I get even more passion when I'm in a union hall, because—because I—

“I'll tell you something, I grew up in a union town — Buffalo, New York. I'm Buffalominican, that's what I am — grew up in Buffalo, born in Buffalo, proudly raised in Buffalo, my parents came there from the Dominican Republic, because the weather was the same.

“And so, you know what? I've seen the ups and downs of Buffalo. I was 12 when my Dad died. My Mom got sick; she was hospitalized shortly thereafter, but you know what? She was a fighter, just like Secretary Clinton and she willed herself to live another 30 years so she could raise my four siblings and me. And they taught us to work hard, play by the rules, get educated and always make sure the ladder`s down for everyone.

“And my best friend's father was my surrogate father. He was a teamster; he taught me the importance of the union movement. When we all succeed, we all succeed. That's what he taught me.

“And that's why I bring those Buffalo values to bear every single day in my job. I was so proud to get Pell Grants. I was so proud to work any job I could to get through college, whether it was a trash collector, working at Sears, picking up golf balls, doing whatever I could to get through.

“And my Mom was a strong woman; she taught me to fight and work hard and always make sure that you are helping others. And I couldn't imagine back then that I would have the privilege of standing up here today with you. And I have lived every day with a sense of urgency, because that's what my parents taught me: to live with the fierce urgency of now, the need to help others.

“And you know what? That's what I've had the privilege of doing for the last six years, because under President Obama's leadership we took on predatory lenders who transformed the American Dream into the American Nightmare.

“You know what? We went toe-to-toe with states like Texas who want to turn back the clock on voting rights, we went toe-to-toe with rogue sheriffs like Joe Arpaio who want to immigrant-bait and immigrant-bash. We have made marriage equality a reality in this country!

“And frankly, my nomination for Labor Secretary got delayed because Republicans issued an indictment against me. They said I was a progressive Democrat; they were mad because I stood up for unions. They were mad because I stood up for vulnerable communities. They were mad because I was fighting for an increase in the minimum wage.

“And you know what? I won the contest among our cabinet secretaries for having the most op-eds written against me by the Wall Street Journal Editorial page!

“And you know what? [inaudible] charges were [inaudible] a progressive Democrat and I will acknowledge to you, I plead guilty to those charges. And you know what? It takes one to know one and you know what folks? I'm working with a progressive Democrat and I'm standing right next to a progressive Democrat!

“And you know what? I want to give you a few things that you may not know about the next President of the United States, because I'm a firm believer that you get a window into somebody's moral compass when you look at what they're doing long before the spotlight came under them. You know, Secretary Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, I was privileged from going to Harvard Law School, and most of my colleagues, they went to Wall Street and made a ton of money, and you know what I didn't do that, and neither did she. You know what she did? She went out there and started working for vulnerable people. We were just chatting a few weeks ago, I forget exactly when, and we were talking about the struggles of working people. That's what our conversations invariably lead to, every single time. How can we help all of you? And everyone else who's struggling. We start talking about farm workers, and I was talking to her about the frustrations I feel every single day because there's not enough protections for farm workers.

“Unbeknownst to me, after listening to me, she explained what she did as a young lawyer advocating for farm workers. I didn't know that! A window into her soul, a window into her moral compass. Her work on behalf of children is second to none. When I was a local elected official, I enforced one of the most important laws for young children with disabilities. The [inaudible] and Education Act. And you know what? I had no idea that when she was graduating from law school, she went out there knocking on doors to prepare a report asking the question, why is it that so many millions of our children aren't getting access to education. And that work that she did led to the passage of that law, a window into her moral compass. You see so many examples of that in the work that she does. I used to direct the legal clinics, and we teach young lawyers how to be good lawyers, how to be responsibly lawyer and how to make sure they understand their duty to represent the undeserved. I had no idea that Secretary Clinton did the same thing at the University of Arkansas Law School. Helping students who needed a hand, a window into her moral compass. And you know what, I worked for one of the most [inaudible] progressives in the history of the progressive movement: Ted Kennedy. And you know what? Ted Kennedy taught me what it was like to be a progressive because what Ted Kennedy said was that you know what? You can be passionate, but to be effective, you have to understand that idealism and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive.

“Hillary Clinton is a progressive who gets things done. Hillary Clinton understands what Ted Kennedy understood. When I worked for him in '96, he fought with President Clinton to get an increase in the minimum wage, and he got the bill passed over the objection of Newt Gingrich, but you know what? It wasn't everything that they wanted but they understood, you get what you get now and you finish that and what you do the next is you go right back to work fighting for people, that's what she does. That's what she did. [Inaudible] Children's Health Insurance Program. One of the most remarkable programs that's helping 80,000 Iowan children. These are children of working parents. I'm confident that if Secretary Clinton had her way back then, she would have written a more expansive bill that would have covered more people, but you know what? Idealism and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive. Principle compromise is not a dirty word. Principal compromise brought us the Constitution in this country. And she [inaudible].

“One more story. I've had the privilege in this job of doing a fair amount of international travel. And I have a lot of friends who work at the State Department. And when I travel a long ways in awe of the dedicated career professionals who work around the world to represent our nation, and I've many conversations with friends and I say tell me about your experience because I started out in the government as a career civil servant. The career people in federal service, the career people in state and civil service the [inaudible] brothers and sisters, other people working in the government, you are the spine of those agencies. And what I hear, I say tell me about who your favorite Secretaries were. And you know, they would talk about a distinguished number of folks, I heard Colin Powell's name mentioned with frequency. And then they would mention Hillary Clinton. And you'd see the smiles. You'd see the reverence and you'd hear the following words: tireless, smart, and the word I heard the most was a good listener. Leaders listen, and leaders respect folks.

“I heard someone who said to me you know what she treats the contractor who cleans the floor of the State Department with the same respect that she treats a head of state visiting the State Department. That's [inaudible]...my friends. I see those traits every single day. And she understands that the most important word in a democracy is "we." We all succeed only when we all succeed. And right now we've got unfinished business. She understands that when women succeed, America succeeds and the whole world will get up and fight [inaudible].

“She understands that when humans succeed, America succeeds because [inaudible] succeeds. She understands that the most important about you is the value of time that you spend with your family, but it's hard to spend time if you're working two or three jobs. It's hard to spend time if you put your sick kid on the school bus because you don't have paid leave. She understands these challenges and that's why I'm so excited to be here folks. And I want to leave you with one more thing I've learned about the progressive movement. The progressive movement is also about making history. I'm married to a very strong women, twenty-eight years. She works for homeless people, she's been doing that her whole career. I've got a nineteen, a seventeen-year old daughter and a thirteen year old boy. And I have said to my daughters repeatedly, guys, [inaudible] you can do anything you want, you can aspire to any job that you want, any job! And that one daughter says to me, and I say anything! And she says you know what, that's an offer, Dad. And my middle kid calls me Dad. And they say to me well you know, the past forty-four presidents have all been men. And I say you know what guys, it's time to make history again. In 2008 she made history, thanks to Iowa, and in 2016 we're going to make history.

“And that's why I [inaudible] the FDH movement. What's the FDH movement you might ask? Fathers and daughters for Hillary, okay? That's what I am and I need your help, okay? I need you to do one thing for me, I need you to get involved and take out your phone and type in "GO" because that's how you will make history. 4-7-2-4-6 and type in GO. And you will go toward making history by electing Secretary Hillary Clinton the next President of United States. Ladies and gentlemen, Hillary Clinton!”

HILLARY CLINTON:  Oh, man, I don't know about you, but I'm all fired up.  I'll tell you what, I think you just got a small dose of why those of us who know this man, and have seen him as our Secretary of Labor are so enthusiastic about him and what he's doing and what he stands for.  I could not be more honored or really personally happier than to have him here with me in Sioux City, here at the North Central State Regional Council of Carpenters' building. 

“I am thrilled.  I'm going to have something more to say about Tom in a minute, but I want to thank Ernie Polk, business rep for Sioux City Carpenters Local. 

“I want to thank Kevin Hilton, political director of the North Central State Regional Council.

“I want to thank your state representative, Chris Hall.  Where's Chris?  Right there.  Thank you, Chris!  Stand up.  Thank you, Chris!  I am so thrilled to have Chris's endorsement, can't wait to work with you, can't wait to be your partner.  And I have to say thanks to everybody here in Sioux City for sending such a young, dynamic, Democrat to represent you in the state legislature.

“(And I know in addition?) to a bunch of carpenters here, both current and retired, we've got some laborers here as well.  We have a bunch of unions represented.  And I am very proud to have the support of so many of you who do the building and the making of what we so value in our country.

“It's really important to me to have this chance to come here to talk to you about what I think we should be doing to invest a lot more money in building up our country.  That's why I rolled out my infrastructure plan last Sunday in Boston at a rally that was titled "Hardhats for Hillary."

“Now, I've met some people who are hardheads for Hillary.  Oh, I see some (inaudible) people here, too.  Yeah, okay, thank you!

“But I'm proud to have Hardhats for Hillary because I so admire and respect the work that you all do. 

“We had an amazing rally.  Terry O'Sullivan (ph) was there to (inaudible/applause.)  (Inaudible/applause.) Doug McKaren (ph) was there to cheer me on.  We had a great representation.

“And the reason we were all in Boston, a thousand strong, was to send a clear message that we're going to create more good paying jobs for hardworking Americans.  As Tom just told you, we're making progress, but we haven't gone as far as we need to.

“Now, before I get into the details of all that, I want to say a few words about the ongoing situation in San Bernardino, California.  We're learning more, literally by the hour.   There certainly is much more support for the view that this was a terrorist act.

“I have a great deal of confidence in law enforcement -- local, state, federal.  And I am convinced that they will do everything they can to run down every lead, no matter where it might take them, anywhere in the world.

“We will learn more about these people, these murderers, and we will do everything in our power to make sure we prevent acts like this from happening.

“Now, I know how important it is to protect our country.  I was, as some of you know, a senator from New York on 9/11.  And I spent a great deal of my time as Secretary of State but then before that as a senator working with people who shared my commitment to protect us and prevent attacks.

“And we have to be vigilant and we have to be cooperative, not only within our own country so we share information with one another, but also do a better job of collecting and analyzing information from around the world.

“I've said repeatedly we need to redouble our efforts to dismantle the global structure of term.  We have to go after those folks who are on the Internet radicalizing people.  And we have to fight these terrorist networks in the air.  The United States has to lead that, but getting more help -- the French, the Brits and others.  Germans just voted to help us.

“We have to fight them on the ground.  That has to be the people who are there, not American troops.  We can enable t hem and (inaudible/applause) but we're not sending our troops (inaudible/applause.)

“And we have to fight them online.  This is the first time we have faced an adversary so sophisticated about using the Internet, using it to recruit vulnerable people, using it even to train, provide information about planning for attacks.

“So we've got to have a strategy to defeat these global terror networks.

“Now, part of that strategy, I'm just going to say, is again, I've been talking about it for the last few days, is to try to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on guns in our country. 

“Now, last night, the Senate voted down a law to block suspected terrorists from buying guns. 

“We have thousands of people on a no-fly list.  They get put on there based on credible information and suspicion that they should not be let on a plane inside our country or coming into our country.

“The bill was to prevent anybody on the no-fly list from buying a gun.  I've got to tell you, if you're too dangerous to fly in America, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.

“So there are a number of steps we have to take, and we're going to have to be really focused on going after anybody who poses a threat to us, no matter how they get here. 

“And I know there's a big argument going on in the country about refugees.  Look, we have to be careful.  I understand the legitimate fears and concerns people have.  We have to have the toughest possible vetting that our Defense Department, our intelligence community, Homeland Security, the State Department, everybody has to be as careful as we can.  And it does take up to two years.

“I want to remind you, the people who flew those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not refugees.  They were here legally.  They flew in on visas.  Now, they overstayed their visas but they got here legally.  So we're going to have to take a much broader look.

“And we also don't want to do anything that undermines law enforcement's capacity to get the information we need.  We've had Syrians, for example, come into this country a really long time.  Some of you probably know that one of the oldest mosques in America is in Cedar Rapids.  One of the oldest Syrian Orthodox Churches in America is in Cedar Rapids. 

“So we've got to proceed with caution but we also have to keep moving forward in concert with our values.  And it's important to do what works and not argue about what won't work.  There's too much arguing going on.  I want us to roll up our sleeves and protect us and support law enforcement who we've seen in the last week rush to deal with an attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, losing the life of a brave young police officer.  And we saw law enforcement responding in San Bernardino, and one of the officers as he was trying to move people out of harm's way, said, "Please go, I will take the bullet."  So let's pull together on behalf of law enforcement (inaudible/applause) and do what will work (inaudible/applause) America.

“You heard what Tom said, we're making progress.  Another good jobs report today.  But we've got to do a lot more to make the economy stronger for everybody, not just those at the top. 

“Tom understands that.  He is doing a terrific job.  And as I travel across the country talking and listening to people, I often hear about the initiatives he's undertaking.  The Department of Labor is firmly supporting labor.  And you know what, that is a nice change from what we had eight years under George W. Bush.

“Tom is pushing hard for apprenticeships, people who are ready to work, and then connecting them with employers who are ready to hire.

“He has pushed hard to improve job opportunities for our veterans and for people with disabilities.  He believes in a fair day's pay for a hard day's work.  So he's been fighting to raise the minimum wage, to ensure fair pay for women, and to enforce the labor laws on the books so workers are not cheated by employers taking advantage of them.

“There is no greater advocate for working families than our Secretary of Labor.  And I love the fact that he launched a campaign called "Lead on Leave."  That means let's help every American gain access to earned sick days and paid leave. 

“Too many families -- I know them, you know them -- are faced with an impossible choice when they get sick, or when their child gets sick, or their aging parent they're taking care of gets sick.  If they stay home to take care of their family, they risk losing their paycheck.  Sometimes they risk losing their job. 

“We've got to make it easier for workers to take care of their own health, or their kids, or their parents, and be able to fulfill their responsibilities at work.

“That's why I am advocating for paid family leave.  That's why I'm advocating for paid sick days.

“Now, a lot of unions have bargained for those rights, but the vast majority of American workers don't have them.  Yet another reason why we need more unions representing more workers.

“So I am thrilled to have his endorsement.  I really am going to be relying on his advice and expertise.

“And, you know, talking about the importance of getting jobs growing but how the construction trades have really begun to come back.  You guys got hit so hard by the Great Recession.  A lot of people lost their jobs.  A lot of people cashed in their retirement savings.  Some people lost their homes.  Kids' college funds were wiped out.

“But even though you may have gotten knocked down, you didn't get knocked out.  And you did everything you could to be able to stand up and keep moving forward. 

“And because of your hard work, we have, under President Obama's leadership, seen 69 months straight of job growth.  And America's businesses have created more than 13 million new jobs. 

“A lot of people forget, and I've got to tell you Republicans want you to forget how bad it was.  They want us to have a collective case of amnesia. 

“I saw President Obama shortly after he was elected in '08.  He called me and asked me to come to Chicago.  I didn't know why.  It turned out he wanted me to be Secretary of State.  But before we got into that, he said, "It is so much worse than they told us."

“We were losing 800,000 jobs a month.  Nine million Americans lost their jobs.  Five million lost their homes.  Thirteen trillion dollars of family wealth was wiped out.

“As bad as it was, it could have gotten worse.  The auto industry was on a fast downward slide. 

“The rest of the world was also in bad economic trouble.

“So we were in that big ditch that Tom mentioned.  I don't think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for helping to dig us out of that big ditch (inaudible/applause.)

“And, you know, the auto industry is thriving again, all those jobs up and down that supply chain.

“We're producing more energy, including more clean energy, than ever before.  And Iowa is one of the leaders.

“And 18 million people have gotten health insurance, which has meant a lot to them and their families.

“But, you know, I'm not satisfied, and I don't think we should be, because I've been traveling around Iowa, and I've been listening to people, and they told me about the stresses that they're under, how the cost of everything continues to go up but wages haven't gone up.  A lot of people are struggling with prescription drug costs, with childcare costs.  And trying to send a kid to college, boy, some of you know how hard and expensive that is.

“So we've got to get jobs growing.

“Now, Tom mentioned my husband's eight years.  Those were good economic years.  At the end of them, we had 23 million new jobs, incomes went up for everybody, at the top sure but most importantly in the middle, working people, and more folks lifted out of poverty than at any time in recent history.

“Republicans don't like it when I say this but it is a fact.  The economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House.

“And I'm not running for my husband's third term, and I'm not running for President Obama's third term, I'm running for my first term, but I'm going to do what works to create jobs and raise incomes.

“Now, last Sunday, when I was in Boston with everybody, I announced one of the critical elements of my jobs plan:  invest in the infrastructure.  We are in a sorry state.  Our roads, our bridges are crumbling.  Families endure blackout because our electric grid fails in extreme weather.  Beneath a lot of our cities, our pipeline structure, our water mains, our sewer systems, are a century or more old.  Our airports are a mess.  We don't have a single airport in the top 25 in the world.  It's costing money, the delays, the problems.

“Tom and I were just talking about our ports.  Our ports are in terrible shape.  You know, we don't want to lose business. 

“I was honored to be endorsed by the longshoremen the other day, and they do a great job because a lot of the fright that comes into the United States comes by big container ships.  And they're so far behind in modernization and operation.  It costs more money.  The ships stay offshore while we have to process everybody else.

“Our rail systems are getting overworked.  I learned the other day that it takes nearly as long for a freight train to go across the city of Chicago as it takes for it to come from Los Angeles to Chicago.  Because our infrastructure is old.  It's broken down.  You know, my image is it's held together by duct tape.

“And that has real world consequences.  Here in Iowa, farmers are paying a price for the freight rail congestion that slows shipments throughout the upper Midwest.  That drives up prices, it hurts farmers, it makes us less competitive. 

“So I have proposed a five-year, $275 billion plan to strengthen infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, and build the future we deserve.  

“Now, this not only creates good jobs, but it also strengthens our economy, and that in turn leads to more good jobs in the future.

“So we're going to make smart investments in ports, in airports, waterways and roads, like Highway 20 not far from here.  I don't know, you were counting all the hours you spend just sitting there, or having problems getting there.  It will cost real time and real money.

“So we're going to do everything possible to make us more competitive while we create more good paying jobs.

“I also want to be sure we invest in high-tech infrastructure.  We need to make sure every place in America has access to quality, affordable, high-speed Internet.  I don't care where you live, you ought to be able to access it.

“It's kind of like electricity.  Back in the 1930s we were electrifying cities but nobody wanted to go out in rural areas because there wasn't much money out there, there weren't as many customers out there.  So we had to create an electrification program from the federal government, the rural electric co-ops and other organizations that came in to fill the gap.  You know, it took until the late 1960s to electrify all of America, but we did it.  Can you imagine now not being able to get electricity if you lived in the continental United States?  Well, I feel the same way about high-speed Internet.

“I also want to create a new National Infrastructure Bank.  Other countries have done this.  We should as well.

“Now, I am pleased that finally yesterday, finally, the Congress passed the highway bill.  This has been going on for (many years, right?)?

“And it's important that we finally got it done, but it's just a down payment.  I mean, it's a lot of money but nowhere near what we need to spend.  So that is passed by the Congress, then I want to layer with additional money, and we're still behind the curve about what we need to spend to get our infrastructure up and going.

“I also want to make sure we have a pipeline of workers.  That's why I support apprenticeships.  I proposed a new tax credit to encourage more high quality apprenticeship programs.

“And while we're doing this, I will not let anyone undermine collective bargaining rights, prevailing wage standards or project labor agreements. 

“You know, the jobs we're talking about are tough jobs.  They take training and skill.  They take respect for workers' safety.  We can't let anybody mess with that.  We can't let people be cutting corners and undermining worker safety.  In the end, it also ends up costing more.  You do a shoddy job, it doesn't hold up.

“We need to make sure the construction trades remain that ladder into the middle class and that people can stay there.

“So there's a lot we can do together but I need your help to be able to do any of this.  I'm going to keep making the case for what we need to do to create new jobs and making sure that Americans get a raise.  I'm the only candidate running who has said I'm going to work to raise incomes, not taxes.  I will not raise taxes on the middle class of America.  This for me is a nonstarter.

“You know, folks haven't recovered their incomes since the Great Recession.  Most Americans haven't gotten a raise since my husband left office.  So we've got work to do.

“That's why I need your help in this upcoming caucus.  How many of you have ever caucused before?  Good.  Good.  Well, I hope you will again. 

“And I hope those of you who haven't will think about doing it.  It's one of the most historic experiences you can have living here in Iowa.  You all get to cast the first caucus votes on behalf of the candidate of your choice.

“Obviously, I hope that's me.  Because I do want to fight for us. 

“And I'll tell you why.  You know, my grandfather was a factory worker.  He came here as a young immigrant.  And he went to work in the Scranton lace mills in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  It was hard work.  He did it to support his family, but he also did it because he believed that by working so hard here in America he could give his kids a better life.  And he did.  He had three sons.  They all went to college. 

“Now, my father got out of college in the middle of the Great Depression, couldn't find a job, heard from somebody who heard from somebody that there might be a job in Chicago.  So he hopped a freight train.  I don't recommend that today, but a lot of people did it back then.  He got himself to Chicago, got the job.  That's one of the reasons I ended up being born there.  And worked hard, and then went into the Navy, was a chief petty officer.  And when he came out, he started a small business.

“And he believed with all of his heart in the basic bargain of America:  If you work hard, and you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead and stay ahead.  Kind of what I heard Tom describing of his upbringing.

“Now, my mother had a very different experience.  She was abandoned and rejected by her parents, and she was sent to live with grandparents who didn't want her.  By the age of 14, she was out working as a housemaid. 

“I didn't know any of this when I was a little girl.  I just knew she was my mom and she was a great mom.  But as I got older and I learned about her life, I asked her, I said, "How did you survive that?  How did you keep going?"  And she said, "You know, along the way people showed me kindness."  That first grade teacher who made sure she had enough to eat because she'd come to school every day, when it was time for lunch, she never did have anything to eat. 

“Or even the woman whose house she went to work in and knew my mother wanted to go to high school.  Made a deal with her.  You get up early and do your chores, you can go to high school.  And you come back after school and finish them.  It sounds kind of harsh today thinking about a 14-year old kid, but for my mom it was a gift.  She too believed with all her heart in the promise of this country.

“So that's how I was raised.  You know, my husband and I have had so many blessings and opportunities because of America.

“Now we have this amazing, wonderful grandchild.  And it's pretty amazing being in the grandparents club, for those of you who are fellow club members.  You know, all the job and none of the responsibility.  It's great.

“But, you know, Bill and I spend just countless hours looking at her, taking care of her, talking about her.  And we'll do whatever we can to make sure, along with her parents, that she has every opportunity in life to fulfill her own potential.

“But that is not enough, folks.  It really matters what kind of country she grows up in, and what kind of world is out there waiting for her.

“I don't think it's good enough that the granddaughter of a former president can have every opportunity.  I want the granddaughters of factory workers and the grandsons of truck drivers to have exactly the same opportunity in America.

“That's our promise and we've got to fight as hard as we can to make sure we deliver that to every single kid in America.

“Thank you, and God bless you.”

Powered by Frankly