February 05, 2019

Senator Harris Before State of the Union: “The American People Are Spirited, Resourceful, and Resilient”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tonight, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris delivered remarks in advance of President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address in which she rejected the president’s attempts to drive Americans apart and instead offered a vision for the country based in speaking truth and recognizing that every American is united in service of a common, higher purpose.


A full transcript of Senator Harris’ remarks below, as prepared for delivery:


Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in.


So, listen — in war and peace, in times of hardship and prosperity, the State of the Union has always been a chance for our President to speak to the nation.


It’s a moment for a President to rise above politics and unite the country with a vision that includes ALL Americans—not just the ones who may have voted for them.


It’s a moment to bring us together and remind us that we should be united in service of a common purpose—a higher purpose.


And I believe we are at an inflection point in the history of our nation.


It’s a moment where we must answer a fundamental question. Who are we? What is the state of our union?


What is that higher purpose we’re called to? And how must our leaders respond?


We need our leaders to speak the truth that we have an economy where the cost of health care, housing, and education are going up, but paychecks aren’t growing fast enough to keep up.


We also need our leaders to speak truth about the threat of climate change and about our broken criminal justice system, about our weakened position in the world and about the realities of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia.


And we need our leaders to speak the biggest truth of all: In the face of powerful forces that have been trying to sow hate and division among us, the truth is that as Americans we have much more in common than what separates us.


So let’s speak those truths and recommit ourselves to fighting for our Union—an optimistic America.


Let’s fight for an America where the economy works for working people.


An America where health care and education are fundamental rights, not a privilege for the wealthy few.


Where our nation is secure, our democracy and its institutions are protected, and where we honor our service members and veterans.


An America where no mother or father has to teach their son that people may stop him or kill him because of the color of his skin, and where no parent has to send their child to school with a bulletproof backpack.


Let’s fight for an America where we welcome refugees and immigrants, and where we fight for the dignity of all people—no matter who they are, no matter what they look like or how they identify.


Now, if last year’s remarks are any guide, we’re in store not for a speech that will seek to draw us together as Americans, but one that seeks to score political points by driving us apart.


We will hear insincere appeals to unity, but what we need is a policy agenda that calls on the better angels of our nature.


So I want you all to listen closely.


When you hear claims about how the economy is doing great, don’t forget the working and middle-class families who are struggling, the teachers who are working two and three jobs, and the 800,000 federal workers who recently went 35 days without getting paid—all while this Administration gives away a trillion dollars to big corporations.


When you hear claims about rewriting rules and cutting red tape, don’t forget that means workers will have fewer workplace safety protections, pregnant women will have fewer clinics to turn to for care, children will have drinking water that’s less safe. And remember that those rules are being rewritten to help big corporations and powerful interests.


When you hear claims about how America is stronger in the world—don’t forget the farmers and consumers hurt by this Administration’s trade wars, and don’t forget our allies who are now concerned that the United States of America may not keep our commitments.


When you hear claims that our problems would all be solved if we just built a wall on our southern border, don’t forget the babies ripped from their mothers’ arms and the refugees fleeing violence and abuse who are being turned away.


But no matter what we hear tonight, I want everyone to remember this.


The strength of our union has never been found in the walls we build. It’s in our diversity and our unity – and that is our power.


We see the State of our Union in the working mom who’s also working to earn her college degree


We see it in the firefighter in California who works around the clock to battle a wildfire, knowing her own home is at risk of being demolished.


We see it in the formerly incarcerated individual who re-enters society looking to contribute and in the Dreamer who pursues her future as a doctor in the face of fear and uncertainty that she’ll be deported.


We see it in the unpaid air traffic controller who still goes to work and helps safely land a plane and the neighbors who bring food to furloughed families.


At this difficult moment, we can have faith that the American people are spirited, resourceful, and resilient. And because of them, we can come together around that common purpose.


So thank you everyone. And after the speech, I hope that you’ll all tune in to the official Democratic and Spanish-language responses from my friends Stacey Abrams and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.