Photo of John Delaney

Remarks at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Event in Cedar Rapids

June 09, 2019

So, I have been everywhere. Good afternoon, Iowa. How's everyone doing? All right, good. So one of the great privileges of traveling to all 99 counties is that I've seen so many familiar faces here this afternoon and it has been great to talk to you, particularly in rural Iowa, and don't let anyone tell you that rural Iowa doesn't matter anymore because I think it does - there you go - and talk about how we build the big tent Democratic Party that we need to win and govern.

So I stand before you as someone who has lived the American dream and I am so grateful for all the opportunities this country has given me. To be the first in my family to go to college, to be a successful entrepreneur, to serve my country in the Congress of the United States, and most importantly, to be blessed with an amazing family.

But these stories are so much harder for young people today. Why? Because we stopped doing our job. We stopped doing the basic things we should have done to prepare our citizens for the future. I stand before you here today as someone who does not believe that what hard-working Americans need is more ideology, more gridlock, or more partisanship. They need solutions, and maybe that's because of where I'm from. They do. And maybe that's because of where I'm from.

My dad was a union electrician - IBEW. He wired buildings for a living. He did honest work. And when you do honest work, you get a building that works. You flip on a switch, the lights go on, you turn on a faucet, the water comes out. One of the problems with our president is he doesn't build anything. He doesn't care if anything works. He only cares about himself. We need to ensure that America works for hard-working Americans. We do.

We need to elect a president who's committed to investing and improving public education in this country. We need to elect a president who is committed to combating climate change, to reforming our broken immigration system, to investing in all communities, including rural America, and with dealing with all of the change that's coming from technology.

But most importantly, we need a president who is committed to creating universal health care in the United States of America. Where everyone gets health care as a basic right of citizenship. No Americans should be worried about whether they can pay for their insulin. Or worry about their children's health care, or worry about whether if they make a decision to get health care that they may be signing up to bankrupt themselves. No American should worry about that, and we know we can do this.

Why do we know that? Because other countries have done it. France has a universal health care system, Sweden has a universal health care system, the Netherlands has a universal health care system, and Germany has a universal health care system, so we can build a universal health care system in the wealthiest nation in the world.

But the one thing, the one thing, about all of those countries whose systems we admire, none of them have a single-payer universal health care system, which shows there are lots of ways of creating universal health care in this country.

My plan, Bettercare, gives every American health care as a right. It invests in our communities and ensures we have high-quality health care. It puts money against basic research so we can cure cancer and cure Alzheimer's. And it gives the American people what they want, which is choices. That's the best way forward on universal health care.

And so we need -- we need to become the party of ideas, the party that embraces the debate, the party that wants to build a big tent so that Progressives who want change, moderates who want solutions, independents who just want their elected officials to put the country first, and even those disaffected Republicans who look at this president and see that he has no moral compass and have turned their back on that party. If we become that party, we're going to win every election. And more importantly, we'll be able to govern.

Because whether it is creating universal health care, or dealing with climate change, or investing in communities that are left behind, or rebuilding our infrastructure, reforming our immigration system, creating universal pre-K, having more early childhood education, making community college free, launching national service, or dealing with all the blessings of technology and making sure the American people are equipped to deal with it. On all of these issues, there's a common-sense way forward and let's build that big coalition party and govern and lead this country.

God bless you.

John Delaney, Remarks at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Event in Cedar Rapids Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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