Photo of Cory Booker

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

June 09, 2019

[As prepared for delivery. See video below for remarks as delivered.]

Hello Iowa!

Thank you Troy.

I congratulate this year's honorees.

These grassroots leaders give us what we truly need to win.

We have a lot of strong presidential candidates here this afternoon.

But our strength as a party comes from the grassroots.

Our party doesn't need a savior—we need each other. We need to deepen our bonds, organize, build community strength.

I am here because of that tradition.

My grandma was born and raised in Iowa.

My family comes from a mining town called Buxton where blacks and whites went down into the mines together to carve out of the earth their American dream.

They lived together; built a community together—a more beloved community.

Affirming that we in America have common purpose, common cause, a shared American dream and destiny.

But today, those bonds are being tested.

Leading many to believe that the forces tearing us apart are stronger than the bonds holding us together.

We are being tested.

When millions of Americans work full time jobs, pick up extra shifts when they can, but they still need food stamps to feed their family;

When there are shrines on our streets to shooting victims—like the ones in front of schools and houses of worship across the country;

When we have a criminal justice system that as Bryan Stevenson says: treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent.

We are being tested.

This is a moral moment in America—we must meet this test.

I'm running for President because we can't take four more years of Donald Trump.

I'm running for President to beat Donald Trump and I'm running for President because beating Donald Trump is not enough.

We must have bigger aspirations and bolder dreams than just that.

Beating Donald Trump is the floor—it is not the ceiling.

Beating him will get us out of the valley—but it will not get us to the mountaintop.

Democrats. We can't let this election be about what we are against.

It must be about what we are for, who we are for!

We are for every American worker because they deserve a living wage, the right to a union and to retire with dignity and security.

We are for public school teachers, we're for valuing them, supporting them and raising their pay.

We are for every American having access to healthcare—and make no mistake—abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

We are for ending mass incarceration.

And in the name of Charleston and Pittsburgh, Parkland and Newtown, Las Vegas and Virginia Beach, and communities like mine across the country.

We will take the fight to the corporate gun lobby, and we will win.

This is the call of our country—we come from generations that, no matter what the challenge, kept their eyes on the prize.

They came up from mines in Buxton together.

They rose from sweatshops and slums.

Together they boarded buses knowing they could be bombed—crossed a bridge knowing they could be beaten.

They did not turn against each other in the face of injustice, they stood with each other, for each other.

They beat the demagogues and bullies and bigots who tried to push them down by doing the work, and the struggle and the sacrifice to lift people up.

Now, Iowa, it's our turn.

This election is not a referendum on one person, in one office—it's a referendum on who we are, and who we must be to each other.

Donald Trump wants this election to be about him, on his terms and on his turf. That's how he wins.

We win when we rise with grace and grit. Rise with patriotism, love for our country and love for one another.

We will not stay in the valley of darkness and fear.

We will rise.

We will lift up our voices,

We will raise our sights,

We will win this election.

And America, we will rise.

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

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