Remarks by the Vice President at a Democratic National Committee Finance Event in Albuquerque, New Mexico
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good mor- -- or afternoon. I -- I just came from D.C. I think it's morning. (Laughter.)
Good morning, everyone. Good morning. I want to start by thanking you all for supporting your governor. She's extraordinary, and I'm going to talk about her in a moment. But she needs you.
And I traveled this morning from Washington to come here to support her and to thank you for supporting her. Because the work that we are doing in Washington, D.C., will not be real if it doesn't actually hit the streets and get delivered to the people. And your governor is a key ingredient to making that happen. And we have just 14 days to go.
So I just want to start by thanking you all for electing her the first time and reelecting her as the governor of the great state of New Mexico. (Applause.)
I want to thank Michelle and Rudy Guzman for hosting us in your beautiful home -- (applause) -- and all the work that that requires to bring all of us in. But thank you both because, again, this kind of support is -- it just makes all the difference.
And to the lieutenant governor, I thank you as well for your work.
So, your governor is someone that I've known for years. And I knew her before I knew her, because I knew her work. And I knew her to always be someone who has dedicated themselves to public service and to being a voice for all of the folks who must be seen and heard and represented in these rooms where big decisions are being made. And that's exactly who she's been her entire career. (Applause.)
She was that way in Congress, and she is that way in the statehouse.
And when we talk about the work that we have done -- the President and I and our administration -- and the governor talked a bit about it -- truly, it not only cannot actually be implemented without your governor in place, she was a part of what we did, in terms of the priorities that we created and how we crafted them, from our earliest days as an administration.
And it was during, you know, some of the height of COVID, so a lot of the meetings took place through Zooms -- we are all tired of Zooms, but it was Zooms. And we would convene some of the top leaders in the country and ask them, "What do you need? How should it look? How can we craft these policies in a way that it will really impact, in particular, working people? And how can we do it in a way that when it comes time to implement, we do it without bureaucracy and we do it with intention?"
And I'm going to tell you that Michelle Lujan Grisham has always been somebody that's on speed dial -- (laughs) -- in each of these conversations, because she knows how D.C. works and she knows how the state works. And that's a great combination when we think about where we are right now.
And so we're 14 days out from a very pivotal election. And every election is, but I want to emphasize this one in particular, which is why, again, I'm here.
So let's think about it in terms of who's in this room. And I know there's so many leaders in this room and -- as the governor has said -- who have dedicated yourselves to your success in business, to your success in academia, to your success in education, but also to your success in being a civic and a community leader.
And so, I know who you are. And I know this election is not very different from previous elections in that you will be and have always been active in getting out the vote and reminding people of what's at stake.
So here's how I've been thinking about it recently: We know that when we go up to people and ask them to vote -- it could be friends, neighbors, perfect strangers that we see as a friend and a neighbor -- they will always ask a very righteous question. And the question they will ask is, "Why should I vote?"
It's a righteous question. And the first thing we will do when we ask them to vote again is we will first of all thank them. Because in 2020 -- again, during the height of the pandemic, when people were burdened with so much -- so much loss -- loss of life, loss of their jobs, loss of normalcy -- they voted in record numbers in 2020 -- voted in record numbers. Young voters voted in record numbers in the height of a pandemic.
And the way I think about it is: When we asked them to vote in 2020, we knew that when they put in their ballot, they were basically putting in an order. They were saying, "This is what I want out of my government and what I want out of my country."
And so, when we ask them to vote again, we will remind them, as we thank them -- we will remind them that they put in an order. And as the governor said, they said, "Deal with child poverty in America." (Applause.) And so, because they stood in line, because they took the time in the midst of trying to teach their kids online, in the midst of all of that, they -- they voted, and we were then able to extend the Child Tax Credit, which reduced child poverty in America by over 40 percent in the first year. (Applause.)
And what I -- I know to be true is this benefitted directly 250,000 children right here in New Mexico. (Applause.)
When they stood in line and they made the effort to vote in 2020, they said, "Can you please pay attention to the burden carried by parents in trying to just get through the week, much less the month, and the expenses of raising our children."
And so we passed a tax cut, because they put in their order -- a tax cut which gives working families up to 8,000 more dollars to cover the cost of food and medicine and school supplies associated with parenting the children of our nation. They put in their order. (Applause.)
They said, "We want to elect people and a party that has always and will always work for working families." So they put in their order. And they said, "Will you please deal with infrastructure?"
There have been a whole lot of people talking about it -- (laughter) -- "Infrastructure Week" -- but America's infrastructure, in many places, is -- is 150 years old. And we need these roads and these bridges fixed, because working people have to drive over potholes, which car insurance does not cover a flat tire; because working people have to take the bus to go to work or to take their children to school.
And we need to invest in public transit as an extension of our infrastructure and put more buses on those lines and upgrade public transit so working people can get to work. (Applause.)
And as a result of what we did, the Sunport airport is going to get 7 million more dollars. (Applause.) And Rail Trail -- Rail Trail to transform downtown will get $11 million. (Applause.) Because we saw it through, understanding this is what people want.
People stood in line. They took time out to vote in 2020. And they said, "You know, you guys did a great job, starting in 2008, with dealing with the healthcare system and reforming it, but we need to do more because it's still expensive." And so, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is going to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. (Applause.)
And I don't have to tell many people here who have family members and friends and people that you love who have diabetes to know how many, in particular seniors, around our country have had to negotiate either filling their prescription for insulin or paying their rent or buying food.
Seventy -- Latinos are seventy percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. African Americans, 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Capping it at $35 a month.
They said, "When we stand in these lines, when we take the time to vote, we need you to deal with the fact that prescription drugs, as a general matter, are far too expensive."
And so, for the first time, because they voted, we have now said Medicare can negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of 60 million people to bring down the cost of healthcare. (Applause.) Because they voted.
And on that last point, do you know: Not a single Republican in Congress voted for it? Thirty-five dollars a month for insulin? Bringing down the cost of prescription drugs?
This is where we are right now. There's an incredible contrast, more than we've ever seen, between the parties on so many issues that should not be partisan -- that are fundamental, everyday issues for people regardless of the party with which they are registered to vote.
But sadly, you are seeing a huge divide among the candidates who will be up for election in 14 days, based on the party with which they're registered to vote. Huge divides in terms of where they stand on fundamental issues of our time.
And so, let's think about what's at stake in this election. Well, they've said that when they regain power, if they do -- we're not going to let them -- they've said that Social Security might be on the table, Medicare will be on the table, an abortion ban nationwide on the table.
And let's think about that last point. The highest court in our land, the United States Supreme Court, just took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America.
And what we're seeing happen around the country -- your governor is not letting it happen here. (Applause.) What we are seeing around the country is extremist so-called leaders passing or proposing laws that would criminalize healthcare providers -- doctors, nurses, healthcare providers -- literally put them in jail. Passing, proposing laws that would punish women. Passing laws that --
You know, I'm a former prosecutor, and for a large part of my career as a prosecutor, I specialized in crimes -- violent crimes affecting women and children. They're passing laws that would create no exception for some of the most violent crimes that violate another person's body with no exception. It's immoral.
And, by the way, on this topic, one does not have to abandon their faith or their deeply held beliefs to agree -- (applause) -- to agree the government should not be making that decision for her. (Applause.)
But truly, on this issue -- because the highest court in our land, said, "Well, let's send it to the states" -- who is your governor matters. It matters to hold the line on such important principles that are grounded and steeped in foundational principles for our country: the concept of freedom and liberty, not to mention justice.
So, there's a lot at stake in this election. Think about the idea of Medicare, the idea of Social Security, the idea of taking rights from individuals, including -- by the way, on that Dobbs decision, Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud -- that on the line then could also be your right to access contraception, your right to marry the person you love.
All this is on the line in this election. And I'll tell you guys, when I think about what you, here in New Mexico, have the power and the ability to do, it truly is to retain what we know to be the kind of leadership that makes America proud. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: M-L-G! M-L-G! M-L-G!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: M-L-G! Yeah.
AUDIENCE: M-L-G! M-L-G! M-L-G!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: M-L-G! (Laughs.)
And your Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver. (Applause.)
And the AG Raúl Torrez. (Applause.)
And to hold on not only to your seats in the Congress, but flip the second congressional seat with Gabriel Vasquez. (Applause.)
But here's my final point on all of that with all of these, then, elections that are within your grasp and power to determine: We have 14 more days. And sometimes when you think about two weeks, it seems like a long time, but, really, it's a very short time. And so, I'm here to ask you to please do what you have always done, which is why you are here this morning in the midst of all that you have going on.
Please, in these next 14 days, talk with everyone you know. Talk with perfect strangers, and remind them of their power and remind them of what is at stake.
We saw the power of the people in the last election to have a direct impact on decisions that have a direct impact on them.
And so, my final point is this: As Vice President, in these last -- I think it's 21 months, my team tells me I've now met with 100 world leaders. (Applause.) So -- in person or by phone in some cases, and --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: One hundred and one! You have one behind you. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you for that. (Laughter.)
Presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings.
And I'll tell you something that you probably know: When we walk in those rooms representing the United States of America, we are able to walk in those rooms chin up, shoulders back, talking about the importance of democracies, the importance of the strength of democracies. We go in those rooms and we talk about then the importance of rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, freedom of association. And we talk about those things with authority. We are in so many ways a role model and hold ourselves out to be the best example of a democracy.
And as a role model -- and this is a roomful of role models -- one of the things we know about being a role model is this: People watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.
Understand then that people around the world are watching what's happening in our country right now. And it, therefore, is having a huge impact and -- my fear is -- consequence for people around the world. And particularly on that last point, autocrats who can then say to their people -- who are fighting for women's rights, fighting for rule of law, fighting for these democratic principles -- to be able to say to their people, "You talk about America? Well, watch. Look what they're doing right now. Go away."
And in that way then, what is happening in our country right now will affect the over 330 million people of our nation and potentially people around the world. That's the impact of what is happening right now. Everything is at stake.
So, 14 days to go. We need Michelle Lujan Grisham -- (applause) -- to be reelected the governor of New Mexico as a model of who we really are as a country and what we applaud and value in the leadership of our country.
That is what is at stake. It is in your hands, and I know you will see this through. So I thank you. I thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at a Democratic National Committee Finance Event in Albuquerque, New Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358527