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Remarks by the Vice President at a Michigan Democratic Party Finance Event in Detroit, Michigan

October 15, 2022

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What's up, Detroit! (Laughs.) Well, first, let me just praise and thank Governor Whitmer. Because let me just tell you something: I just -- I have been standing with her on stages; I have worked with her, met with her over the years. That is one extraordinary leader that you have in this government. (Applause.)

Because the thing is, Gretchen, you're always about just, like, real talk. Right? You don't mince words. You are clear about how people are feeling. You are clear about what you care about as a reflection of what they care about. You fixed the damn roads. (Laughs.) And -- and we need you, because I will tell you, the President and I both feel very strongly. You know, the work we do in Washington, D.C., only hits the roads when the state leaders and the local leaders are committed to seeing it through.

So I'll talk about a number of things that we have done that have resulted in over $10 billion coming to the state of Michigan, but it won't be real if you don't have a real leader in place, like Governor Whitmer, to make sure that it does hit the roads, that families do feel it, and that we don't take our time getting bogged down in bureaucracy but instead do whatever is necessary to make it real for the people.

So when the governor talks about those 900 bills that are the result of her bipartisan work, that is an example of this point, which is she's not letting politics get in the way of producing for the people, understand the meaning of her approach -- understand that -- because there's a method to it. She really is about making sure that she keeps it real for the people of this state. And I applaud you for your leadership and your work and your partnership. (Applause.)

And then there is, of course, your Lieutenant Governor --

a tall man among men -- (laughter) -- who, again, we have worked with and over the years talked about the priorities of this state and your leadership and your commitment to the families, to education, to understanding how we have to be motivated by seeing the disparities. We have to be motivated by addressing the realities and cognizant always of where we came from to know where we need to go.

Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, I thank you for your leadership and your partnership. (Applause.)

And then there is, of course, your Congresswoman

who is my friend and is -- you've given so much of your life to public service and to the fight. And I have to admit in front of all of the -- the friends and the family here: I was so sad when you decided to not run for reelection. But I have such deep admiration for all the work you have done. We served together in the Congressional Black Caucus. And I saw firsthand how she is always fighting for the people of Michigan, and I know that's not going to stop. (Applause.)

So -- so it is good to be back in Detroit. And -- and we are 24 days from the midterms. Twenty-four days. That's a long time and a short time. We got a lot to get done in the next 24 days. And so, so many of us are here and we've been active in elections year after year after year.

And so, one of the things we know happens around this time of year every time is we're going to go and put all of our resources into activating folks to remind them to vote. And what happens every time we walk up to a neighbor or a friend or somebody in the grocery store and remind them about the election and ask them to vote? It's predictable. They will look at us and say, "Why should I vote?" And it's a righteous question. We got a whole lot of answers and receipts.

Because we will point to the fact that they stood in line in 2020; that in the midst of the height of a pandemic, with all that that meant in terms of personal loss, loss of life, of family members and friends, loss of normalcy, loss of job; in the midst of -- if they were a parent of school-aged children, what all of that required. And in the midst of all of that, Detroit, because of the work you all did in 2020, people voted in record numbers. Young voters voted in record numbers.

And the way I think about it is, when folks voted, they put in their order. They said, "Well, there are certain things I want."

They put in their order. And they said, "I want you to pay attention to families and parents and people who are parenting children, because it's expensive and we need to see our responsibilities through."

So because they voted in 2020, we passed a tax cut for childcare expenses, such that people are now going to have up to 8,000 more dollars in their pocket for the expense of food and medicine and school supplies for their children. (Applause.)

They put in the order. They said, "Address the issue of child poverty in America." So we extended the Child Tax Credit and reduced, in the first year, child poverty in America by over 40 percent. (Applause.)

They put in their order, and they said, "Deal with these roads and bridges. Deal with them potholes because, you see, I have to drive on those roads and bridges and potholes every day, and my insurance doesn't cover the cost of a flat tire."

And so, we -- a lot of people talked about it -- but because you voted in 2020, we passed an historic infrastructure law -- bipartisan -- (applause) -- that will address the upgrading of America's infrastructure, including what we need to do to invest in public transit, understanding how many of our working families should not have to be waiting at the bus stop for hours because they live in a particular neighborhood, while that other neighborhood has the bus rolling through every 15 minutes.

They put their order in. And these are the things that happened.

They put their order in and said, "You know, you guys, as Democrats, have done a great job with the Affordable Care Act and finally dealing with what we need to do to reform the healthcare system in America." But we still are motivated by a belief that people shouldn't have to go bankrupt to relieve their pain and improve their condition of life.

They said, "When we voted in 2020, we're putting in an order that we want to do even more." And what happened? Most recently -- yes, because you voted in 2020, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act. And, yes, -- (applause) -- because you said, "Enough of the days where nobody is taking on the pharmaceutical companies that are ratcheting up the cost of prescription medication," we were able, for the first time, to say, "It ain't right. This town that protects and fights for collective bargaining" -- you know what I'm about to say -- "it ain't right."

And because you voted in 2020, Medicare can now negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of prescription medication for 60 million Americans. (Applause.) Because you voted in 2020.

You went and you took time out of your life and all of the demands to vote, saying -- I got members of my family that have diabetes. I'd ask everyone here -- raise your hand if you know somebody who has diabetes. Look at this. Look around the room.

And so, folks stood in line in 2020 and said, "Why is my family member being forced to make a decision about whether they can pay their rent or buy food versus buying lifesaving insulin?" So people said, "Deal with that." And what we did in the Inflation Reduction Act is, for the first time, cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. (Applause.)

People stood in line and put in their order. They said, "What's going on with the United States Supreme Court, where we've never had a Black woman to serve?" And they put in their order and said, "We want a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court." (Applause.) And her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Applause.)

Twenty-four days. Twenty-four days. And we are going to, again, ask our neighbors and our friends, and perfect strangers that we look at as a neighbor and a friend, and we're going to ask them to vote. And we're going to remind them of what they did. And we are going to praise them with gratitude for what they did in 2020, and we're going to ask them to do it again. Because there is still so much on the line.

Think about where we are right now. Just a couple months ago, the United States Supreme Court took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America.

And we're seeing around the country extremist so-called leaders passing laws criminalizing doctors and nurses and healthcare providers, punishing women, with no exception even in the case of some of the most horrendous and violent acts that anyone could survive and endure. It's immoral.

And, by the way, it must be said, one does not have to abandon their faith or their deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body. (Applause.)

So, you see, the Court has acted, and now we need Congress to act. Our President, Joe Biden, has said he will not let the filibuster get in the way of signing the Women's Health Protection Act that would put into law the protections of Roe v. Wade. (Applause.)

Well, we just need two more Senate wins -- two more Senate seats. And that will happen. And we understand what that means. When the President will be able to sign that into law, it means that these various states, not under Governor Whitmer's watch, will the governor's office allow that to happen here. And I know we've got extraordinary state legislators here who will not allow that kind of thing to happen here.

But in states across our country where these bans are being passed, when the President signs the Women's Health Protection Law into law, they can't do that anymore. (Applause.) That's real.

Well, 24 days. Twenty-four days. Think about, 24 days, what this means. Our President, Joe Biden, also said, recognizing that in 2020 -- because we had record numbers of people voting, including young people -- some states then started passing laws, because they got scared, to make it more difficult to vote; states that made it against the rules and the law to give people food and water who'd been standing in line.

So, what's interesting about this moment is, after the Dobbs decision came down on choice, those same so-called leaders said, "Well, you see, we're going to now push it to the states to make decisions. And the states -- the voters in the states can make decision." Well, check this out -- you've probably seen: It's the same people who said pushing it to the states. Many of those same people are the same ones passing these laws making it more difficult to vote.

Twenty-four days. Because here's the thing: Our President, Joe Biden, has said he will not let the filibuster get in the way of signing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Applause.)

We just need two more votes in the Senate and hold on to the House.

Twenty-four days. And again, they pushed it to the states -- I have to emphasize this point: about you sending back to the Capitol your governor and your lieutenant governor because we need these leaders, especially in a state as important as this one, to be a model, to remind the people of what they have a right to expect of their leaders.

Twenty-four days. Everything is on the line. Twenty-four days. We are looking here in Michigan at an opportunity to flip the legislature with just three more seats. (Applause.) Three more seats.

Twenty-four days. Proposal 3. Twenty-four days.

So, all this to say we've done this before. And all the effort that it took the folks in this room, all the heart and soul that you put into it in 2020, you are prepared to do again. You wouldn't be here if you weren't.

And I think we've got a lot of good material to work with, because what we can show people is that because they listened to you about reminding them of their own power, they were able to accomplish something that was about progress in our nation. And, ultimately, that is where this all comes down to.

Because, you know, as your Vice President, I have now met directly, by person or on phone, with 100 world leaders -- presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. And I'll tell you something: The United States of America has always had the ability, walking into those rooms, to be in those rooms with authority to talk about the importance of the strength of democracy, flawed though we may be.

We've been able to go in those rooms and talk about the importance of rule of law, human rights, civil rights, because we have been considered and put ourselves out as a role model. This is a room of role models. So here's the thing we know about being a role model: People watch what you do to see if it matches up to what you say.

So, when we think about what is at stake right now on so many of these issues, as the governor said -- understanding democracy is on the ballot -- understand this is a fight for these very specific issues, and this truly is a fight for our democracy and our standing in the world. And, by extension, what we do will impact people around the world. There is so much at stake right now.

But here's the thing I know about people from Detroit: When you fight, you win. (Applause.) When you fight, you win.

So, let's get out there each one of these 24 days -- every day of these 24 days -- and let's go up to perfect strangers and just get to know them. Let's text, let's call, let's email, let's organize. Let's remind the people of their power. And we will get this done, and we will see this through.

And I thank you, Detroit, always. Thank you. (Applause.)

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at a Michigan Democratic Party Finance Event in Detroit, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358407

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