Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Kickoff in Brooklyn – #Transcripts2020

As part of our #Transcripts2020 project, we are pleased to release the transcript of Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Kickoff in Brooklyn announcement speech. An editable version is available here. All transcripts of this series are available here.


00:00 Bernie Sanders: Brooklyn, thank you.

[applause]

00:08 BS: What an incredible crowd, thank you so much. Let me… Let me thank Akila for her wonderful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Let me thank Scott Chason who is standing up not just for the workers in Erie, Pennsylvania, against corporate greed, but for every worker in America. Scott, thank you very much.

[applause]

00:45 BS: And let me thank representative Terry Alexander of South Carolina. And Terry is right, this is going to be a 50-state campaign. We’re not gonna concede one state to Donald Trump.

[applause]

01:11 BS: And let me thank my very good friend, Nina Turner. Nina has been with me all across this country. Nina has helped develop one of the great grassroots organizations in this country, Our Revolution. And Nina is mobilizing people from one end of this country to the other… [01:44] ____ Nina, thank you very much. And let me thank Shaun King. All over this country, and I’m gonna say a few words about it today and more tomorrow, people understand we have a broken criminal justice system. And there are few people in American more than Shaun who are fighting to change that system. Shaun, thank you.

[applause]

02:27 BS: And, lastly, let me thank my wife and my family. Thank you, Jane, and Levi, and David, and Heather, and Karina, and all my beautiful seven grandchildren for the support you’ve given me. Thank you all for coming out today.

[applause]

03:00 BS: So, you let me thank the weatherman for giving us Vermont weather, thank you. And thank you all for being part of a political revolution which is going to transform America.

[applause]

03:23 S?: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

03:29 BS: No! No! No! It is not Bernie, it is you! It’s us together! And I want to thank all of you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to win the democratic nomination, which is not only going to defeat Donald Trump, who is the most dangerous president in modern American history, but with your help we are going to transform this country and finally create an economy and a government which works for all of us, not just the 1%.

[applause]

04:34 BS: Today, at our very first rally, I want to welcome you to a campaign, which says loudly and clearly that the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred, and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry. It will not be tax breaks for billionaires and efforts to throw millions off the healthcare that they currently have. This campaign is going to end all of that. The principles of our government will be based on justice: On economic justice, on social justice, on racial justice, on environmental justice. Today, I welcome you to a campaign which tells the powerful special interests who control so much of our economic and political life, that we will no longer tolerate the greed of corporate America and the billionaire class. Greed which has resulted in this country having more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth.

[applause]

06:49 S?: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

06:49 S?: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

06:53 BS: No, we will no longer stand idly by and allow three families in this country to own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people. And while these families become richer, over 20% of our children live in poverty, veterans sleep out on the streets, and senior citizens cannot afford their prescription drugs. We are here to tell the 1% that we will no longer tolerate 46% of all new income going to the very richest people in this country, while millions of Americans are working two or three jobs just to survive and pay the bills.

[applause]

08:02 BS: Today we launch our fight for a political revolution and we say to the private health insurance companies, whether you like it or not, the United States is going to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. And you can spend all the money you want against us, we will have a Medicare for all, single-payer system. And today we say to the pharmaceutical industry, that you will no longer charge the American people the highest prices in the world by far for the medicine they desperately need. Whether you like it or not, your greed is gonna end and we are gonna low the cost of prescription drugs in this country. Today we say to Walmart, to the fast food industry and to other low wage employers, stop paying your workers starvation wages. Yes, we are going to raise the minimum wage in this country to at least 15 bucks an hour and we are gonna make it easier for workers to join unions.

10:05 BS: Today we say to the American people that we will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, our roads, and our bridges, and our rail system, our water systems, our waste water plants, and our airports. And when we do that, we’re gonna create up to 13 million decent paying jobs. And today we say to the parents in our country that you and your children deserve quality affordable child care. And today, here at Brooklyn college, we say the young people all over this country, we want you to get the best education you can regardless of your income. Good jobs require a good education, and that is why we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free. And why we are going to substantially lower the outrageous level of student debt in this country.

11:48 BS: America once had… Once had the best educated workforce in the world, and we are going to make that happen again. And today we say to our senior citizens in Vermont, in Brooklyn, in California, we know you cannot survive with dignity on 14,000 dollars a year social security. My republican colleagues in the senate wanna cut social security benefits. Well, we’ve got some bad news for them, we’re going to raise social security benefits.

12:43 BS: Today we say to Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry, that climate change is not a hoax. But it is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and we intend to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. And when we do that, we’re gonna create millions of good paying jobs. All of us, and every person in this country, has a moral responsibility to make certain that the planet we leave our kids and our grandchildren is a planet that is healthy and habitable.

[applause]

14:01 BS: And today we say to the prison industrial complex that we are going to achieve real criminal justice reform in this country. We are going to end the international embarrassment of the United States having more people in jail than any other country on Earth. Instead of spending 80 billion a year in jails and incarceration, we are going to invest in jobs and education for our young people. No more private prisons, no more profiteering from locking people up, no more war on drugs that has destroyed so many lives.

15:13 BS: No more keeping people in jail because they are too poor to afford cash bail. And by the way, when we talk about criminal justice reform we’re gonna change a system in which tens of thousands of Americans every year get criminal records for possessing marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for destroying our economy in 2008. No, they didn’t go to jail, they got a trillion dollar bail out. Today we say to the American people that instead of demonizing the undocumented immigrants in this country, we’re gonna pass comprehensive immigration reform and provide a path toward citizenship.

16:42 BS: We’re gonna provide legal status to the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. The United States will no longer snatch babies from the arms of their mothers. Today we say to the 1% and the large, profitable corporations in America, listen up because this applies to you. We say to the 1% in large corporations that under a Bernie Sanders administration, you’re not gonna be getting more tax breaks. Quite the contrary, we’re gonna end your tax breaks and your loop holes, you are gonna start paying your fair share of taxes.

17:56 S?: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

[applause]

18:02 BS: We will no longer… We will no longer accept the absurd situation where large multi-billion dollar corporations like Amazon, Netflix, and General Motors pay nothing in federal income taxes. And we’re not gonna allow these corporations and the billionaires to stash their money in the Cayman Islands and in other tax havens. Yes, the wealthy and multinational corporations will start paying their fair share of taxes. We’re going to end austerity for working families and bring a little austerity for the wealthy and the powerful.

18:58 BS: Today we say to the military industrial complex that we will not continue to spend 700 billion dollars a year on the military, more than the top 10 nations combined. We’re gonna invest in affordable housing, we’re gonna invest in public education, and we’re going to invest in our crumbling infrastructure. No more major major investments in never ending wars.

[applause]

19:49 BS: Brothers and sisters, we are going to win this election not because we have a super PAC funded by billionaires. We’re gonna win this election because we are putting together the strongest grassroots campaign in the history of American politics.

[applause]

20:25 BS: Donald Trump wants to divide us up based on the color of our skin, based on where we were born, based on our gender, based on our religion or our sexual orientation. What we are about is doing exactly the opposite, we’re gonna bring our people together.

[applause]

21:06 BS: Black and white, Latino, Asian-American, Native-American, gay and straight, young and old, men and women, native-born and immigrant, we are together and together we will transform this country.

[applause]

21:35 BS: If I might take a moment, as I return here to the area that I was born, let me say a few personal words. As we launch this campaign for president, you deserve to know where I came from because family history, obviously, heavily influences the values that we develop as adults. I was born, literally, a few miles away from here on East 26th Street in King’s Highway. And my family and I lived in a three and a half room, rent-controlled apartment. My father was a paint salesman who worked hard his entire life but never made much money. And my mother raised my brother and me. I learned a great deal about immigration as a child because my father came from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket, without knowing one word of English. He came to the United States to escape the crushing poverty that existed in his community and to escape widespread anti-semitism.

23:10 BS: And it was a good thing that he came to this country because virtually his entire family was wiped up by Hitler and Nazi barbarism. I am not going to tell you that I grew up in a home of desperate poverty, that would not be true. But what I will tell you is that coming from a lower middle-class family, I will never forget about how money or really, lack of money was always a point of stress in our family. My mother’s dream was that some day our family would move out of that rent-controlled apartment to a home of our own. That dream was never fulfilled. She died young, while we still lived in that rent-controlled apartment. My experience as a child living in a family that struggled economically powerfully influenced my life and my values. I know where I came from. And that is something I will never forget. Unlike Donald Trump, who shut down the government and left 800,000 federal employees without income to pay their bills, I know what it’s like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck.

24:58 BS: Now it is true, I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos, and country clubs. I did not come from a family that gave me a $200,000 allowance every year, beginning at the age of three. As I recall, my allowance was 25 cents a week. But I had something more valuable. I had the role model of a father who had unbelievable courage in journeying across an ocean, with no money in his pocket, to start a new and better life. I did not come from a family of privilege that prepared me to entertain people on television by telling workers, “You’re fired.” I came from a family who knew all too well the frightening power employers can have over every day workers.

26:24 BS: I did not come from a family that could afford to send my brother and me to an elite boarding school. In fact, I was educated proudly in high quality public schools here in Brooklyn. And began my higher education right here on this campus.

[applause]

26:54 BS: I should also mention that my brother Larry graduated from Brooklyn College. I did not come from a family that taught me to build a corporate empire through housing discrimination, I protested housing discrimination, was arrested for protesting school segregation. And one of the proudest days of my life was attending the March on Washington for jobs and freedom led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[applause]

27:45 BS: Brothers and sisters, over the last two years and before that, you and I and millions of Americans have stood up and fought for justice in every part of our society, and we’ve had some successes. Together as billionaires and large corporations have attacked unions, destroyed pensions, deregulated the banks, and slashed wages, we have succeeded in raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour in states and cities all across this country. And together, we forced Amazon and the Disney Corporation to do the same.

[applause]

28:35 BS: And together, we have stood with teachers all across this country who went out on strike to fight for better schools for their kids. Together, as the forces of militarism have kept us engaged in never ending wars, we have stored together and fought back. For the first time in 45 years, we have utilized the War Powers Act to move us forward to end the horrific Saudi-led war in Yemen.

[applause]

29:21 BS: Together, as so many of our young people have received criminal records for non-violent offenses, we have fought to end the war on drugs and have seen state after state decriminalize the possession of marijuana. And are beginning to see states and communities expunge the records of those who are arrested for marijuana.

[applause]

29:54 BS: We have won some victories but, clearly, we have a long, long way to go. And I am here to tell you that because all of the work we have done together, we are on the brink of not just winning an election but transforming our country.

[applause]

30:24 BS: And let me tell you a little of what that means. When we are in the White House, we will enact a federal jobs guarantee to ensure that everyone in this country is guaranteed a job. There is more than enough work to be done in this country, let’s get it done.

[applause]

30:58 BS: When we are in the White House, we will attack the problem of urban gentrification and build the affordable housing this country desperately needs. When we are in the White House, we will end the decline of rural America. We will re-open rural hospitals that I’ve been closed. And we will make sure that the young people in rural communities have decent jobs so that they can remain in the communities that they love.

[applause]

31:47 BS: When we are in the White House, we’re gonna end the epidemic of gun violence in this country. And we are gonna pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans wanna see.

[applause]

32:10 BS: When we are in the White House, we’re going to address not only the national disparities of wealth and income, but the racial disparities of wealth and income. We are going together to root out institutional racism wherever it exists. Not only will we end the cowardly outrage of voter suppression, we’re gonna make it easier for people to vote, not harder.

[applause]

32:52 BS: When we are in the White House, we are going to protect a woman’s right to control her own body.

[applause]

33:04 BS: That decision is a woman’s decision, not the federal government, not the state government, not the local government. Please make no mistake about it. The struggle that we are undertaking is not just about defeating Donald Trump. This struggle is about taking on the incredibly powerful institutions that control the economic and political life of our nation. And I am… And let me be very specific, I’m talking about Wall Street, I’m talking about the insurance companies, the drug companies, the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, and a corrupt campaign finance system that enables billionaires to buy elections.

[applause]

34:23 BS: Brothers and sisters, we have…

34:29 S?: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

[applause]

34:41 BS: Brothers and sisters, we have an enormous amount of work in front of us and the path forward will not be easy. The wealthy and powerful elite who decade after decade have gotten everything they want will do all that they can to defend their financial interests, and they have an unlimited amount of money at their disposal. But we have something that they do not have, we have the people together.

[applause]

35:37 BS: So this is what I believe. This is what I believe from the bottom of my heart, if we do not allow Trump and his friends to divide us up, if we stand together, black and white, and Latino, Asian-American, Native-American. If we stand together, urban and rural, north, south, east and west. If we stand together not as red state and blue state, but as working people fighting for dignity. If we stand together believing in justice and human dignity, if we stand together believing in love and compassion, if we stay together, brothers and sisters, the future of this country is extraordinary and there is nothing we will not be able to accomplish. Thank you all very much.

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