Elizabeth Warren

Remarks at California State Democratic Convention - May 16, 2015

Elizabeth Warren
May 16, 2015— Anaheim, California
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Thank you. Thank you! Thank you John, thank you Shona, thank you everyone who organized this, and thank you all for being here today.

I just want to say I know that Barney Frank is going to be our keynote speaker tonight, and so on behalf of my good friend Barney and myself, we want to thank California for offering to host the Massachusetts democratic state party convention in Anaheim this year. Really nice of you guys.

I told that went senator Ted Kennedy used to come to speak to the California Democrats that he would actually bring a mariachi band up on stage with him and sing to all of you. So I have to start this today by apologizing, my staff will not let me sing in public. We are all better off because of that.

We are all glad to be in California this morning and it's not just because both of my kids, and all three of my beautiful grandchildren, live out here in California. It’s family. Now, I'm glad to be here because when I am looking for good strong partners to fight alongside me for working families, I know I can count on California democrats.

Can I count on you? Yeah, good.

Now four years ago, just four years ago, some people thought that I ought to be running for the United States Senate. But I got to tell you that I had no plans to run for office. I mean really. When my job setting up the New Consumer Agency was over, people ask me what I was going to do next. I told them I'm going to Lego Land.

And it’s true, I herded up the children and grandchildren, and nieces and nephews, and did exactly that. But I want to say in running for the Senate, your senators were terrific to me. From the very beginning, and every step along the way, they've been there with encouragement, with good advice, with friendship. I am very grateful to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

I also owe a big debt to a California congresswoman. She is the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and that has put her on the front lines in the battle with Republicans as they try to help out their big time Wall Street friends. We are all lucky to have such a tough fighter on our side. Thank you, Maxine Waters.

Then there is our leader, or as I like to think of her, the once and future speaker. Nancy Pelosi's the best. Think about what it's like just stand up to the house republican’s day in and day out. To fight back as they vote over and over and over again to repeal health care, all over and over to roll back women's rights, over and over to undercut financial regulation. Nancy is caught in the worst sequel ever to Groundhog Day. But she fights for us on student loans, on protecting financial reforms, on defending America's workers. We’re counting on you Nancy, thank you.

There’s one more person I would like to get a shout out to, your Attorney General, Kamala Harris. I've got a long term personal relationship with Kamala. When the housing bubble burst, and Californians were hit particularly hard, I was working to set up the new consumer agency to protect people who had been tricked trapped by those lousy mortgages. I worked with Kamala up close and personal, we were in the trenches together, and the big banks were fighting us tooth and nail. That woman was fearless. When I ran for the senate, she showed up in Massachusetts, and help me build victory. Kamala is a real friend, and I am deeply grateful for her.

This country needs strong leaders like Diane, Barbara, and Maxine, and Nancy and Kamala. I'll tell you why, and I'm not going to sugarcoat this, the game is rigged. Washington works great if you're a millionaire or a billionaire or a giant corporation. Washington works great if you can afford to hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers, but Washington is not working for California families, and it's not working for America’s families. We're here to change that. That’s right.

It wasn't always this way. For much of the 20th century we built an America where year after year, workers saw higher incomes. The bought houses and cars, and they got their own little piece up the American dream. We built opportunity, education for our kids roads and bridges and power, so businesses could grow and get their goods to market and build good jobs here in America. Research so that we would have a giant pipeline of ideas that would permit our children and our grandchildren to build a world we could only dream about.

Now we weren’t perfect. Women, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Gays, Lesbians, Transgendered people, we were unwelcome in many places. This country was headed in the right direction. We were growing an economy and we were bending it toward more opportunity for everyone. In those years, from 1935 to 1980, the ninety percent of America, everybody not in the top 10 percent, the ninety percent of America, got seventy percent of all the income growth in this country. Think about that. We were a country, where families in the middle, families below the middle, even poor families had a fighting chance to build something. We were remarkable.

Then it changed. The change started right here. The epicenter of the political earthquake that shook America’s middle class to its core. It started right here California, right here with your former governor Ronald Reagan. For more than 30 years, starting with Ronald Reagan, the republican leadership latched onto an idea called trickle-down economics. Then they got to work. They attacked wages they, attacked pensions, they attacked healthcare, they attacked unions, they attacked education, they attacked science, they attacked financial regulation, they attacked all the pieces that it built America's great middle-class coming out of the Great Depression.

Why go after hard working people. Why go after seniors and students. Why? To give income breaks and more special deals to those at the top. Trickle-down economics was nothing more than political cover for helping the rich and powerful, get richer and more powerful. Trickle-down economics cut the legs out from underneath America’s working-class.

Those policies didn't end, just in the 1980s. I want you to just look at the republicans who are running for president in 2016. Sometimes I listen to them and I think, whoa, you didn’t go to Lego-land, you went to fantasyland. I mean really, some of these guys took one spin too many on the teacups ride, just across the street.

Last week, just last week, Jeb Bush said that the way we'll fix devastating problems in Baltimore is, wait for it, to blame the teachers. Now that’s an exercise in republican leadership, ignore problem that needs fixing, and then point fingers at the people who were actually trying to make it better.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently announced a 300 million dollar cut to the University of Wisconsin System. That is thirteen-percent of their public university system's budget. And said, I want a quote on this, “this plan protects the taxpayers, and allows for us stronger University of Wisconsin System in the future.” There's another exercise and Republican leadership, cut taxes for billionaires and giant corporations, and then say there's no more money for anyone else.

Don't believe me, check out Rand Paul. Senator Rand Paul has justified voting against the minimum wage by saying, and I want to quote here, “It’s a fact, an economic fact, that when you raise the minimum wage, the people that are hurt the worst are minorities and kids.” You heard me correctly, hurt. And there's another exercise in republican leadership. Crush people's opportunity, and then tell them how lucky they are to work full time and still live in poverty. Tell them low wages are good for their children, that’s ugly.

The republicans keep pushing the same ideas, over and over, pretty much no matter what problem they're trying to solve. Addressing challenges in our cities, building our higher education system, no matter what problem they're trying to solve. The answer is always the same: lower taxes for the rich and turn loose the biggest corporations to do whatever they want.

What's been the result? Remember how, we talked about just a minute ago, from 1935 to 1980, the ninety percent got seventy percent of all income growth. Well from 1980 to 2012, the era of a republican economic ideas, how much did the ninety percent get? Answer, ninety percent got nothing. None, zero. All of the income growth went to the top 10 percent. This country isn’t working for working people, it's working only for those at the top. That's not the American dream, that's the American Nightmare. Now we can whine about it, we can whimper about it, or we can fight back. Me, I'm fighting back.

That's right. Here's the best part: it's not just us, America is ready to fight back. That's right. When we stand together, when we make it clear what we believe, America is ready to stand with us. Why, because this isn't just about politics, this is about values. This is about our vision of who we are, what kind of country we're going to build. So let's remind ourselves, what we get up for every day. What we believe in all the way down to our toes. We believe that the law applies to everyone, and that includes fancy executives, and Wall Street banks.

Accountability, we’re willing to fight for it. We believe in science, that climate change is real and it is our moral duty to protect this planet, so our children and grandchildren can survive. And we’re ready to fight for it.

We believe that no one should work full time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage. And we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that workers have a right to come together, to bargain together, to fight as unions, and to rebuild America's middle class. And we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that every kid should have a chance to get a good education, without getting crushed by student loan debt. And we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that after a lifetime of hard work, seniors should retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, and we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that immigration has made this country strong, and that means comprehensive immigration reform. Not later, now. And we’re willing to fight for it.

I can't believe I have to say this one in 2014, but we believe equal pay for equal work and a woman's right to decisions over her own body, and we’re willing to fight for it.

We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, and we're willing to fight for it.

We believe America should not sign trade deals that benefit huge corporations, and leave workers in the dirt. Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to dominate secret trade negotiations. Before Congress votes on any trade deal, we want to see that trade deal out in public, and we’re willing to fight for it.

Now, I could go on like this all day. But let me do just one more, we believe that corporations are not people. We will overturn Citizens United, and we will make this great nation, once again work for people, that’s it.

I've only been on the senate for a few years, but I'm not naïve. I call me a lot of things, but that's not one of them. I know Washington is a tough place, but I also know this, we don’t win what we don't fight for. So that's why I'm here with you. We need democrats, we need people who share our values, people who believe that we can build a future not just for some of our children but a future for all of our children.

This next election is up to you, it’s up to the people in this room. You are the heart, and the soul, and the living spark of the Democratic Party. You are the ones who will make change happen. So this ones from me, from my heart to yours, I truly believe if we fight for our values, we will win. And I have only one question to ask you. Are you ready to fight?

Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjyBq1KhNg0.