Hillary Rodham Clinton

Investing in Infrastructure during the First 100 Days in Office - May 26, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
May 26, 2016— Buena Park, California
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Hey, it is great to be here with all of you, and I am thrilled to be in Orange County. I've got to tell you—I've got to tell you, it was a treat to be introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis. I am thrilled that she is here with us, and I really did like A Fish Called Wanda, and Freaky Friday.

But I like her enthusiasm, her energy, her heart. And I'm so pleased, too, to be here with my longtime friend, someone who is—I'm going to put this back in here. It's clearly—it's okay. It's okay. That's fine. We don't mind. We don't mind. Because you got everybody all revved up. But I want to also thank my friend, my former colleague, both in the Congress and in President Obama's cabinet, Hilda Solis. Hilda has been a Congresswoman, the Secretary of Labor, and is now LA County Supervisor. And in every job she's had, she has performed magnificently, and helped so many people. And she's a dear, dear friend of mine.

Now, we are here at the home of the UFCW Local 324. I want to thank Greg Conger and Rick Eiden and Greg … for welcoming us here, and all of the UFCW family. And thank Andrea Zinder for appearing on the free program. Thanks also to Art Brown and everybody from Buena Park who has made us so welcome.

And mostly, I want to thank all of you. One of the great things about campaigning across the country is to stand where I'm standing and look out at this audience and audiences like it, and really see America. Seeing what we are as a nation—I have this old-fashioned idea that we are stronger together. Stronger together when we make the economy work for everybody, not just those at the top. Stronger together when we knock down all the barriers that stand in the way of any American getting ahead and staying ahead.

And I love all of you too. So you know what's at stake in this election, because here you are. You understand, we have a big, big choice. As you just heard from Jamie Lee, this is a point in our history where there are not just one, but several hinges here at home and around the world. The decisions we make, who we are as a people, whether we're going to continue moving forward together or we're going to build walls instead of bridges.

We have decisions to make. And I've talked a lot in this campaign about what's at stake, and I'm going to continue talking about it, because I don't want anybody to be surprised.

When people run for office and they tell you what they want to do, you should believe them. One of my great friends, and one of our great American icons, Maya Angelo, said, when somebody shows you who they are, believe them. And that's why I've gone across the country now for more than a year, ending up here in California. Talking about what kind of country I want for all of us, not just some of us. A country where we are creating more good jobs with rising incomes. A country where we are not only growing the economy, but making it fairer by raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing equal pay for women's work. A country where an education system works for everybody, starting with early childhood education so every single child can be better prepared to succeed.

… We have a big decision in this election. And it does have to do with the economy. It is a historic fact, our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House. And we don't have to go back 100 years. Let's just go back 25. When my husband was president, we had 23 million more jobs. Incomes went up for everybody, not just people at the top. That's what we want again. During those 8 years, median family income went up 17 percent. Median African American family income went up 33 percent. We were all rising together. We lifted more people out of poverty. We ended up with a balanced budget and a surplus. We were on the right track, my friends. And what happened? The Republicans got the White House back.

Now, look, they do have—they do have a point of view. I know and respect, they are consistent. Consistently wrong, but they are consistent. They believe that if you just keep cutting taxes on the wealthiest, it will all trickle down. So they did. They took a machete to the tax system and cut taxes on the wealthy. They took their eyes off the financial markets and the mortgage markets. And we know what happened. And California was especially hard hit. 9 million Americans lost their jobs. 5 million homes were lost. And we could have had a Great Depression, not just a Great Recession. Anybody who thinks back to how scary those times were knows that. And I don't think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for digging us out of the ditch the Republicans dropped us into.

So listen carefully. Because when Donald Trump talks about the economy, he is talking about trickle down on steroids. He has put forth an economic plan that is by a billionaire, for billionaires. And it is going to hurt a lot of people. He doesn't seem to actually care about making America great so much as he seems to care about making himself look great. And here's what I want you to know. Because I bet everybody in here knows somebody or knows somebody who knows somebody who lost their home. Right? And I want you to know that Donald Trump actually rooted for the housing crash that caused 5 million families their homes. I'm not making this up. We called him out on it yesterday using his own words. And you know what he said in response? He bragged about what he did. He said, and I'm quoting now, "That's the kind of thinking our country needs."

He said, profiting off of working people losing their homes would be a quote, "Good result." So a good result in Donald Trump's world is he gets his, and you get hurt. So instead of dividing Americans, we need to unite Americans. And one of the ways I'm going to do that is by promoting more infrastructure jobs, because the state of our infrastructure is a national emergency. We have bridges that are right now too dangerous to drive on, although people take a deep breath and drive across them. We have roads that are so riddled and pitted and potholed that people driving them are having to pay hundreds of dollars to repair the damage. We have airports that are stuck in the mid-20th century instead of the 21st century. We have water systems that are unsafe for children to drink the water from.

So we have to rebuild the infrastructure we have, and we have to build a stronger future together because every community in our country, every single one of them, deserves clean water, clean air, clean energy, and think of the millions of people we can put to work, including some of those laborers right down there in the front.

Every kid in our country deserves a good school with a good teacher—no matter what ZIP code that child lives in. So we're going to make investments that will put people to work, will fix the infrastructure, including a lot of our schools that are literally falling down around our students and teachers. I have visited schools, my friends, that are filled with mold, ceiling tiles falling down, water damage everywhere … in America. That's exactly right. That is wrong, and we're going to put people to work fixing our schools as well as everything else.

And I want you to compare this. See, I want to fix our schools, our bridges, our roads, our ports, our airports, our water systems. Donald Trump wants to build a wall. A great big wall, as he says. A huge wall. And he says he's going to make Mexico pay for it.

Now, the best estimates I have seen is that this wall would cost, oh, at least $25 billion. That is enough to build 16 Golden Gate Bridges or 1,500 new elementary schools. It is enough to send more than 300,000 veterans to college—or install enough renewable energy to power 5 million homes. We sure could help a lot of hardworking Americans if we took that money and invested it here and made a real difference in the lives and the jobs and the schools and the opportunities that Americans have.

So we have a real choice in this election. And, of course, you know one of the biggest choices is about immigration. I support comprehensive immigration reform as a path to citizenship. I have said in my first 100 days I will send a plan to Congress. We will still working immediately because I want us to get this issue behind us.

And, you see, I have this I guess old-fashioned idea that if we do comprehensive immigration reform, and we invest in infrastructure, the biggest infrastructure investment since Dwight Eisenhower built the interstate highway system—we are going to have more than enough jobs for everybody. That is what we want in America because I want everybody to have jobs with purpose and dignity. And I want incomes to start going up again, the way they did in the 1990s. I want people to get the raise for their hard work. I want more companies—and I've got a plan to incentivize this—I want more companies to share their profits with their workers, not just their CEOs.

I also believe that we can make investments in advanced manufacturing, and one of the best areas for that is fighting climate change. Climate change is real. It is not a Chinese hoax, like Donald Trump says. It is affecting parts of our country right now. You can look at villages in Alaska that are being battered and some people being forced to move. You can go to Miami and on sunny afternoons you can see daylight flooding because the tide is so high. You can see the results right now.

Now, this can either be something that we wring our hands over and ignore, or something we say, you know, not only is it important we do this, but we can create a lot of jobs. Some country is going to be the 21st century clean energy superpower. I think it is going to be China, Germany, or us. I intend for it to be us. I intend for it to be us.

I have a plan to install a half a billion more solar panels by the end of my first term—and enough clean renewable energy to power every home by the end of my second term. And these are jobs that can't be exported; they've got to be done right here in California and across America.

You see, I am tired of people running for president who just do nothing but criticize America. I am tired of people who are so negative about our country. Do we have problems? Well, of course we have problems. If you've been alive longer than an hour, you've got a problem. I speak from experience.

So what do Americans do? Do we either power down and moan and groan about how bad things are? Or do we make promises we can't keep and get people even more frustrated and angry? Or do we roll up our sleeves and get to work? I have no doubt that we are going to create the jobs of the future, enough jobs that people who do their part and work hard are going to be able to get ahead and stay ahead. I have no doubt that we are going to have an education system that provides the skills and the training that our young people and our not-so-young people need, because the job market is so churning people need to get new skills from time to time. Now, you could say, "Well, I don't want to get any new skills; I want to keep doing the job I did 30 years ago." We are not living in the world of 30 years ago. We have all got to pull together. We are stronger together.

So starting with early childhood education, going into elementary and secondary education, where I want to be a good partner with the teachers of America, not pointing fingers and scapegoating them. Getting more technical education available to high school students, so that they can get the skills that will make them employable in the job market. Making community college free, so that everybody—who wants to continue or come back and acquire skills can do so. I want to make college affordable.

I want to work to help you pay down your debt, so that you are not crippled by it. We can do all of this. We know how to do it.

Because we're here in a union hall, I want to say a special word about the great work unions do with apprenticeship programs. I want more businesses to work with unions to do more apprenticeship training, and I want more businesses to start their own apprenticeship training. I am willing to give them a tax credit in order to train young people to be able to do the jobs that are needed today. We have to do a better job linking up people with where jobs are available. We can do this. We can make this happen.

And then, when it comes to healthcare because, think about it, what are the three things that keep you up at night? Jobs, education costs, training skills, and healthcare. I will continue to improve the Affordable Care Act. I will work to get the costs down, premiums, co-pays, deductibles, prescription drug costs. Before there was something called Obamacare, there was something called Hillarycare. And, you know, I had to work—I had to work really hard to get this done, and we didn't. But then I turned around and created the Children's Health Insurance Program—which insures 8 million kids. So we made progress, but I was thrilled when President Obama passed and signed the Affordable Care Act.

And I meet somebody every week around the country, often as I shake hands after an event like this, who says, "Thank you for defending the Affordable Care Act. I don't know what my family would have done without it. Thank you, because I didn't have insurance. I worked, but I didn't have insurance. I finally got it, I went to the doctor, I found out I was sick, but I'm going to be okay because I got there in time."

So when somebody like Donald Trump or other Republican says, "Hey, we're going to shut down the Affordable Care Act," and don't tell you what they would substitute for it, be wary, because they want to go back to the insurance companies calling the shots, so that people with preexisting conditions, like being human—wouldn't be able to afford their health insurance. So we do have to make improvements in the Affordable Care Act, but we're going to continue our march toward universal healthcare coverage in America.

And there are two areas where we don't pay enough attention, and I'm serious about this: mental health and addiction. We have too many people who are suffering from one or both. We have too many people going to jail or prison because of one or both. We still have a stigma about mental health, don't we? If you have diabetes, you tell people. If you have depression, you worry, what will they think of you if you tell them? The more we are learning about how our bodies work and our genetic makeup, and all of that, we have to treat all health problems, whether they are above or below your neck, the same way. People deserve to get the medical care they need. And when it comes to addiction, we need much more treatment and recovery, and diversion from the criminal justice system to help people who are addicted.

So we've got work to do that will bring us together, not divide us. And that may be as important as anything to getting the work done. You see, I think there are three big tests that anybody asking for your vote should meet. Number one, can you produce positive results for somebody? And as Jamie Lee said, what is your track record doing that? Have you helped other people? Have you made a difference in their lives? Have you lifted up the concerns that people have and tried to work with them, so that they could break down the barriers that stood in their way? That's why I have been specific about what I would do because I want you to hold me accountable. I'm not going to just stand up here and give you platitudes and rhetoric. I'm going to tell you what I want to do because I need you to be part of how we do it together.

And the second big task is, when you vote in the California primary, when you vote in November, you're voting for the commander in chief as well as the President, right? And here is where I'm especially concerned about Donald Trump.

You know, just in the last few weeks, he's attacked our closest ally, Britain; he has praised the dangerous dictator of North Korea—he has advocated pulling out of NATO, our strongest military alliance; he has suggested it's okay with him if more countries get nuclear weapons. He's even gone so far as to say, well, maybe he would use nuclear weapons against ISIS, which is not even a state. He has said we should return to torture, and he wants to ban all Muslims from coming into our country—a country founded on religious freedom. I mean, and that's just the beginning.

Picking fights with everybody? Pointing fingers and scapegoating? That may be good for reality TV, but when you are the President of the United States, you don't say to heads of government—in fact, you don't even say to Senators and Members of Congress—"you're fired." They'd look at you like you were crazy. You've got to work with people. You've got to make everybody feel that they've got a stake in solving the problem.

Let me give you a quick couple of examples. All this loose talk about Muslims, it's not just heard in the United States, it's heard around the world. And I said months ago, what Donald Trump is saying is going to be used to recruit terrorists by ISIS. I knew it was already going on but that wasn't public yet, so they said, "Oh, no, no that can't be."

Well now, just recently, we have absolute evidence—oh, yes it is. They're taking his words out of his mouth, denigrating Muslims, and putting them into propaganda videos. Why are we making the world more dangerous for Americans? For our friends and our allies and partners around the world?

When I was secretary of state, I was in Cambodia in November 2012. And I got a phone call from the Israeli government saying Hamas, the terrorist group that's next door in Gaza, is shooting missiles again into Israel, and we've tried to talk to people to get them to stop but if they don't stop, we're going to have to invade to stop them. I said, "Wait a minute, I'll be right there."

That's the kind of thing you can say when you're secretary of state, right? You get on a plane, and you fly all night, and you end up in Tel Aviv, and then you get in an armored car, and you drive to Jerusalem. And then I began dealing with the Israeli security cabinet.

And they were saying, the Middle East has changed so much because of the so-called Arab Spring; we don't know who to talk to. We keep trying to reach out to have somebody say, you've got to stop this, and the most likely person to be able to do that is the then-President of Egypt, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood; a man by the name of Morsi. I said, "Okay, well let's talk through what we want, what is the best outcome, and I will fly to Cairo and negotiate with President Morsi."

And we did and I did.

And I want you to think about, here's a guy who's the president of Egypt—not just a Muslim, but a member of the Muslim Brotherhood—and I'm trying to negotiate a cease fire to prevent another war. My life would have been miserable, and I'm not sure we would have gotten it done, if we'd had the kind of language, the rhetoric, being used about Muslims coming from somebody running for President of the United States—or heaven forbid, being President of the United States.

So these words have consequences. You know? The reality show doesn't end and the new show come on. People remember. They listen. And the decisions that get to the situation room in the White House are the hardest decisions. If they weren't hard, somebody would have decided them as they came up the ladder. Hilda was in the cabinet, she knows that; she made a lot of tough calls on behalf of labor rules and regulations. And she could make most of them but if they were particularly contentious, she had to go to the White House and they had to have a meeting about it. Well, the same with foreign policy and national security.

So I was one of the small group of people asked to advise the President about whether the intelligence we had was strong enough about where maybe Bin Laden was to take action. And I had a particular personal interest in this because I was a senator from New York on 9/11. And I went—I was at Ground Zero 24 hours after we were attacked. I saw what as the closest I hope I ever come to seeing hell. I just can't even tell you. Even think about it now just upsets me. Standing on the street where there was a black cloud of dust, and toxins, and a horrible wall, and through the wall were breaking fire fighters dragging their axes after having been on the pile 24 hours trying to find somebody alive. Iron workers and other construction trade workers, labor workers, and the like dropped what they were doing and rushed to be helpful—rushing toward danger. So I took the hunt for Bin Laden personally on behalf of the 3,000 people, many of them my constituent's families.

So when we began to evaluate that evidence, it was—there's no flashing light which says, "He's here, he's here, go get him."

You look at it, you evaluate it, you get more information, you ask skeptical people to take a look at it, you talk to the Military about what the options are. And then at the end, the President asked every one of us in that room what we thought he should do. And people who I deeply respect, we disagreed. Some people said, "You know what, the intelligence is not strong enough, we can't take the risk." Others said, "Well, it's strong but probably not strong enough, but I think we could launch a missile and take out the compound."

And then others, including myself, said we would never know if we got Bin Laden, we have to send in a SEAL team.

And at the end of that conversation, this is my point, even the President's advisors—secretary of state, secretary of defense, head of the CIA, head of the Joint Chiefs of the military—the president has to make the decision. And President Obama, who is a thoughtful, deliberative decision maker—you can agree or disagree—but he studies it, he thinks about it, and he tries to make a logical, responsible decision. And he said he was going to retire, and he was going to review it all, and make his decision. Now, he made the decision to send in the SEAL team and we did bring Bin Laden to justice.

It all comes down to who the president is. It all comes down to how thoughtful, careful, experienced the president is. And this will be a big part of the election this year because we live in a dangerous world. We have a lot of people who are out there making it their business to disrupt the world, to disrupt Europe, the Middle East, America, to cause problems like that dictator in North Korea. We need a steady, strong hand in order to make the best decisions.

And the final test is will the President unify us or further divide us? I see a lot of evidence that Donald Trump is a divider, not a uniter. I don't know whether it makes him feel good to insult people; I don't understand the motivation. He's insulted immigrants, he makes a habit of insulting women. Last night he insulted the Republican Governor Martinez of New Mexico, gratuitously. I don't know, he seems to have something about women. I don't know.

I do love—one of my favorite Trump comments in the last couple of weeks is, he does have foreign policy experience dealing with Russia because he staged the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. That was a particular favorite.

Regardless of why he says what he says, insulting John McCain's war heroism, insulting a person with disabilities, obviously denigrating Muslims, whatever reason he does it, it is setting Americans against Americans. It is a recipe for more divisiveness at a time where we must be united, and where I believe Americans want us to get things done that will actually help them and help our country, strengthen our economy, create better opportunities. And remember I said, when somebody tells you what they do believe in? Think of what he has said about our rights.

So here's where I stand. I will defend a woman's right to make their own … decisions. I will defend Planned Parenthood against these …. I will defend marriage equality and end discrimination against the LGBT community. I will defend voters' rights, which are under attack from North Carolina to Texas, and I will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn …. I will protect the right to organize and bargain collectively, and be a member of a union. And I will take on the gun lobby to get common sense gun safety reform….

But I can't do any of this without your help. You know that this primary in California on June 7th is really important because California is always about the future. California is where the future starts in America. So I need you, if you can, vote my mail—some of you already have. Be sure to vote on June 7th, bring your friends, bring your colleagues, your family members. Because I promise you this, if you go and vote for me in this primary, I will stand up and fight for you and fight for the country we love, and fight for the future we deserve. Let's go out and win the future. Thank you.