Hillary Rodham Clinton

Strengthening the Economy and Protecting Public Lands in Commerce City, Colorado - Aug. 3, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
August 03, 2016— Commerce City, Colorado
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It's great to be here with your governor. I am such a fan of Governor Hickenlooper for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is because he does understand how we could create more jobs, and what's happened here in Colorado under his leadership proves that. And he has used his own experience as a small businessman who grew a business and was successful not to turn his back on what it took but to try to help more people get the tools they need to start those businesses, to grow those businesses. And what a stark contrast with Donald Trump who has spent his career stiffing small businesses, refusing to pay his bills to small businesses.

And I got to tell you, I take that really personally. My father was a small businessman, I mean really small—nothing as successful as the governor's enterprises—he printed fabrics to turn them into draperies and it was hard work. And I cannot imagine what it would have been like for my dad who stood at that long table and took a silk screen and put it down and then put paint into it, then took a squeegee and went across and then lifted it up and went down and went down over and over again and finally got the fabric printed, and then folded it up, and then loaded it into his car to take it to where it had been ordered from whether it was a restaurant, a hotel, any other business, an office building. I cannot image what that would have felt like for my father, a Navy veteran, a chief petty officer during World War II—to have done his part, to have fulfilled his contract and then be told we're not going to pay you.

Now, when I first started hearing those stories about small businesses, I thought, well, maybe it happened once or twice. But no, my friends, it happened over and over again. Donald Trump would not pay people who did work, painters and plumbers and glass installers and marble installers and architects. We now have a very long list. What kind of man does business by hurting other people? I am just so, so determined that we are not going to let him do to America what he has done to so many other people.

I want to also recognize your congressman, Congressman Ed Perlmutter. Thank you, Ed, for being here. I want to thank your principal of this great high school, Principal Thompson. Thank you. And I want to thank a great man from Colorado, someone I had the distinct honor of serving with in the United States Senate and then serving with in the Obama Administration, and that is Ken Salazar. I'll tell you, you will not find a better person, someone who is always thinking about what he can do to help somebody else, and I for one am grateful for his friendship.

Now, when I think about our convention last week—did any of you see it? Well, what we tried to do was to make clear that we're not satisfied with where we are in the country, but we think we know how to make progress together. We think we can put into effect a jobs program that will create millions of new jobs with rising incomes, and here's what we're going to do. We're going to have the biggest infrastructure investment program since World War II. And if you look, our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our water systems, they're all in need. They all should be repaired. We have people who are driving long distances and spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year because of problems with the potholes or with the lack of maintenance. We have people scared about the bridges in their counties. They don't have much choice, but they shouldn't have to worry about whether they can get across or not. So we're going to make investments that will make America grow our economy, put people to work, and position us better to actually be competitive around the world. But there's a lot of infrastructure that you can't necessarily see that we want to work on. We need a modern electric grid that can take clean, renewable energy—and distribute it everywhere across America.

And here's the other thing we need. We need to connect every community, no matter how isolated, how rural, how inner-city poor, no matter where it is, every community needs to be connected to broadband internet access.

This is a competitive issue. How are we going to help small businesses that don't have access? When I was in Pennsylvania a few days ago and I said that, I had a man tell me afterwards, he said, "Well, you have no idea how bad it is in rural parts of Pennsylvania. We still have dial up, and a lot of time that doesn't even work." And then I told folks that I'd been talking to some teachers—you know I love teachers—and I'm going to support our teachers. But here is what the teachers told me. They said there had recently been a national survey asking teachers about different things they do in the classroom and the like, and 70 percent of teachers said that they assign homework to their students that requires the students to go on the internet. Now, I think that's great because we want our kids to be ready for the jobs of the future and that means they've got to understand how to learn and find information. But here's the rub: 5 million kids in America don't have access to internet in their homes. So you know what? We are leaving those kids behind while they're still in elementary and secondary schools. That is wrong. We're going to make sure America, which invented the internet, is the most connected country in the world.

And here's what else we're going to do: I'm going to support advanced manufacturing, manufacturing of all kinds. Because I believe that we've got a real opportunity to bring manufacturing back. I visited a place called Johnstown Wire Technologies in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. They started more than 100 years ago as a steel mill. Now they're making all kinds of wire products, and they're starting to bring jobs back from China—to do that work in America.

Now, when Donald Trump is asked about where he makes things, he makes them anywhere else but America. His ties, his suits, his shirts, his furniture, his barware—made all over the world. Bangladesh, Turkey, Slovenia, Mexico. And when asked about that, he said, well, we don't make that stuff in America. Well, I'm here to tell you: Donald, you're wrong.

And here's how I know. I know he's wrong because I've been collecting information and visiting places that actually do make these things in America. Just today I went to the Knotty Tie Company. And I met folks living right here in Denver who are making ties and scarves. I hope you like this one because I got it at Knotty just a few hours ago. I just got interviewed by one of the local newscasters, and first thing he said to me—he didn't even know this was from Knotty—he said, "That's a beautiful scarf." He said, "That looks like it's got Colorado colors." And in fact, one thing I really like about it, is printed right here on the scarf, it says "Made in Colorado," not China.

So I got so into this that we now have a website—went public today—called hillaryclinton.com/makeithere. And you can go on the website and you can see about 100 places around America where Donald could have made ties, shirts, suits, furniture, barware, right here in America. And I hope that more people will start making things here in America again.

So we are going to work to grow the economy, and I look often at Denver and Colorado as examples. And it's another one of the reasons why I admire your governor—the transit system in Denver—combined with the new airport connecting not only Denver to the airport, but other places in the region, is growing this economy. And very importantly, it's attracting a lot of young people who want to be able to quickly move from work to home to entertainment and everything else.

So we see this happening in lots of places. And so when people say to me, "Hey, we can't do that in America," I say, "I don't know which America you've been looking at." In fact, I couldn't figure out what country the Republican convention was talking about. A negative, pessimistic view of America—that is not who we are. Do we have challenges? Sure. But can we meet them? Absolutely. We are truly stronger together, and that's what we're going to be doing. Now in addition to growing the economy, we've got to make it fairer. And I feel very strongly about this. We've got to make this economy work for everybody, not just those at the top.

So we are going to make these investments. We are going to invest more in education, starting with preschool education. We are going to train 50,000 teachers so that they can teach computer science in junior high and high school. We are going to make college debt free so that everybody can afford to go. And we're going to make community college free so you can get the skills you need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

And I want to say something really serious about this. John and I have talked about this a lot. Look, I think it's great; everybody who wants to go to college should be able to afford to go to college. Anybody with student debt—we're going to help you refinance the debt, because in America, if Donald Trump can plead bankruptcy six times and refinance his debts, American students and families ought to be able to refinance their debts.

But my friends, I do not believe that a four-year college education is the only path that we should have to a good job with a rising standard of living. That's why I want more technical education back in our high schools. That's why I want more apprenticeship programs in business and unions. I get very excited about this, because there are more than a million jobs right now waiting to be filled, by machinists and tool and die makers, by people with real skills—coders who can get a good job. When I was at Johnstown Wire Technology, it's a unionized plant. U.S. Steelworkers represent that plant's workers. And they get some people already trained, and then the union and management train others. And the average salary is over $70,000 a year. We are also going to raise the national minimum wage because no one who works full-time should still be living in poverty. And I'll tell you the fastest way we can raise incomes in America is to guarantee equal pay for women's work. And I am very—I'm encouraged. When I started talking about this more than a year ago, I could see kind of quizzical looks out in the audience. And then I realized I've got to explain this is not just a woman's issue. If you have a working mother, wife, daughter, or sister, it's your issue.

You see, I get pretty excited about what we're going to do. I believe with all my heart that America's best years are still ahead of us. Now, that doesn't mean that I think it's going to be easy. But I know we're up to the job. I just know we are. I have no doubt about that. And we're also up to the responsibility of leading the world toward peace and prosperity as well. There is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump is unqualified to be president and unfit to be commander-in-chief. Anyone who spends his time insulting our military, demeaning the service of our POWs and our fallen soldiers, insulting Gold Star families, this is not someone who understands the honor, the duty of serving America. I am so grateful to every single person who has ever put on the uniform of the United States military. And it worries me, some of what I hear him say. I mean, anyone who can be provoked by a tweet should not be anywhere near nuclear weapons.

And I want to—I want to say a special word about something that's important here in Colorado. It's important in the West. And that is we have a responsibility to protect our public lands in America. The outdoor economy, the recreational economy is so important to so many places here in Colorado and elsewhere throughout the West. And I couldn't believe that Trump has basically gone along with what they put into the Republican platform that would disrupt and take back public lands that are really held in trust for all of us. So I want you to know as president, I will defend and protect America's public lands and our conservation.

So we're really having a good time in this campaign. And we want everybody to join. I said in my speech on Thursday night I want to be the president for all Americans: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. I want to work for the struggling, the striving, and the successful. I want more people to be lifted up to follow their own dreams. So here's what I hope you will do. I hope you will join our campaign. And here in Colorado, if you text C-O to 47246, you can get involved or go to our website at hillaryclinton.com. And we are hiring organizers here in Colorado.

We are also setting a goal of registering three million more American citizens to vote in November. So make sure you're registered. Look for your mail ballot in October. And talk to your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues.

I believe that we are at a crossroads election. I've laid out the best I could, the specific plans and ideas that I want to pursue as your president because I have this old-fashioned idea. When you run for president, you ought to tell people what you want to do as their president. And I have also told you because I want you to hold me accountable. I will get up every single day and work hard for you and fight for you. And I will fight to preserve our rights, whether they are civil rights or human rights or women's rights or gay rights or voters' rights or workers' rights. And I will take on the gun lobby for common sense gun safety reform.

One of the—one of the things I said Thursday night, which I will repeat here because I want you to know this, I do not want to repeal the Second Amendment. I do not want to take anyone's gun away. I just don't want you to get shot by somebody who shouldn't have a gun in the first place.

So we've got great work to do, and I'm excited about doing it with you because I do want you to know what I want to do as your president, to weigh that. It's like a big job interview. You're hearing from two people that you might hire. And I, frankly, think it's better for us to have an economy where you hear "You're hired," instead of "You're fired."

So, Colorado, let's get to work. Let's win in November. And let's make sure we build an American future that we all could be part of. Thank you, and God bless you.