REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS AT A MOBILZATION EVENT WITH GOVERNOR TERRY MCAULIFFE
Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Department
6:58 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Terry McAuliffe! Good evening, Virginia. (Applause.)
(The audience sings “Happy Birthday.”)
Thank you. Thank you. Okay, you know what I want for my birthday? I want this man to be elected the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Applause.)
I am so happy to see so many Virginians out on this beautiful evening. And I know you are here because you are dedicated, over the next 12 days, to doing everything in your power to ensure that Terry McAuliffe is elected the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia — everything in your power. (Applause.)
And let’s just start with a bit of context.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Let’s start with a bit of context, guys.
So, four years — a whole lot can either be created or destroyed in four years. Four years can be a very long time for a lot of bad things to happen. Right? We just experienced that. Four years is a long time. Twelve days, in the context of four years, is a very short time to do what will have a profound impact.
And, you know, I’m here; the President will be here — and is always with Terry — because we also know this election, yes, is about who will be the next leader of this beautiful, great state, but we also know, as you know, the election for governor of Virginia, yes, it is about the state of Virginia; it is also about our nation.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Stop line three! Stop line three! Stop line three!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The election of who will be governor of Virginia has an impact on who will be where around the state. Let’s — (applause) — I love — I love Democrats, and I love democracy. (Laughs.)
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Terry! Terry! Terry!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So — hey, guys, let’s — let’s focus on why we’re all here right now. (Applause.) We’re here right now — (applause) — we’re here right now to make sure Terry McAuliffe is elected the next governor of the great state and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
And we will not be distracted. (Applause.) We will not be dissuaded. (Applause.) We will not be deterred. (Applause.) This election is too important. (Applause.)
Do you want to know what matters in terms of who is governor? Let’s talk about the right every woman in America has to make decisions about her own body — (applause) — and not have other people tell her when she should make that decision, how she should make that decision, if she should make that decision. Why does that matter?
Well, look at what is happening all over our country. I see the signs about, “Don’t Texas Virginia.” That’s right. “Don’t Texas Virginia.” (Applause.)
We don’t even have to imagine. We have seen — we have empirical evidence right before us now, guys, of a governor in the state of Texas, who is telling women what and who they can be based on some arbitrary decision that includes empowering bounty hunters to intimidate, to instill fear in women.
This is the power of a governor. Let’s be clear about that. This is one of the biggest issues in this race. Whether Virginia elects a governor who respects women, who understands the constitutional right women have to make decisions about their own body, or would take that away from women, these are the things that are at stake.
What’s at stake? Why does who is governor matter? It matters when you’re talking about workers’ rights.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It matters when you talk about whether you believe in collective bargaining. (Applause.) It matters when you care about whether people are paid their value; whether — in the midst of a pandemic, or before it, or after it — people have paid sick leave, paid family leave. It matters.
It matters who is governor, in terms of whether they recognize that we are in the midst of a climate crisis and what we do every day will matter; in terms of whether our babies and their babies will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink. It matters who is governor.
It matters who is governor if we have as the high- — highest-elected official of a state, who says, “We need to reform the criminal justice system in America, and let’s start right here at home.” (Applause.)
It matters who is governor, in particular of this state, to be a voice that says, “We are a nation of immigrants, and it is time that we reformed this system and create a pathway for citizenship and protect our DREAMers and protect our central workers and protect our farmworkers.” It matters. (Applause.)
It matters who is governor.
And let’s be clear about who is this man. He has the life experience, the professional experience, the experience in this state. If you know Terry McAuliffe, you also know he walks his talk. He is a fighter. He fights with heart and soul. He sees the people; he cares about the people.
And when you elect somebody as governor, you want to make sure you really know who they are.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s right!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we know who Terry is. That’s not a question in this race. We know who Terry is.
AUDIENCE: Terry! Terry! Terry!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
And the thing about Terry that I — personally, I just love — because Terry has seen a lot; he’s been in some good fights. You know, we lost John Lewis. We lost John Lewis. But John Lewis, we’re talking about good trouble.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Terry McAuliffe knows about good trouble. And he knows that when it’s good trouble, it’s worth a good fight. That’s the kind of leader Terry is.
But Terry is also a leader who has a vision. He sees what can be. And the beauty of his experience and his character is he sees what can be unburdened by what has been. That’s the kind of leader we want in Virginia. That’s the kind of leader we want in Virginia.
But listen, this race is tight. All right? This race is tight. And what happens here, I promise you, is about the people of the state and the people of our country. And we’ve got to make it clear, Virginia, that we’re paying attention. We got to make it clear that we’re not taking anything for granted.
You know, four years ago, there was a lot of folks who said, “Oh, if I go vote, everything will be all right.” It wasn’t all right. This election requires more than you vote.
It requires you vote to be sure. But it requires we work, because there is nothing about this election we can take for granted. There is nothing about this moment in time that is not about the coexistence between crisis and opportunity.
And how that all balances out will depend on who’s in a role of leadership. Does it weigh in favor of crisis, or does crisis turn into opportunity?
When we are in the midst of a pandemic, do we see the opportunity and the opening to say, “Yes, we really need to have a better healthcare system that makes sure and ensures that healthcare is a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it”? (Applause.)
In the midst of a crisis, when people could not go to work and pay their rent because they have young children and could not afford childcare, or it was nowhere within reach, is it not an opportunity to say, “Let’s have people in the highest offices in our land who fight for affordable and accessible childcare for every parent”?
In the midst of a crisis, where we have seen how people — 2 million women — had to leave the workforce because they had the responsibility of, yes, going to work and bringing home a paycheck, but also taking care of children and elderly relatives; but in the midst of a crisis that became apparent to all, the opportunity to say, “Let’s have accessible and affordable homecare in the midst of a crisis.”
That said, public transportation — we need a better system that makes people safe and it makes it accessible, and an opportunity, then, to focus on those things and put resources into it.
There are so many things about this very moment that, in the midst of all the suffering and loss that so many have experienced, present great opportunities if we have the right people in place.
And so, let’s see this moment. Let’s see this moment for all it is presenting to each one of us.
And let’s do everything we can to ensure that Hala Ayala is elected Lieutenant Governor — (applause) — that we reelect Mark Herring, my buddy, as Attorney General — (applause) — and that we elect Terry McAuliffe — (applause) — with Dorothy at his side —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s right!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — as the next governor of the great, great Commonwealth of Virginia.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 7:09 P.M. EDT