Roxbury Community College
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Mass- — (laughs). (Applause.) Hey, Roxbury! (Applause.) It is so good to be with you this evening. It is so good to be with you this evening. So, okay, we got work to do. We got work to do. Have a — have a seat. I’m going to talk for a while. (Laughter.)
Let me start by praising and thanking Maura Healey, the next governor of this beautiful commonwealth. (Applause.) As she told you, I — we work together. So I know who you’re about to elect to run this beautiful commonwealth.
And let me just tell you something: She is a fighter. She is somebody who has worked so hard to fight for justice, to fight for equality, to fight for fairness. And I have worked alongside her all those years. (Applause.) And I thank you for what you’re about to do to elect Maura Healey to be the next governor.
I want to say that when it comes to your next attorney general, Andrea Campbell, my goodness, what an extraordinary leader. (Applause.)
Now, again, I know what it’s like to be an attorney general. I worked with Maura when she was attorney general. I happened to be elected as the first Black woman attorney general in the country. (Applause.) Tish James is the second. Ms. Campbell is going to be the third. (Applause.)
And like you — like you saw in Maura Healey, what you will see is a fighter for justice who has stood for justice, stood for equality her entire career and will continue to do that work.
So, I’m so proud to be with all of you, and we are six days from an election, and democracy is on the ballot. (Applause.) Democracy is on the ballot.
You know, I’ll tell you, all voices count. And when we think about what’s at stake, we do want to ensure that everyone understands they have an equal place, in terms of their voice and their leadership.
And so, we are here today, six days out, to fight for the right of every person to be able to exercise their voice in every way and, in particular during this election, through their vote. (Applause.)
Because elections matter. Elections matter.
And when I look at this group of leaders, I know that we’re looking at a lot of folks — I see you; I know you — who show up every election, understanding that elections matter. And you show up to help organize the community; to knock on the door of a neighbor; to talk to a friend; to talk to a perfect stranger who, in their face, you see a neighbor and a friend.
And every election cycle, we go up to them and we ask them to vote. And every time they will ask a very righteous question: “Why should I vote?” Every time. And it’s a righteous question.
But here’s what I have to say, Roxbury: We got a lot of good material. (Applause.) We got a lot of good material.
Because here’s the thing: 2020, when you all sent Joe Biden and me to the White House — (applause) — you went out and vote — you ask people to vote, remember, during the height of a pandemic. Let’s remember, folks, the kind of loss that people experienced — the loss of life; the loss of friends, family members; the loss of jobs; the loss of normalcy; parents trying to figure out how to educate their children online.
And in the midst of all of that, people turned out in record numbers to vote. (Applause.) Young voters turned out in record numbers to vote.
And in so doing, the way I like to think about it, is they put in their order. They said, “There are certain things I want from my country and its leaders. And so, I’m going to stand in these lines for hours. I’m going to take time out of my busy life and all the burdens that life is presenting me with, and I will fill out that ballot, and I will mail it in. But I will put in my order. Because I know elections matter.”
And when they stood in those lines, when they took their time out to vote, here’s what they said. They said, “We want leadership that finally deals with the issue of child poverty in America.” (Applause.)
And because they voted, we were able to extend the Child Tax Credit, which, in the first year, reduced child poverty in America by over 40 percent. (Applause.)
They put in their order. They said, “You know, it’s difficult for parents and people who are parenting children in terms of the expensive of it all.” And so they put in their order and said, “See us. Hear us.”
And because they voted, we passed a tax cut that gives parents up to 8,000 more dollars in their pocket for the cost of food, medication, and school supplies for their children. Because they voted. (Applause.)
They put in their order. They said, “You know what? Y’all got to fix these roads and bridges because driving to work, trying to drop my kids off from school — if I drive over a pothole, car insurance doesn’t pay for that flat tire. And I need to be able to go to work and deal with my life on a daily basis without those kinds of obstacles.” So we passed an infrastructure bill.
Remember, the other guy talked about “Infrastructure Week” forever? We passed an infrastructure law, which is putting billions of dollars — (applause) — into roads and bridges right here in Roxbury. Warren Street is getting $20 million. (Applause.) Logan Airport is going to get $62 million. (Applause.)
And within the next 10 years, we are going to get rid of all the lead pipes and service lines in our country. (Applause.) Because our babies should not have to be drinking toxic water, which is having a direct impact on their health and ability to learn. Because you voted. Because people voted.
People said — and I heard somebody talk about this — “Y’all did a great job, starting in 2008, reforming the healthcare system, but we still have some more work to do because prescription medication is still too expensive.” They said, “You know, Black folks are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Latinos are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. And we know too many seniors who are trying to make a decision about whether they fill the prescription the doctor ordered, which will save their life, or pay for rent or food.” So they put in their order and said, “Deal with that.”
And because they voted, we have now capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month. (Applause.) Because you voted.
Fer- — people voted and said, “It’s about time somebody deals with the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have been running the game for too long where they jack up the price of prescription medication without any real accountability.” And because people voted, we now have allowed Medicare to negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of 60 million Americans. (Applause.) Because you voted.
And you do know, on that piece, not one Republican in the United States Congress voted for it. Not one. Now, you know, insulin doesn’t choose whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. You would think certain of these things would not be the subject of partisan voting.
People stood in those lines. They took time out of their busy lives. They said, “You know what? It’s about time we have a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.” (Applause.) And because they voted, you can call her Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Applause.) Because you voted. Because you voted. (Applause.)
So, elections matter. And we’ve got a lot done, and we still have more to do. And the stakes are high.
We just witnessed the United States Supreme Court take a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America. And, you know, on this subject, I think it’s really important to note: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body. (Applause.)
But because of what this Court did, the proponents — the people who laud the decision — are now proposing and passing laws around our country to literally criminalize healthcare providers — doctors, nurses, healthcare providers — with jail sentence that they’re proposing — punishing people, no exception for some of the most violent, violative crimes one can endure and survive to their body and then saying to those very people who have survived that, “And you cannot make decisions about your own body going forward.” It is immoral. It is immoral. (Applause.)
And we know that in that Dobbs decision, the proponents said, “Well, you know, we’re going to send this to the states.” Right? And the same people who were saying that are some of the same people who in the various states are making it more difficult for people to vote.
But this is also why who is your governor, who is your lieutenant governor, who is your attorney general, who is your secretary of state will matter — (applause) — to hold the line and be an example for other states, if not a safe place for people from other states to receive the healthcare they need.
And, by the way, the stakes being high, let’s not overlook that in that Dobbs decision, Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud — that what’s now at risk is your right to contraception, what’s now at risk is your right to marry the person you love. The stakes are high.
Folks running are talking about — Republican Party leaders are talking about, if they win the Congress, coming for Social Security, coming from Medicare, making a national ban on abortion. The stakes are high.
And so, what you do here over these next six days really matters. It really matters. It matters who you talk to — your neighbors, your friends. Call your cousins who live in other states. Call your play cousins that live in other states. It really matters.
And here’s the thing I’ll share with you all to really emphasize how high the stakes are. So, as your Vice President, I have now — my team has counted — I’ve now met with over 100 world leaders — (applause) — directly or by phone — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. Here’s the thing you know: When we walk in those rooms representing the United States of America, we walk into those rooms — chin up, shoulders back — representing what we consider to be the greatest democracy in the world — (applause) — imperfect though it may be. But that standing gives us the authority to then talk in those rooms about the importance of rule of law, human rights.
We have been held out and have held ourselves out as a role model. Well, I see a whole lot of role models here. And what you know about being a role model is this: People watch what you do to see if it matches up with what you say.
So, one of my great fears is that autocrats and dictators around the world can point to what’s happening to say to their people, “You want to protest about civil rights, human rights, rule of law? You want to hold out the United States as your example? Well, look what they’re doing.”
Understand how everything that is on the line not only impacts the people of our nation, it has the real potential to impact people around the world.
And so, on this issue of democracy, I’ll tell you how I see it. I think that the nature of a democracy is that there’s a duality to it. On the one hand, when it is intact, it is extremely strong in the way that it defends and secures individual rights and liberties and freedom. It’s incredibly strong in what it does for its people.
On the other hand, it is extremely fragile. It will only be as strong as our willingness to fight for it. (Applause.)
And so, fight for it we must. And fight for it we will. (Applause.) And when we fight, we win. Thank you all. (Applause.)