Remarks by Vice President Harris at a “Get Out The Vote” Event with Governor Pritzker
XS Tennis & Education Foundation
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, Pastor Harris, Cousin Harris — (laughs) — and the Bright Star Congregation Ensemble, thank you for bringing some church in here today! (Applause.) Thank you, thank you.
Hello, Chicago. It’s so good to be back. (Applause.) It is so good to be back.
Governor, I want to thank you. It is so good to be back with you. And, Madam Lieutenant Governor, I want to thank you for all the work that you have been doing leading this beautiful state and on to victory in 2020 — ’22! ’22! (Applause.)
All right, we got some business to do. We got some business to do.
We are two days out from an election. Two days out. And we got some serious business to do. The lieutenant governor talked about it; the governor talked about it. Everything is on the line. There is so much at stake.
And so let’s just break it down for a moment. So, I know who’s here. This is a room full of leaders. And so, every election cycle, we come together and we organize, and we mobilize, and we get folks out to vote, because we know what’s at stake. And this is a group of leaders — community leaders, civic leaders, opinion leaders.
And so what we all know is when we then, during this time, go up to our neighbors and our friends and our co-workers, we walk up to perfect strangers — but in their face we do see a neighbor and a friend — and we ask them to vote. And every time, they ask a righteous question: “Why should I vote?” Well, here’s the thing, Chicago — we got a lot of good material. We got a lot of good material.
Because we have to remember the last election, in 2020, when you sent Joe Biden and me to the White House. (Applause.) But let’s remember, in 2020, we were in the height of a pandemic. An extraordinary amount of loss of life. Folks lost their jobs. The loss of normalcy. Parents were trying to figure out how to educate their kids.
And in the midst of all of that, because of your work, we had an historic turnout of voters. An historic turnout of young voters in 2020 — (applause) — because of your work.
And so when we go up to folks over the next two days — by text, email, phone call knocking on their door — we got a lot of good material. And the first thing we’re going to say to folks is, “Thank you for the last time you voted.” We’re going to say we understand that when you vote, it’s kind of like putting in your order. “This is what I want from my country. This is what I want from my leaders — my elected leaders.”
And so, in 2020, in the midst of that all, people stood in line for hours, they took time to fill out their ballot. They made such an effort to vote; they put in their order.
And these are the things they told us: “I want that my country will deal with the issue of child poverty in America.” (Applause.) And so because they put in their order, we extended the child tax cut [credit] that reduced child poverty in America by over 40 percent in the first year. (Applause.) Because they voted.
They said, “I want to know that you’re paying attention to me as somebody who is parenting a child, because it’s expensive.” And they put in their order. And so we were able to put in place a tax cut, and now parents will get up to 8,000 more dollars in their pocket to help cover the cost of food and medicine and school supplies for their children. (Applause.) They put in their order.
They said, “Look, so many students are saddled down with student loan debt,” holding back their opportunity to start a family, buy a home, pay the rent. They said, “We need some help with that.” And they put in their order. And in spite of all the Republicans who criticized us, we reduced student loan debt by up to $20,000 — (applause) — because people put in their order.
They said, “Y’all got to deal with these roads and bridges. Because, you see, I have to drive on that and invariably get a flat tire, which my car insurance does not cover.” And so we passed an Infrastructure Law. And I will tell you right here, in Illinois, you know, at O’Hare and Midway is going to get 94 million more dollars because of that. (Applause.) Cicero Avenue Bridge, $1.4 billion. (Applause.) Because people put in their order.
People said, “You know what? You Democrats did a great job in 2008 — starting in 2008, reforming the healthcare system in America. But prescription medication is still too expensive.” So they said, look, you know, diabetes affects so many of our families. Black folks are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. And it’s not right that, in particular, our seniors have to make the choice about whether they fill a prescription that a doctor ordered, because it will save their life, or pay for food or rent. And they put in their order and said, “Can you deal with that?” And because they voted, we have capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for those seniors. (Applause.) Because they voted.
Because you voted and said, “You know what? The pharmaceutical companies have been running the game for too long, jacking up the cost of prescription drugs. And it’s about time we take that on.” And because you voted, we are now allowing Medicare to negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of 60 million Americans. (Applause.)
And all our brothers and sisters in labor understand the power of collective bargaining. That’s essentially what that was.
People stood in those lines, took the time to vote, and said, “You know what? It’s about time we have a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.” (Applause.) Her name — her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson! (Applause.) People put in their order.
Pastor, you’re going to forgive me for the next one. People put in their order. They said folks shouldn’t have to go to jail just for smoking weed. (Laughs.) (Applause.) And it’s legal here, by the way. (Laughs.) People put in their order.
They voted for all of these things because people took the time and because you took the time in your role of leadership to remind folks of their power and what is at stake.
And so let’s think about this moment and what is at stake. The highest court in our land, the United States Supreme Court, the court of Thurgood, just took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America.
And on this point, I think it’s really important to be clear: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do. (Applause.)
But because of that decision, now we are seeing laws being proposed and passed around our country that would literally criminalize doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers — literally being written these laws — with jailtime.
For people who provide reproductive healthcare, laws being passed that would punish women, that would make no exception for some of the most violent and violative acts that one could commit against another person’s body, and then saying, after you have survived that act, we will deprive you of the authority and ability to decide what happens to your body next. Immoral!
There’s so much at stake.
And on that point, by the way, our President has been very clear: We just need two more senators, and he will not let the filibuster to get in the way of passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. (Applause.)
Two more senators.
Send Tammy Duckworth back to the Senate. And we need two more. And you got some neighbors in this neighborhood around Illinois, including Fetterman. Let’s get them elected. Call your friends, call your cousins, call your play cousins. Call whoever you need to. Remind them what’s at stake.
And, you know, on this point about the attacks on women’s reproductive care, if you look at what the Dobbs decision, that Supreme Court decision said, it said, “Well you know, we have — we basically decided that it should go to the states.” Right? Which is why, of course, it is important that you have this governor and this lieutenant governor — (applause) — and Kwame Raoul as the attorney general, who came to Washington, D.C., to lead on this issue with other attorneys general. And they said, “Well, it should go to the states.”
And these same people, out of one side of their mouth saying it should go out to the states, and out of the other side of their mouth are passing laws making it more difficult for people in the states to vote. That’s what’s happening.
We need two more senators.
Because in addition to the Women’s Health Protection Act, our President, Joe Biden, has been clear: If we get two more senators, he will sign into law the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Applause.)
Two more. Two more senators.
Not to mention these so-called extremist leaders, Republican Party leaders saying that what’s on the line if they win includes Social Security, Medicare.
There is so much at stake in this election.
And so here’s the thing: As your Vice President, I will tell you, I have —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Love you, Kamala!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I appreciate you. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
As Vice President, I have now met with over 100 world leaders, personally or by phone — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, kings. Here’s the thing that we all know: When we walk into those rooms representing the United States of America, we walk into those rooms chin up, shoulders back, professing to represent the greatest democracy in the world, imperfect though we may be. And it gives us the authority, then, to talk about things like rule of law, human rights.
But here’s the thing about being a role model, which we all know: When you’re a role model, people watch what you do to see if it matches what you say. (Applause.) And in that way, then, my greatest fear is that dictators and autocrats around the world will say to their people, who are in the struggle for rights, “Do you want to talk about America? Well, look what they’re doing.”
And in that way, what is happening here not only has a direct impact on the people of our nation, it very well will have a direct impact on people around the world. There’s so much at stake.
And, you know, when we talk about, the governor talked about, the lieutenant governor talked about democracy being on the ballot — the President talks about it a lot — here’s what I’d offer: I think the nature of a democracy is that it — there’s a duality to it, two sides to it. On the one hand, when a democracy is intact, it is extraordinarily strong in the strength it can give its people to protect and fight for their rights, for equality, for justice. Incredibly strong. On the other hand, it is incredibly fragile. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. And so fight we will. (Applause.) And so fight we will. And so fight we will!
And this is a fight born out of love of country. We love our country. We know what we can do. We are prepared to stand. We are prepared to organize. We are prepared to talk to our neighbors and our friends. We know what we can do in two days. It’s a long time if you pay attention every minute. And like the lieutenant governor said, when we fight, we win! (Applause.)