Justice Is On The Ballot
Kamala Harris’ speech at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration
Good evening, Iowa! So we all know why we are here. We are here because this is a moment. This is a moment where we have to be prepared to fight for the best of our country.
This is a moment where we need to fight for this country we love, for the rule of law, for our system of justice, and for our very democracy. So we are all here to fight. We’re all here to fight to end that national nightmare called Donald Trump. And to win, Democrats. To win.
It can’t be about anything other than looking at the future. It can’t be about looking at yesterday; we need to be focused on tomorrow. To win, we are going to have to fight against those who have been trying to push hate and division among us and have Americans turn on each other.
To win, we’re going to have to fight for what I know in my heart and in my soul to be true — which is in the beauty and diversity of who we are as a nation, we all have so much more in common than what separates us.
And to win, we are going to need a nominee on that stage with Donald Trump who has the ability to go toe to toe with Donald Trump — and Iowa, you are looking at her.
I have spent my career as a prosecutor. I’ve only had one client in my entire life, and that has been the people. Unlike other people, unlike others, I have never represented a corporation. I have never represented a special interest. I started my career fighting for the people.
In fact the first time I walked into a courtroom, I spoke five words. ‘Kamala Harris, For the People.’
And those words, ‘For the People,’ capture our system of justice. Because there are two points when we say for the people. One, in our system of justice, we have rightly said that a harm against anyone is a harm against everyone — that no one should ever be made to fight alone. And for the people, when I stood there, and when I stand here today, also means all the people. Regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of the party with which they are registered to vote, regardless of the language your grandmother speaks. It means all the people.
And it was for the people that a large part of my early career was about fighting against those who molested children and raped women — because it was about saying that those survivors deserved justice and a voice that gave them safety without judgment. For the People.
When I was elected District Attorney of San Francisco, saying that the war on drugs was an abject failure — so I created national models about what it means to give jobs to people who are arrested for drugs. For the People.
When I was the Attorney General of California, running the second largest Department of Justice only to the United States Department of Justice, it meant taking on the biggest banks in the United States, who had engaged in predatory lending practices, and bringing back to the homeowners of my state $20 billion.
And for the people, as the United States Senator, it meant taking on Jeff Sessions. Taking on Bill Barr. And taking on Brett Kavanaugh.
And, Iowa, I stand here before you today, for the people, fully prepared to defeat Donald Trump. And that is why I am running: For the People.
And I will say that, in the name of the people, I believe that in 2020 justice is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot when, in America, there is a father who is holding down two jobs, trying to figure out how to get through the end of the month — and paying more taxes than the richest 400 families in America. Economic justice is on the ballot.
So I am running for president to pass the largest middle-class tax cut we have had in history. And you want to know how we are going to pay for it? On day one, we’re going to repeal that tax bill the benefits that top one percent and the biggest corporations in America.
When, in America, there is a mother, who is in a parking lot of a hospital afraid to walk through the sliding glass doors to get into the emergency room with her child, because she knows that she — if she walks through the sliding glass doors, she will be out of pocket a $4,000 deductible. Health care justice is on the ballot.
So I am running for president to make sure there is Medicare for All. Not Medicare for Some.
To care for all. To bring down costs. And to ensure that you also get choice. Because I heard from folks that said, ‘Do not take away my opportunity to have a private plan.’ So you will get a private plan or public plan depending on your choice.
When we are looking at teachers across America, and in Iowa, holding down two or three jobs to get through the end of the month. Education justice is on the ballot.
So I’m running for president to put into place what will be the first in our nation’s history federal investment in closing the teacher pay gap. Here in Iowa, that will be $12,500 per year.
When all over America, women are being attacked for their constitutional right to make decisions about their own bodies. Reproductive justice is on the ballot.
So I am running to ensure every woman will have her legal and constitutional right — and not these out of date Republican legislators telling women what to do with their bodies.
When children in America, regardless of who their parents voted for for president are afraid to go to school, because they are afraid they may get shot. They are afraid they will be a gunman roaming the hallways of their school. Justice for children is on the ballot.
So I am running for president to take executive action, if necessary, and implement what people who have failed to have courage have not done — which is take on the gun lobby in Washington, D.C.
And I want to give a shout out to Beto. Because he had the courage to say, look, you cannot walk around talking about gun safety but not have the courage to figure out how you’re going to take five million assault weapons off the streets of America.
Justice is on the ballot.
So it is time that we fight. And this is a fight that is about all of us.
Because, yes, a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us. And here’s the bottom line, Iowa. I do believe that when we overcome these injustices, we will unlock the promise of America and the potential of the American people. And I do believe that this is what we want and need. That is the America I see. That is the America I believe in. That is the America I know us to be. And that is why I am running for president of the United States.
Please join me and caucus with me in Kamala’s corner. Thank you.