IDP Hall of Fame Celebration Speeches—Sen. Michael Bennet ... next >
Hey Iowa how are you? Sit down please, I'm Michael Bennett. I've only been in this race for about a month. My, my, my group of people that are here with me are quite small tonight, but they include my daughter, Caroline, who traveled from Colorado to be here today. And I want to say thank you for that.

It's been such a privilege to have the chance to listen to everybody today. And all of you who have been so patient. And what I have been struck by is how much similarity there is between what we all want for this country, what you want, what working people all over America want for their kids and for our grandkids.

But to do any of it, we're going to need to fix the broken politics in Washington, DC. That means beating Donald Trump, but it also means overcoming the blockade, the stranglehold that Mitch McConnell and the Freedom Caucus have perpetrated on this country for the last decade or more. They have immobilized our federal government, they have immobilized our exercise in self government. And by the way, that begins with the Senate race right here in Iowa in 2020.

Trump is the star of his own three ring circus in Washington, but there is no doubt who the ringmaster actually is. And that is Mitch McConnell. And he has, he has done this with the Freedom Caucus to prevent popular will in this country from being adopted on climate change, on healthcare, on all of the issues that you have heard about today, he has said no and sent it to the legislative graveyard to die, on campaign finance reform.

And by the way while he was doing that, he spent $5 trillion on tax cuts, almost all which went to the richest people in the country, and $5.6 trillion on wars in the Middle East. From the point of view of the kids in my old school district, we might as well just to lit that money on fire. From the point of view of the Americans in this country who have not had a pay raise, that's 90% of the American people over the last 40 years, we might as well just lit up money on fire.

We could have fixed every road and bridge in America; we could have fixed every airport in America; we could have given the middle class a real tax cut in this country and made Social Security solvent for my daughter, Caroline, and we did none of it. We did none of it because of what McConnell was doing there.

And It's my view that to overcome this, we need to build a broad based agenda for America that unifies our country, that unifies Democrats, but also brings along independents and Republicans who know the Freedom Caucus is not representing what they need for their kids or for their grandkids or for America's place in the world. And that's most of the Democrats in my state, Republicans in my state, and I'll bet there are a few here in Iowa as well.

And that's why I've proposed a climate plan that says that everybody in America can help solve this crisis that we face, including our farmers and ranchers. twice.

It's why I've, I've put forward a plan on universal health care that gives every American the choice to make the best choice for themselves and their family.

It's why I proposed American Family Act that will reduce childhood poverty in America by 40%, add not a single bureaucrat to Washington, DC, for 3% of the price of Medicare for All.

And by the way, speaking of kids living in poverty, it's why every single kid in America should have access to high quality preschool.

And every kid in America should be able to go to a K 12 school a senator would send their kids to.

And every kid in America who gets into the best college should be able to graduate from that college debt free.

And the 70% of American kids who don't go to college ought to be able to earn more than a minimum wage because we've given them the skills they need in high school or community college which they can support a family on.

And speaking of supporting families, as a former school superintendent, we need to pay teachers like the professionals that they are, not a few percent here or there. We have to change how the system works, and bring it into the 21st century.

That all may sound really hard. But It's always been hard to make this country more democratic, more fair and more free. It's always been hard.

I say to the kids that come to see me in Washington, who think the Washington Monument was just there, the Capitol was just there, the Supreme Court was just there—none of it was just there. All of it was the work of people at the beginning we call the founders who wrote the Constitution. But then there were other Americans who came after them. Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave in the United States of America, who in his lifetime [music starts] ended human slavery and other people who fought for the right to vote for women. They're founders too. We can do that hard work ourselves. Thank you Iowa for [inaud.] I look forward to earning your support.


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