IDP Hall of Fame Celebration Speeches—Sen. Cory Booker  ... next >
Hello, Iowa!  And thank you, Troy.

I want to congratulate this year's honorees. That's what this actual gathering is about. It's these grassroots leaders that give us what we truly need to win. We have a lot, a lot of presidential candidates here this afternoon, but our strength as a party comes from the grassroots. Our party does not need a savior, we need each other. We need to deepen our bonds, we need to organize, we need to build community strength.

I am here literally because of that tradition. My grandma was born and raised in Iowa, My family comes from a mining town called Buxton, where blacks and whites went down into the minds together to carve out of the earth their American Dream. Where we had a community that lived together, built communities together; they built a more beloved community together, They were affirming that we in America have a common purpose, a common cause, a common American dream and destiny.

But today those bonds are being tested, leading many to believe that the forces tearing us apart are stronger than the bonds holding us together. We are being tested.

When millions of Americans work full time jobs, pick up extra shifts when they can, but they still need food stamps to feed their family;

When there are shrines on our streets to shooting victims, like the ones in front of schools and houses of worship across our country;

When we have a criminal justice system, that as Bryan Stevenson says treats us better—treats you better if you're rich and guilty than poor and innocent. We are being tested. This is a moral moment in America, and we must meet this test.

I'm running for president because we can't take four more years of Donald Trump. I'm running for president to beat Donald Trump. And, I'm running for president because beating Donald Trump is not enough. We must have bigger aspirations and bolder dreams than just that. Beating Donald Trump is the floor; it is not the ceiling. Beating him will get us out of the valley, but it will not get us to the mountaintop. Democrats, we can't let this election be about what we are against. It must be an election about what we are for, who we are for.

We are every American worker, because they deserve a living wage, a right to a union, and to retire with dignity and security.

We are for public school teachers; we're for valuing them, supporting them and raising their pay.

We are for every American having access to health care. And make no mistake, abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

We're for ending mass incarceration, and the name of every shooting victim in America, we will take a fight to the corporate gun lobby and we will win.

This is the call of our country. We come from generations that no matter what the challenge, they kept their eyes on the prize. They came up from the mines of Buxton together. They rose from sweatshops and slums. Together, they boarded buses, knowing that they could be bombed, crossed bridges, knowing that they could get beaten. They did not turn against each other in the face of injustice. They stood with each other, for each other. They beat the demagogues and bullies and bigots who tried to push them down by doing the work and the struggle and the sacrifice to lift people up.

Now Iowa, it's our turn. This is elect—this election is not a referendum on one person in one office. It's a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other and for each other. Donald Trump wants this election to be about him, on his terms and his turf. That's how he wins. We win when when we rise with grace and grit, rise with patriotism, love of country and love for one another. We will not stay in the valley of darkness and fear. We will rise. We will lift up our voices. We will raise our sights, we will win this election and America we will rise.

Thank you. Thank you. [chants: Cory, Cory...]

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION TRANSCRIPT  |  [see also: prepared remarks]
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