IDP Hall of Fame Celebration Speeches—Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke ... back >
Thank you. Thank you. It is so great to be with you. And Amy and I are so grateful for the kindness and warmth with which you have welcomed us, and to share this stage with so many extraordinary candidates to meet so many of their fired up supporters, to know that so many of our supporters are here, and all across the state right now doing everything that they can, at this moment of truth for our country, the power and joy with which we meet this moment is something that I am grateful for. Because we are all focused on the same goal for this country, defeating Donald Trump in 2020, and bringing this country together again in 2021.

And to each one of you, that I've had the chance to meet at one of our town halls or a visit to your community, I'm grateful for the lessons that you have taught me. To those veterans who have appeared at almost every single one of my town halls, who distinguish this country through their service and their sacrifice, who only ask that when they come home, they be able to receive the care and the benefits that they have earned, that we want to provide for them and ask that we no longer pursue this country's foreign policy goals on the backs of 19 and 20 and 21 year old women and men, that we end the wars that we are in today, and bring those service members back home.

To the students, including the young student that I met at a middle school in Newton, Iowa, who asked us to do everything we can within our power to end the bloodshed and the carnage that we're seeing in this country that will claim more than 40,000 lives this year, that only asks of us that we pass guaranteed universal background checks and close every loophole, that we stop selling weapons of war into our communities and adopt red flag laws to stop those who pose a danger to themselves or someone else before it is too late.

To those farmers, like those we got to visit with yesterday in Lakona, who simply asked that they be allowed to make a profit on the food that they grow that feeds not just this country, but so much of the rest of the world, and that they be placed in the driver's seat in confronting the greatest challenge we have ever faced, climate change, by allowing them to profit from the environmental services that they provide— cover crops that pull more carbon out of the air, precision till farming and regenerative ranching to make sure that we disturb less of it that is in the soil.

And to those steel workers that I met in the Quad Cities, who ask that we only respect the work that they have put in, this country that they have helped to build and ensure that the pensions that they have paid into for their entire lives are guaranteed.

And then the women, who are leading on every single one of these issues, including perhaps one of the most important for the well being of this country, guaranteed, high quality universal health care, which means primary care. And in a state that ranks 51st in mental health care, that means mental health care for every single Iowan and American. And that health care also means that every woman makes her own decisions about her own body and has access to the care that allows that to be possible.

But in order to meet these challenges, and to follow the leadership and inspiration and guidance that I received here in Iowa, we must first fix this badly broken democracy. Congress, which is captured and corrupted by special interests and corporations and PACs, and a democracy and our elections that have shut out too many. That's why at the heart of this campaign is a bold set of democracy reforms to repair our democracy.

First, let's bring tens of millions of our fellow Americans in through same day and automatic voter registration.

Next, let's remove every barrier, and place a new voting rights act for this country, no more purges of the voter rolls or voter IDs to keep people out.

And let's restore faith in this democracy by holding accountable those who invaded it in 2016, and then afterwards sought to cover up and obstruct investigation afterwards.

If we do that, then I'm confident we will meet every single one of these challenges. And that forever after this country will be known not by our fears or by our differences, but by our ambitions and aspirations that we hold in common in this great democracy that can allow us to achieve them.

Iowa, thank you for your work and thank you for having us out here tonight. I'm grateful to be running to serve you as president. Gracias. Thank you all. Bye-bye. [chants: Beto, Beto]


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