Hillary Clinton came to West Philadelphia High School as her latest stop in her campaign’s “Three Million Stronger” Initiative, to register and commit three million Americans to vote this November and the Philadelphia Jewish Voice’s president and publisher were on the scene live tweeting from the event.
Pennsylvanians are now able to register to vote online, thanks to the efforts of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was the first speaker to the standing-room only capacity crowd. Congressman Bob Brady then introduced Clinton. She highlighted her five-part economic plan to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, and contrasted her agenda for tax fairness and investing in Pennsylvania with Donald Trump’s plan to give large tax breaks to the wealthy.
He wants to eliminate the estate tax, which does nothing for 99.8 percent of all Americans, but if Trump is as wealthy as he claims to be, it would save his family $4 billion. Now, I’ve got to tell you I could find a much better use for that $4 billion; early childhood, helping our veterans, helping our law enforcement do what they need to do, helping more people get the jobs training and the skills training. In fact, we could hire 95,000 public school teachers for $4 billion. We could actually double health care for our veterans for $4 billion. And we could invest in more infrastructure, affordable housing, and small businesses for $4 billion right here in Pennsylvania.
Clinton directed the crowd to her volunteers and asked everyone to register themselves, and to “ask everybody you know to register, because when we do that, we make a commitment that we care about what’s going to happen in this election.” Many attendees volunteered to canvass the neighborhood, and register new voters. Canvassing packets were distributed in the cafeteria. North Philadelphia native and hip-hop artist Freeway joined local officials to motivate volunteers to canvass alongside him and register voters in the community.
Volunteers were undeterred by FEMA’s Excessive Heat Warning as they spread out around West Philadelphia equipped not only with voter registration forms but also water bottles. Before the rally, one campaign worker had succumbed to heat stroke and was attended to on the scene by the Philadelphia Fire Department.
According to a campaign official, “Hillary for Pennsylvania has made more than 1.3 million phone calls, and volunteers have completed 28,564 hours of activity, including phone banking, door knocking and voter registration…. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign’s organization continues to lag behind in Pennsylvania, a state that is increasingly looking like a must-win for him. He is even facing sharp criticism from Keystone State Republicans” including the Republican State Chairman Rob Gleason and Montgomery County Chairman David Show.
In fact, Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge recently denounced Trump’s dangerous foreign policy rhetoric and agenda in an open letter to the Republican National Committee.
In the evening, Freeway then joined Philadelphia City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and supporters at the opening of the coordinated campaign office at the intersection of Spruce and 52nd Streets in West Philadelphia. This was just one of ten campaign offices opened across Pennsylvania today. In all, the DNC and coordinated campaign will have over three dozen offices throughout the commonwealth. They discussed how Hillary Clinton will build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. The office will serve as a hub for organizing activity in the area to allow supporters to mobilize and help elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot on Election Day.
Remarks by Hillary Clinton in the West Philadelphia High School Gymnasium
Hello, Philadelphia. Oh, wow. I am – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I am so excited to be back in the city that hosted the greatest convention. I can’t tell you as I’ve been traveling across the country how many people have said to me how much they loved being in Philadelphia. And, believe it or not, there are so people who hadn’t been to Philadelphia before the convention. And they left loving this city. And I can’t thank all of you enough for all the hospitality.I want to thank my longtime friend Congressman Bob Brady. Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney; State Senator Vincent Hughes; State Representative Dwight Evans; Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell; City Council President Darrell Clarke; a longtime friend of mine, former City Councilwoman Marian Tasco; and all of those who spoke in the preprogram.
The stakes could not be higher.
And to everybody gathered here, it is exciting to be back. And, as you heard, we want you all to register to vote. We have places to register because we don’t want you on the sidelines come November. This is the most consequential election. The stakes could not be higher. And we want everybody in Philadelphia, everybody across Pennsylvania to be part of a great victory in November and then the future that we’re going to build together.
There is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it.
Have any of you been watching the Olympics?Well, I’ve got to tell you I am a big Olympics fan, those athletes, what they give up, the sacrifice, the work. I understand that Philadelphia’s own Nia Ali just made the first round heat in the 100 Meter Hurdles today, but Team USA is showing the world what this country stands for. I am proud of our team there, and I am proud of the incredible teamwork that they show. I was thinking the other day when Donald Trump speaks, he speaks about fear. He speaks about such negativity and such pessimism. And then I watch the Olympics, and it’s exactly the opposite. You have young people going out, doing their best every day to get prepared to compete. And that’s what we’re going to do in America. There is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it.
I was up in Scranton yesterday with Vice President Joe Biden. And we had a great day. Both Joe and I have roots in Scranton. So we saw a lot of people that we’re related to, a lot of people who tell us we’re related to them. But it just reminded me of how lucky we are to be part of a country that has provided so much opportunity. It’s not perfect. We know that. But there is no place that has provided more opportunity to my grandfather, who came here as a young immigrant, worked in a factory, created a great life, family; and then my dad, who was a small businessman in Chicago, worked hard. And I want that story to be true for every American family. And that is – that is the principal motivation that I have in this campaign.How do you do it?
People say to me all the time, I mean, ‘How do you do it?’ They see me on TV. I’m in one state. Then I’m in another state. Then I’m in another state. And I’m lucky. I can sleep on planes and in cars. So that helps. But what it’s really all about is getting up every day and being motivated to make sure that every person in this crowd and every person in this commonwealth and every person in this country has the same chance to live up to your dreams, the same opportunities that previous generations of Americans enjoyed. And that’s why we’re going to keep talking about what kind of jobs we’re going to create.
I met the principal of this beautiful school a little earlier. And I met two of her students, who are about to graduate, right there. Thank you both. Young man […] We need you. Young woman wants to be a surgeon. Thank you. We need you. I met another young woman who told me she wanted to be a surgeon, and people tell her, oh, she can’t be a surgeon. I don’t remember where she went, this young woman. But don’t you believe it. Don’t you believe it. We’re going to lift people up. We’re going to help every single person in America live up to those dreams. And we’re going to do it by creating more good jobs, jobs in infrastructure, jobs in advanced manufacturing, jobs in clean energy. We’re going to do it by investing in education, from early childhood education all the way into lifelong learning.
I want to thank the mayor again for his commitment to early childhood education. I want to thank the superintendent, who I met earlier, Superintendent Hite, for his commitment to early childhood education. And I particularly want to thank all the teachers and educators in the audience, who make dreams come true. So I know what we can do together, but how are we going to pay for it? Well, I’ll tell you how we’re going to pay for it. We’re going where the money is. We’re going after the super wealthy. We’re going after the corporations. We’re going after Wall Street so they pay their fair share.
If Trump is as wealthy as he claims to be, banning estate tax would save his family $4 billion.
That’s why I was so surprised when Donald Trump came out and talked about the economy because, actually, he would give trillions of dollars in more tax breaks to the wealthy. He wants a new tax loophole that we call the Trump loophole that would actually help him and everybody else who is really wealthy to cut their tax rate in half on a lot of their income. He wants to eliminate the estate tax, which does nothing for 99.8 percent of all Americans, but if Trump is as wealthy as he claims to be, it would save his family $4 billion.
Now, I’ve got to tell you I could find a much better use for that $4 billion; early childhood, helping our veterans, helping our law enforcement do what they need to do, helping more people get the jobs training and the skills training. In fact,
- we could hire 95,000 public school teachers for $4 billion.
- We could actually double health care for our veterans for $4 billion.
And we could invest in more infrastructure, affordable housing, and small businesses for $4 billion right here in Pennsylvania.Three Million Stronger
So I think we know what we need to do. The question is whether we will do it, and that all comes down to who shows up and votes. That’s why we have been registering voters in our campaign. We launched a drive to register three million voters and get those voters to commit to vote because it doesn’t do you any good if you register and you don’t show up. Right? So we’ve got people waving over there. They’ve got their voter registration forms for you. And we want you to be part of this.
So here’s what I’m asking. I’m asking you to register yourself, and I’m asking you to ask everybody you know to register, because when we do that, we make a commitment that we care about what’s going to happen in this election. And we also care about winning back the Senate, making the Senate Democratic again. And trying to pick up some more Democrats in the House of Representatives. That will help, too. You see, I have this old-fashioned idea, looking at our last two Democratic Presidents, President Obama – and a guy named Clinton – that we got a lot done for America when they were in office. Right?
When I hear folks criticizing President Obama, I’m thinking, well, what don’t they like? They don’t like the fact that he helped us save the economy from the worst financial crash since the 1930s? They don’t like the fact we now have 20 million more people who have access to affordable health care? They don’t like the fact that his intervention saved the auto industry and imposed the toughest new rules on Wall Street? What don’t they like? And when I hear people criticize Bill, I think, what don’t they like, the peace or the prosperity? I mean it’s kind of hard to know.
The deadline for registering is October 11th
So don’t be complacent, my friends, because even though we’re doing fine right now, I’m not taking anybody, anywhere, for granted. We’re going to work hard these next 85 days. And I can’t do it without your help. Now, we have packets for you at the door so you can also canvass, meet your neighbors, canvass across West Philly after this event. This evening we’re opening our Southwest Philly office on 52nd and Cedar. Stop by. The deadline for registering is October 11th. So we have work to do.
But here’s what I promise you. I promise you that we’re going to go not only as hard as we can to win this election, but then to go as hard as we can to achieve the results that the country needs. And that’s why I talk specifically about what I want to do. I know that some people make fun of me. They say, oh, she has all these plans, and you can go to my website and read my plans. But I’ll tell you. You know why I do that? Because I want you to know what I’m going to try to do so that you can both help me and hold me accountable for doing what I told you I want to do.
We want to create millions of new good jobs in infrastructure because our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, are falling apart. Our water systems, our sewer systems, are falling apart. And we also need a new, modern electric grid to be able to take and distribute all the clean, renewable energy that we’re going to be producing. And when people say to me, ‘Well, we can’t bring manufacturing back to the United States,’ I say, ‘But I’ve seen it.’ I have seen what we can do. I have been in plants in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, across America, who are doing just that. And when I meet the people, there’s such pride and dignity.
When I was in Johnstown Wire Technologies on our bus trip with Tim Kaine and I met people working there, I met a young Marine veteran. He’s been there now for a couple years. He is as proud as he can be because he’s making something that really makes a difference and that is exported around the world from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. So don’t tell me we can’t make things. I know we can.
I was in a plant outside of Detroit last week. It used to be an auto supply plant. And then in 2000 – it was started in 1955 by the grandfather of the guy who’s the chair of their board now. In 1955, they started. They were making auto parts. Then in 2000, their main customer, one of the auto makers, moved a lot of their production. Now, they could have been really just broken by that. They could have said, you know what? We got to close up shop. But that’s not what they did. They were so determined to keep that business doing. So they said, what skills do we have? What can we do now? And they got into the aerospace business. So there I saw the nose cone of an F-35. There I saw the parts they’re making for NASA for the rocket that will take astronauts on the manned mission to Mars, in Warren, Michigan, a place that used to make auto parts which is now literally making rocket parts.
And you know what I thought? I thought, wait a minute. This could have been one of those sort of ‘poor me’ stories. We can’t do it. We can’t compete. But instead, people got up and said, ‘Yes, we can,’ and yes, they did. Right? And I started looking at the machines that they were using, a lot of precision machines made in Germany, made in Japan, made in Italy. And I said to the workers there, ‘Could we make those machines?’ They said, ‘You bet we could.’ If we have the right partnership between our government and manufacturing, we can have a renaissance in manufacturing and jobs that will give people good livings and the pride and dignity of work.
And here’s something we don’t say often enough. More than half of the jobs that are predicted for 2020 are not going to require a four-year college degree. So I want to make college affordable for everybody, and we’re going to get that done. I want to help you refinance and pay down your student debt if you already have that. But I also want to make sure community college is free and we have more technical education back in our high schools. I want us to have more apprenticeships so that more young people get the skills that they can use to fill those jobs in 2020.
We’re going to be the 21st century clean energy superpower
So I am optimistic. And another big area where I’m optimistic is clean, renewable energy, where we’re going to be the 21st century clean energy superpower. Not China, not Germany. The United States of America. So I know we can do this. We got ourselves out of the worst financial crash. We’re standing. Now we’re going to start running again. And we are particularly going to focus on young people who have been left out of education and the job market, and middle aged and older people who have lost jobs and need new skills to be able to compete and win again in the job market.
And while we’re doing that, we’re going to start at the very beginning with early childhood education, universal prekindergarten. Because we are stronger together, and we need all of our people to feel that they’ve got a shot. You know, even Abraham Lincoln talked about how important it was to give every American a fair shot in the race of life. That’s what we’ve got to get back to. It’s just wrong that some people do well and other people feel like they’re never going to catch up. So I want to be a president for not only Democrats, but Republicans and Independents too. I want to be a president for the struggling, the striving, and the successful. I want to be a president for those who voted for me, and those who don’t vote for me. Because we are all in this together.So there’s a lot we can do on the economy, there’s a lot we can do on education. There’s a lot we can do on healthcare. We’re going to build on the Affordable Care Act, and we’re going to get the cost of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles down. And we’re going to tackle the high cost of prescription drugs. And we are going to do more to help people deal with mental health and addiction problems. I probably have more people talking to me about mental health and addiction than nearly anything else. You know, folks talk about the economy, they talk about education. But when it gets really personal – you know, I’m in a coffee shop, or talking to folks on a line here, and somebody takes my hand and pulls me closer, what they talk to me about is mental health and addiction. And shame on us if we don’t do more to help people who are suffering, and families who are in pain because of that.
And we are going to have a national security and foreign policy that America can be proud of. We are going to lead the world in accordance with our values, in pursuance of our interest, and in furtherance of our security, along with our friends and allies. It just absolutely bewilders me when I hear Donald Trump try to talk about national security. It’s not just – as Joe Biden says, it’s not just that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s bad enough. But what he often says hurts us. It sends the wrong message to friend and foe alike in the world.
And we are living in a complex world, one where we need steadiness, where we’ve got to have a real sense of how we’re going to get to where we want to go, to help as many people, to keep our country safe, but to do it with the kind of bigness, the kind of confidence that really marks America at our best. You know, sometimes when I hear Trump talking about how we should all be so afraid all the time, and then I find a few minutes to watch the Olympics, I think, my goodness, you know, when you go out and compete, not everybody can win, but you’ve got to do your best. And can you imagine Michael Phelps or Simone Biles, or all these other great American athletes in the locker rooms saying, well, I don’t know, I’m too afraid to go out and compete? No. They get out there. They compete. They do their best. They demonstrate the kind of spirit that we want from all Americans.
And then finally, I think we have to defend the advances in rights that we have made here in America. And I am very proud of our young people. This is the most tolerant and generous generation that we’ve ever seen in America. And yes, we are going to defend human rights, and civil rights, and women’s rights, and gay rights, and voter rights, and worker rights. Because if we’re going to lift everybody up, we need to do it in a way that lets those people feel that their dignity is respected as well.
And, yes, I am going to take on the gun lobby to try to save lives here in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. And as I said here in Philadelphia in my speech, that doesn’t mean I want to abolish the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean that I want to round up people’s guns. What that means is I want to keep you from being shot by somebody who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place. We can’t let this go on. We need comprehensive background checks, close the gun show loophole, the online loophole. We need to pass a law finally that says people who are on the terrorist watch list can’t buy – can’t buy weapons in America.
So I’m excited about what we can do, but first we’ve got to get there. So let me thank you for being out here on a hot August afternoon at this beautiful high school. And let me ask you to be sure to register to canvas, to be part of this campaign. Because I’m not trying to just win an election. I’m trying to build a base of voters who understand that we’ve got to stand up for these rights, we have to work for these causes, we have to be committed to these goals, who will get up with me after the election and work to make sure that we actually deliver the results that we all know we need. So my friends, let’s go to work, and let’s build the future that America deserves. Thank you and God bless you.