REMARKS ON THE UDALL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED
Good afternoon. We’re here today at City Hall to talk about the future of our democracy. I want to thank John Brautigam and Cush Anthony, who provided such great leadership in the legislature and have been working for clean elections here in Maine for years and have been such strong leaders on reform.
Our politics should be about real people, not big money. Because of our broken campaign finance system, we have a Congress of millionaires instead of a Congress that truly represents working people.
But imagine for a moment how our federal elections could be different: imagine federal elections where each vote counts the same, each contribution makes a difference and each voice is heard.
Today is Labor Day, when we celebrate the American worker. Despite the setbacks and hardship of recent years, America remains a beacon of hope - a place where a person can work hard and truly aspire to a better life. American workers are the backbone of not just our economy, but also of our ingenuity and our promise.
Hard work - the kind that keeps a nation running and propels us forward even in our darkest hour - deserves respect. Labor deserves compensation worthy of its promise. American workers deserve to earn a wage that is in keeping with the value of the products they produce and their contribution to our economy. Americans workers deserve a raise.
Myth tells us that 94 years ago today, in 1920, women were finally granted the right to vote. The reason this is a myth is because this right was not “granted” – it was fought for tooth and nail over decades by women who demanded equality under the law at the price of their very lives.
Unfortunately, since that victory, both voting rights and women’s rights have been under systematic attack by a Republican party that seems to be interested only in advocating for a system in which some are more equal than others. Our democracy was founded on the rights and freedoms laid out in our Constitution, and our leaders – regardless of party affiliation – are sworn to uphold them to the best of their ability. In their efforts to deny rights to voters and women alike, the Republican Party has abandoned this sacred trust.
My home in Manchester, Maine is 1,345 miles from Ferguson, Missouri. This is where Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American youth, was killed by a white police officer almost two weeks ago.
But we are one nation, and the systemic oppression and persistent racial segregation that haunts so many communities in America are symptoms of an underlying sickness that haunts us all, no matter where we live.
In the aftermath of the shooting, reports from the ground tell us that the community and police organized – the community organized friends and neighbors to protest while the police organized their weapons and dogs, turning Ferguson into a scene more akin to a war zone than a community expressing their grief.
The speech below was delivered to hundreds of supporters at rallies in Portland and Kittery on August 12, 2014.
Hello! We made it!
We’ve just walked over 350 miles through 63 towns from Houlton to Kittery, and here we are. I tell you, my Maine-made New Balance sneakers served me well.
This campaign has always been about listening to voters’ concerns. It’s been about giving them a chance to speak and be heard, and offering solutions to the problems they’re facing. We started our Walk Across Maine for Jobs and the Economy on July 20, and this morning, we took our final step. But rest assured, this isn’t the end. No, instead, this is the beginning.
This is the beginning of the conversation that Maine needs to have about the future of our state and our people.