Full transcript of Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III’s response to Trump’s SOTU

Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 @ 11:40 PM

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) speaks during a press conference condemning the new ban on transgendered servicemembers on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. He delivered the Democrat’s response to the State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) speaks during a press conference condemning the new ban on transgendered servicemembers on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. He delivered the Democrat’s response to the State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

   

 

 Congressman Joe Kennedy’s Democratic Response to President Trump’s State of the Union

 Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts today delivered the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union. Below is a full transcript of his remarks:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.

 

 >> Read more trending news 

 

We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts – a proud American city, built by immigrants. 

 

From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.

 

The students with us this evening in the autoshop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy. 

 

Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city. 

 

It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.

 

This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.

We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward. 

 

A government that struggles to keep itself open. 

 

Russia knee-deep in our democracy. 

 

An all-out war on environmental protection.

A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.

 

Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets. 

Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places. 

And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are. 

It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics. 

 

But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.

 

For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure. 

 

By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size. 

 

Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.

Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.

That is the American promise. 

 

But today that promise is being broken. By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away. 

They are turning American life into a zero-sum game. 

 

Where, in order for one to win, another must lose. 

 

Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net.

 

We can extend healthcare to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts. 

 

We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow.

 

We can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice Dreamers. 

 

We are bombarded with one false choice after another: 

 

Coal miners or single moms. Rural communities or inner cities. The coast or the heartland.

 

As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.

 

As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction.

 

So here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: we choose both. We fight for both. Because the strongest, richest, greatest nation in the world shouldn’t leave any one behind. 

 

We choose a better deal for all who call this country home. 

 

We choose the living wage, paid leave and affordable child care your family needs to survive. 

  

We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, and good education you can afford.

 

We choose a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction.

 

We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices AND brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right. 


We choose Fall River. 

 

We choose the thousands of American communities whose roads aren’t paved with power or privilege, but with honest effort, good faith, and the resolve to build something better for their kids. 

That is our story. It began the day our Founding Fathers and Mothers set sail for a New World, fleeing oppression and intolerance. 

 

It continued with every word of our Independence – the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. An imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union.

 

It grew with every suffragette’s step, every Freedom Riders voice, every weary soul we welcomed to our shores.

 

And to all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar.

 

You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away. 

 

America, we carry that story on our shoulders.

 

You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child’s life. 

 

You proudly marched together last weekend – thousands deep -- in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville.

 

You sat high atop your mom’s shoulders and held a sign that read: “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.” 

 

You bravely say, me too. You steadfastly say, black lives matter.

 

You wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.

 

You fight your own, quiet battles every single day. 

 

You drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so your families won’t feel the sting of scarcity. 

 

You leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, or patrol our neighborhoods overnight. 

 

You serve. You rescue. You help. You heal. 

That – more than any law or leader, any debate or disagreement – that is what drives us toward progress. 

 

Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.

 

Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make. Our country will be judged by the promises we keep.

THAT is the measure of our character. That’s who we are. 

 

Out of many. One. 

  

Ladies and gentlemen, have faith: The state of our union is hopeful, resilient, enduring. 

Thank you, God Bless you and your families, and God Bless the United States of America. 

 

 

 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Self-proclaimed white nationalist banned from Seattle gym

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:07 AM

A Seattle gym banned Greg Johnson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist. (Photo: KIRO7.com)
A Seattle gym banned Greg Johnson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist. (Photo: KIRO7.com)

A self-proclaimed white nationalist was banned from a Fremont gym after the owners learned he is a leader in the alt-right community.

>> Read more trending news

The owners of Northwest Fitness Project say Greg Johnson is longer welcome there.

“The trainer terminated his contract and we banned him from the gym,” said Kyle Davis, a co-owner of the gym.

It's a move that has some people wondering if it violates a city ordinance that says "places of public accommodation" can't discriminate based on a person's beliefs.

But the owners of the gym say that ordinance doesn't apply -- because it’s not a public space. To use the space, you must be the client of a trainer.

“There’s no open gym membership, it's not like people can come and go as they please,” Davis said. “Trainers come and run their own businesses out of this location."

“There's a right of first refusal of the independent trainer. And (the trainer) chose to not work with him anymore due to the harm it would cause his reputation, and not wanting to be associated with those views,” Davis said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Greg Johnson an "international figure for white nationalism” and “one of the leading voices of the far-right.”

In September 2017, the New York Times interviewed him undercover and posted it on its website.

In the interview, Johnson says, “I would identify myself as a white nationalist. That states the goals I have politically.”

When asked about people who are Jewish, Johnson says, “The solution would ultimately (be) to expel them.”

Davis said he’s disturbed to hear Johnson’s views.

“I would feel threatened, yes,” he said. “I'm converting to Judaism, my fiancée is Jewish and we want to raise our kids Jewish.”

The owners say after Johnson was banned, a white nationalist publication told followers to post negative reviews on the gym's Yelp and Facebook pages.

“We were at a five (star average review); it went down to a three,” said Matthew Holland, the other co-owner of Northwest Fitness Project.

But hundreds of people supported the gym on social media, helping it bounce back.

“Now we're to like a 4.8,” Holland said. “We have a great community and we didn't realize how awesome they all were. Going through a rough time like this, it was just so encouraging.”

The Puget Sound Anarchists first published last week that Johnson lives in Seattle. It’s also how the gym owners found out about Johnson’s beliefs.

Johnson did not comment.

The gym said it heard Johnson left the area.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Several sinkholes open in Florida neighborhood, threaten homes

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 11:24 PM

Several sinkholes opened in a Florida neighborhood. (Photo: WFTV.com)
Several sinkholes opened in a Florida neighborhood. (Photo: WFTV.com)

Several sinkholes opened in The Villages Thursday, threatening several homes, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. 

>> Read more trending news

Four homes have been evacuated. Officials said the largest of the three holes is 35 feet deep and 18 feet wide. 

One of the sinkholes that opened up is outside Frank Newman’s home.

He said he heard strange sounds and wasn’t sure what was going on.

“At about 12:30 I was watching the Olympics when I heard something that I thought was thunder,” Newman said.

Hours later, he found out what was actually going on.

“My front door bell rings about 3:10. It was a policeman saying, ‘You got to get out of your house,’” Newman said.

Marion County Emergency Management was also at the scene and said that utilities to the four closest homes have been disconnected as a precaution.

The sinkholes go beneath two of the homes.

Photos: Sinkholes open in Villages neighborhood

Cracks formed outside Newman’s neighbor’s home and a hole opened up near her front door.

“In her house, she is seeing cracks inside the house on the floor and stuff,” Newman said. “She can’t get her car out of the garage because the garage door won’t open.”

Signs have been placed outside some of the homes warning the houses have been condemned.

Golf course officials are draining a lake to help the situation. Utilities officials said that if a water main break occurs, they will be able to handle it, but 20 homes could potentially lose water service if that happens.

Residents were allowed to briefly return to their homes to pick up some belongings.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Broward County Sheriff visits Parkland school shooting victim in hospital

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 8:57 PM

Victims of the Florida High School Mass Shooting

The Broward County sheriff said he was honored to visit a young student who survived the Feb. 14 South Florida school shooting that's left a community reeling. 

>> Read more trending news

The Broward County Sheriff's Office published a photo of Sheriff Scott Israel holding the hand of Anthony Borges, 15, in his hospital room.

"Fortunately, he is recovering -- but has a long road ahead with more surgeries needed," the Sheriff's Office posted. "Please join us in praying for the swift recovery of Anthony and all the other victims of this horrific criminal act."

The Sheriff's Office said in the Facebook post that Borges was shot five times during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Seventeen people, including students and staff, were killed in the shooting.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, who admitted to the shooting, remains in custody at the Broward County jail after being ordered held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

As memorials for the shooting victims continue, students are demanding tighter gun control and walkouts are being planned in the wake of the tragedy. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Florida sheriff pushes for 'game changer' program to arm teachers

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:50 PM

Shooter Reportedly In Custody In Florida High School Shooting

Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, went on the news Saturday to talk about the so-called “Sentinel Program” as a possible legislative response to mass shootings like the one that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, that left 17 dead.

>> Read more trending news

Judd called the program a “game changer” by arming select educators whose backgrounds have been vetted thoroughly, who have been psychologically evaluated and trained in weapons more intensely than law enforcement by state standards.

The sheriff argued that the solution is not something he wants, but it’s something that must happen.

“We have got to wake up, wake up and understand that we have to have … specially trained people that have concealed firearms that can run to the threat and protect our children,” he said.

“Do you know that there is gun control on every campus in Florida -- and, I would submit, across the United States -- that you can’t bring a gun on campus. And no one does, except the crazed person, the active shooter. There has to be a line of defense,” Judd said.

“There’s no absolutes in life, but I can tell you this: At least two coaches were killed standing in front of and trying to protect kids. Don’t you believe it would be a game-changer if they had a gun to defend the children?”

Students and parents have responded to the mass shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz by calling for stricter guns laws in Florida.

Many participating in the #NeverAgain campaign seem to agree that they don’t want to arm teachers, but want “genuine, lasting change.”

Trending - Most Read Stories