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tv   Colorado U Boulder Commencement - Gov. Kate Brown  CSPAN  June 1, 2018 12:14am-12:31am EDT

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>> oregon governor kate brown delivered the 2018 commencement address at her on the monitor, the university of colorado, boulder. she discussed immigration, environmentalism, determination, and being the first openly lgbt governor in history. her remarks are 15 minutes. [applause] gov. brown: good morning. i am so incredibly honored to be with you this morning, and so delighted to be back in boulder. thank you, chancellor, for that wonderful and generous introduction. it has been a long time since i
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have been on campus, and a longer time since i have lived in farrand hall. i love the university of colorado. i am so grateful for the time i spent on this campus, in this city, in this state. many of you come from around the country and the world to be educated in this amazing place. i grew up in a suburb of the twin cities. my dad was a physician, and we led a comfortable middle-class life. i never had to worry about the heat getting shut off during the subzero minnesota winters, and i always knew i was going to college. my parents raised me and my siblings to believe if we work hard and played by the rules, we
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could get ahead, and that education was the key to a better life. like many with midwestern kids, i looked to the western horizon for my future. once i toured this campus, i was hooked. i could not see past the flatiron. >> [cheering] gov. brown: it is funny, because when i started at cu, i started in the political science department. i thought it would be great background for a budding lawyer. i absolutely hated it. the classes were huge, the lectures droned on, it wasn't a good fit for my skills. i knew i had to find something else. so i started looking around and found out about the environmental conservation program. it was relatively new. the classes were small. getting out of the lecture halls helped me put the things we were
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learning into focus. but what really set the program apart were the hands-on learning opportunities. we got outside to take what we the classroom and apply it to the real world. one summer i had an incredible opportunity to spend to six weeks in the mountains outside garlock, nevada, studying the behavior of wild horses. it turned out it was useful training for the oregon legislature. >> [laughter] gov. brown: we ate only what we could carry. we slept under the nevada stars. of course, we spend a lot of time in silence, watching, waiting. when they appeared, the horses were extraordinary. sometimes we saw them for fleeting moments. other times, we were able to observe them long enough that we
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were able to get a sense of their individual personalities. it was that, a sense of place, a reverence for the world we live in. i loved every single minute of it. it became clear to me that our natural environment is not something just to cherish, it is part of who we are. >> [applause] gov. brown: i went on from cu to portland, oregon to study environmental law. after three years of study, i realized i had taken another wrong turn on and it wasn't a good fit for me. so, i sought a career in public service with a singular mission, to give a voice to the voiceless.
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for example, it is true that i carry with me every single day the privilege of white skin. i do not know what it is like to experience racism. i do know, however, what it is like to be terrified going to work every day, afraid of losing my job if someone discovered my partner at the time was a woman. and i know what it feels like to be treated differently and paid less than a man, even though i knew i was doing a better job. >> [applause] [cheering] gov. brown: on the day i was sworn in as oregon's 38th governor, i experienced what it was like to be labeled, to have my entire first two decades of my public service, the nation's first openly bisexual governor.
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that phrase appeared after my name in virtually every headline around the world. i am sure that there are some of you out there today, who, over the course of your lives, have experienced stereotyping, discrimination, or fear that interferes with your ability to live openly and with dignity. this should not happen. >> [applause] not here, not anywhere. each of us has the right to live with dignity. i went to law school because i believed a law degree would give me the tools to change the world. after law school, as an advocate for a woman's organization, i lobbied to improve the health and wellness of women in oregon. this included improving domestic violence law, child support enforcement, and advocating
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family medical leave. my work led to an appointment to a vacant seat in the house of representatives, a position i would need to get elected to in order to keep. but then my predecessor, the state representative who stepped down, changed her mind. she decided to run against me, hoping to get her house seat back. i was doomed, everyone said so. she was well-known, i was not. that made it all but impossible to raise money for my campaign. but i had two things going for me, guts and determination. >> [applause] gov. brown: if i couldn't out fund raise my opponent, i would out-work her. i became the human embodiment of what it was to run for office.
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i sprinted dawn to dark every single day talking to as many voters as i could. and yes, in the end, i won -- by seven votes. seven votes. >> [applause] gov. brown: i share this story with you because today your voices matter more than they ever have. in march of this year, conor lamb won his seat in the house of representatives by a mere 627 votes. in january, control over the virginia statehouse was decided essentially by a flip of a coin. and last july, the u.s. senate came within one vote of taking
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away health care from millions of americans. politics is not a spectator sport. we must all do our part. >> [applause] gov. brown: you have made a lot of progress since i was a student. i would argue, however, we still have a long way to go. when i was here in school, we were studying rachel carson's silent spring. we worried about the issue of the time, overpopulation, but underlining it obviously was the threat humans are posing to our own planet. today, it is clear to most of us that climate change poses an existential threat. future generations will judge us not on the fact of global climate change, but what we have
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done to tackle it. >> [applause] gov. brown: when i was a student here, we were still reeling from watergate. the damage that nixon's dirty tricks and southern strategy had done to our politics. ronald reagan kicked off his campaign for president in 1980, talking about states rights. back then, the principle of states rights was a subtext for the politics of fear that had reordered our political landscape. it was driving a new wedge between us, pitting rural white voters against urban communities and communities of color. unlike climate change, that crisis is visible today in a way i think few of us expected decades ago. the subtext has become the literal text.
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it is time for new voices to rise up. it is time for some fresh faces. i am so proud that many of you here at cu are already making your voices heard. let me tell you about gabby. she went to school as a third grader after her family relocated to the united states from mexico. college was not an option because of her immigration status. however, in 2012, the federal government launched daca, giving her a path to college and government launched daca, givinr childhood dream to become a doctor. >> [applause] gov. brown: it gets better. she applies to every single college in colorado, and she got
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accepted to each one. she chose cu. >> [applause] however, with the current administration and the push to end daca, gabby's newfound security is threatened. it felt what my whole world was coming down, she said. last december, gabby stood up and she pushed back. she went to washington dc to urge congress for a permanent solution for dreamers like her. last month, once again, another court has ruled against the administration, saying that daca can't be unilaterally rescinded. >> [applause] gov. brown: unfortunately, it is probably not the last word. gabby is just one of many dreamers at cu, some of whom are
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on the field today, and just by being here, they are advocating for the changes they want to see. jesus was brought to the united states when he was three. this is the only home he has ever known. his mom taught him education was the key to a better life, and he has never let that go. this fall, jesus will be pursuing graduate studies in student affairs, making sure future students have a champion in their corner. [applause] in classrooms you will find brenda. she came to the united states from mexico. because of her immigration status, she did not think college was an option, but she did not give up. once brenda got to cu, she found her passion. she is planning a career as a
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fifth grade teacher. yes, give her a round of applause. >> [applause] gov. brown: brenda says she wants young people to understand that they can accomplish anything if they pursue their dreams and stand strong. we must keep fighting for justice, to make sure that our dreamers are able to stay in the land of their dreams. >> [applause] gov. brown: being here today is a wonderful reminder of my very sunny times in colorado, and what inspired me to enter public service. it is also a reminder of the power that each and every one of us has to change the world. many of you are already doing that. all of you have spent the last
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four years, some of you may be five, a few of you, six, learning about the world, hopefully seeing the possibilities ahead of you. there is absolutely no question that one person, one dedicated person with good ideas can change the world. >> [applause] gov. brown: and i believe that person is you. the world is your home. commit yourself to home improvement. there is no shortage of projects. pick one -- a child, a elderly person, a cause, a candidate, reduce hunger, ignorance, poverty, build community, foster hope, progress, and innovation. shine your light into difficult places and look around you.
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you aren't alone. you are part of a generation that is poised to change the world. you will put us on a path toward ending global climate change. you will put us on a path toward justice. and you will put us on a path toward a better world. thank you. >> [applause] >> thank you cu alum and oregon governor kate brown. >> [applause] >> outgoing congressman luis gutierrez reasserted his commitment to fighting for daca recipients and dreamers. during his commencement address to northeastern university. he is a graduate of northeastern illinois, located outside of his district. this is about 30 minutes.


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