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tv   Road to the White House 2020 Poor Peoples Campaign Presidential Forum  CSPAN  June 17, 2019 10:56pm-12:30am EDT

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the senate foreign relations subcommittee looks up the situation in ukraine five years after russia's annexation of crimea. that gets underway at 2:30 eastern. you can also watch online at or listen on the free c-span radio app. announcer: the house will be in order. announcer: for 40 years, c-span has been providing unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. 1979, c-spanble in is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. announcer: now, more from the poor people's campaign event with democratic presidential candidates, starting with mayor
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wayne messam from florida. he is followed by senators bernie sanders and kamala harris. let's right, everybody, start back again. is and irend theohar are going to hold it down, reverend barber taking a bit of a break. let's get that walk on music playing and have mayor wayne messam come to this stage. ♪ all right, mr. mayor, you four minutes begins right now. mayor messam: good evening, everyone. miramar, florida mayor wayne messam and i am so excited to be in front of you today, not just as a candidate for the united states, but the odds were against me.
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i am the son of immigrants. my parents were immigrants from jamaica. my father was a contract sugarcane cutter that labored in a field of south florida, cutting sugarcane for $.75 per row. my mother actually was a cook that went out in those fields and fed the sugarcane workers, so i know what it means to be poor, and i know what the spirit of this campaign is about. i went on to florida state university on an academic and football scholarship, where i played for a legendary coach and won our first national championship as a wide receiver. had a brief stint with the cincinnati bengals, but when my nfl career was cut short, my wife and i started a management business, where we are a climate conscious builder in florida, one of the fastest growing minority contractors in the state.
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i became miramar's first black mayor in 2016, where he unseated a 16 year incumbent. we are solving some challenges in our city. i am suing florida because the nra-backed statute prohibits mayors from passing sensible gun legislation in cities. i could be removed from office by the governor, personally find , and the city could be exposed to lawsuits. i am still in florida so we can have more of a say in gun control. miramar has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. we are beating out china, where companies are deciding tuesday in the city. more fortune 500 companies then eddie city in all of south florida. i am running for president because i see the american dream that i am living today because of the sacrifices of my late parents, who came to this country to chase the american dream, is slipping away for far
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too many americans, especially poor people. i am running because washington is broken. they are not solving the issues that are plaguing our country. i was the third candidate to propose a complete forgiveness of student loan debt in this country. other candidates have come out with more moderate proposals, but i want to eradicate all $1.5 trillion of this debt that is burdening our country, and i am glad to lead on that issue. moving forward as a nation, we must talk about the plight of poor people. as we will discuss more about this later, it really boils down to having the political will to solve the challenges of this nation, and until we have the political will, these problems will persist. i thank you for having me here today. no, i am not one of the candidates you will see in the town halls yet. i am still waiting on my
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invitation, but i will continue to press forward and i look forward to having a meaningful discussion to talk about these issues. thank you so much for having me. ms. reid: thank you, mr. mayor. we are going to have reverend theoharis start is off. rev. theoharis: there is 140 million people in this country who are poor, suffering, in daily emergency and crisis. in the 2016 elections, there were 26 debates and not one took up the issue of property, the erosion of voting rights, and other really important issues. what do you have to say about the problems of poverty, how we are going to solve them, and how you are going to raise this issue of poverty, not just here, but everywhere you go in this candidacy and beyond? mayor messam: thank you for the question.
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my candidacy and my campaign is for the voiceless, which includes poor people. i am not one of these candidates that was born with a silver spoon. my parents came to this country with no more than a fifth grade education. in south bend, florida, just outside lake okeechobee, the poverty level is nearly 50%, so i understand the plight of that. growing up poor, i understand what it means to do without, not to have, do not even be able to dream. here in america, the greatest country in the world, there is no reason why the average american, especially poor and hard-working american people, cannot have the opportunity to achieve their american dream. that's why i propose to forgive student loan debt. that's why my proposal to teach young kids on how to be entrepreneurs so they can monetize their skills and assets
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, to be able to not depend on a system and economy that doesn't work for them. but until we as elected officials stand up and fight for the voiceless, things won't happen. when i became the mayor of miramar, even though the state of florida prevents me from being able to pass a living wage, we still stood up for our workers, where we passed a living wage, because i believe our workers should not have to work more than one job to take care of their families. that's the least we can do for civil servants that are getting up at midnight when our sewer systems break down. so why can't washington do the same? as president, i would have the legal will to ensure we have -- i would have the political will to ensure we have a budget that reflects the plight of this country. when we say we want to provide health care for everybody, we can do that. no one questions the amount of money we spend on our defense.
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no one questions the amount of tax credits we give to multinational corporations and the richest americans that don't benefit the poor at all. towe have the political will build a southern wall on our border, why can't we have the same political will to provide health care for people? why don't we have the same political will to provide a working education system for our young people? and why can't we have the same political will to free the shackles of this student loan debt syndrome that we have? as president, i will work hard to make sure all americans, specifically the poor, can have a fair shake. rev. theoharis: we released the poor people's moral budget today. in this document, we talk about the different demands of our campaign and how much it will cost and what the benefits, the investment is. lie ofs a hole in the
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scarcity and says that if we tax a few, if we invest and know that that investment will reap lots of, and if we curb our military spending, we can indeed have everything that this campaign, this 140 million people need, and a whole lot more. can you speak to what you believe and where you stand on this issue of scarcity and is we willnd how it go about making life better? it sounds like you are interested in that. form thee going to policies, have the platform that comes into reality so it is not just good talk but, we are walking the walk? mayor messam: the thing with scarcity is a farce. i can speak on what i have done as a mayor, not as a washington-elected official
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fighting a gridlock of a very divided congress. our defense system -- we spend in this country nearly 60% of our national budget on defense. similar to a city, public safety is about 70% of our budget, between fire and police. to be honest, it is difficult to tell the police chief and fire chief that you can't have certain assets in this year's budget that is increasing by 15%. we have so many other social, infrastructure needs in our community. but you have got to have the plea to go will to say, -- have got to have the political will to say, we will do without certain things, in other words compromising on national defense , to focus on the needs of poor people. when we address the needs of poor people and working class, hard-working people, that is really an economic stimulus because of the productivity that will come out of ensuring that
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people have opportunity. i get sick and tired of people saying, where is the money going to come from? that is just a statement to say we are not willing to pay for it. because whenever we want a new war craft, what happens? we buy it. how many times have you heard this president talk about a new aircraft that is going to be the best and beyond any other military defense system? but until the american people begin to demand things that are going to help us as americans, so we have the right size and balance and priority, i am not saying we neglect our national security. that is our number one goal, to protect our sovereignty and protect our nation and interest. but there is a lot of waste and a lot of excessive spending on the defense side. pointing to your budget that you proposed in terms of making just some investment into people that need a hand up, that it will
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actually benefit this nation moving forward. rev. theoharis: i am going to follow-up before we go to the audience. i have asked this of other candidates coming as outsiders. there are four current or former mayors. two went on to be in congress. there are candidates like yourself coming from outside the washington system. not outside of politics, but outside the washington system. how would you come into a washington where the defense industrial system is humongous and very powerful, where moneyed interests are very powerful, and where the 140 million people who are poor and low income are not very powerful? do not have a multibillion-dollar lobby to get their way. how would president wayne messam overcome those obstacles to enact cuts to defense and increase spending to alleviate poverty? mayor messam: i think one of the problems is there is too much of an allegiance as it relates to
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partisan politics. as a mayor, we deal in them done nonpartisan environment. we deal with the issue of solving problems. at the end of the day, it is about solving problems for the american people and our constituents. coming into washington without the burden of necessarily having to pay these allegiances that many of the candidates that actually are beholden to. for example, we talk about myself as a candidate. i had to start from scratch. congressional candidates can transfer the millions of dollars they have in their presidential campaigns. so the question becomes, who dded that pot with millions of dollars? who do they answer to? a candidate like myself does not have to answer to those interests. yes, i would love the millions of dollars so i can staff up, but i would also challenge them
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to push back. the 140 million poor people, they are powerful, because they vote and because they have a voice. stay silentck and and allow special interests to run shot on every issue that is important to us, then shame on us. million, faith in 140 because if we show up to the ands and voice our opinions do forums like this, it brings these issues to the forefront, even if we have to shame washington. whatever it takes, we must do what we have to do to ensure we are working for the american people. let's bring in an audience member, anna blackburn. here with kelly smith from new york, where kelly volunteers with the new sanctuary coalition, fighting
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against the deportation and mistreatment of immigrants. i am the latino immigrant liaison for the north carolina incp, and every day i work the forefront with immigrant families who are under constant threat and attack, and after work, i go home to my community, where we have experienced one of .he largest waves of i.c.e raids in the country this year. nationnts help keep this running, yet we are told we are criminals because of who we are and where we come from. my question is, what are you planning to do for a just immigration system that not only protects families from detention and deportation, but ensures that immigrants live with dignity in this country?
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latinosst attacks on and other immigrants of color. [applause] mayor messam: thanks so much for your question. this topic really hits home for me, being the son of immigrants. no question about it, this current administration when it comes to immigration policies is nothing short of being racist, and i will call a spade a spade. the dignity and enforcement of our broken immigration system is deplorable. as president, i will push for comprehensive immigration reform. we have over 11 million undocumented individuals in this country that are helping to build this country, contributing to our economy. this is the hypocrisy. you hear the washington pundits talk about immigrants like they are thieves, criminals. they take advantage of our labor. they take advantage of all the economic contributions that
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immigrants provide to this country. they are paying taxes, but they don't get a chance to benefit from it. they are living in the shadows, so we have to bring them out. we hypocrisy is this -- if really were so stringent and hard-core on immigration, why don't we have the harshest corporate tax penalties and criminal penalties on corporations that exploit illegal labor? we don't. corporations get to benefit from it. but yet washington gets to play kickball, kick the can down the road, and washington will not solve this challenge. i will do everything, even through executive order as well as working with congress, so that we reform immigration. because we have to get individuals out of the shadows. because when people are out of the shadows, they can live with dignity.
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in my own city, i have an i.c.e. facility, and i have caught literal help because in -- literal hell because people think a local federal government -- a local government can control a federal agency, and we cannot. until president trump got into office, nobody knew the i.c.e. was in our city. individuals came once a month to check in to keep compliance with their requirements, for some petition they filed to change their status. since president trump came into office, they had to check in three more times. it caused a public safety issue. babies, mothers, fathers coming at 5:00, 6:00 in the morning. hundreds of individuals standing outside. you know south florida is hot. in the elements, no cover, not enough restroom facilities or water. we had to force the federal government to make those simple provisions. local government should never be
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in a situation where we are fighting for the humanity of individuals who are just trying to live their lives and happen to be out of immigration status. as president, i am not talking about an experience from policy or legislation i would propose, i am talking about first being the son of immigrants, as well as fighting this issue as mayor in my city. >> lemme ask a quick follow-up to that question. in florida, the town next door to miramar. florida is a contradiction in a lot of ways. there is a lot of immigrants, sons and daughters of immigrants. there is a lot of poor people. it has one of the highest rates of uninsured in the country. yet at the moment, it is governed almost exquisitely by a party that opposes immigration reform. --h of your senators above oppose comprehensive immigration reform.
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marco rubio was for it, then switched. your governor just signed a bill that would prevent any sanctuary cities from being formed -- mayor messam: which there are not any in florida. ms. reid: it was just to send a message, clearly, even though there are not any sanctuary cities. how do you have that conversation? a big component of poverty in this country is that even if you pass anti-property legislation, there is one party that insists if you are undocumented, you cannot benefit from anything, health care cannot be accessed by immigrants. how do you start the conversation with people who are so diametrically opposed? mayor messam: that's why it is so important to pass legislation that will reform immigration to provide a pathway to citizenship. statusple in a legal where they can benefit from the social net in terms of access to health care, being able to get financial aid for college, so
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they do not have to continue to live the horrors of being out of status. in the state of florida, which is ground zero -- you must win floyd i do a shot at the presidency. the margins are so slim when it comes down to 20,000 or 30,000 votes that decide statewide elections. that's why it is so important for the democratic party to have its nominee win the presidency, because it can begin to stem the tide in terms of changing the challenges that undocumented individuals are facing right now. as president, i will do everything in my power to work, coerce, as well as through executive order to make the flight of undocumented immigrants important. at the end of the day, it boils down to education as well, not just education for immigrants and undocumented individuals, but for poor people. when you provide education,
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exposure with social net, we can solve poverty. i will repeat that. education with exposure and opportunity, with some form of social net, we can end poverty in this country. but as a country, we have to say , do we want to be a nation that will allow poverty to exist? while the richest of americans continue to enjoy the spoils on the backs of hard-working, middle-class as well as poor people? >> so in the campaign, we start with this penetration point of voter suppression. we have seen these states have enacted racist gerrymandering, racist voter suppression laws, especially in the south, but other parts of the country as well, are the states with the highest poverty levels, the highest child poverty levels, the elected officials often
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don't pass medicaid expansion. have things like not letting people raise the living wage. so we see this connection between systemic racism and poverty, and then we tied it with ecological devastation, the fact that those most impacted by climate change, by pollution are poor and marginalized communities. and militarism, the $.53, the almost 60% of the military budget. to not the silos of these issues, but how you see them coming together and what you would do to relate to all of them as a whole, the interlocking injustices? mayor messam: one of my solutions i am proposing to capture all of this in a way where it can get through a divided congress -- as a general contractor, i am an accredited professional. it is the highest designation
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that the green council issues were professional infrastructure. i think infrastructure can be a pathway to deal with a lot of these issues. it will deal with climate action, climate change. it will deal with jobs, and it will deal with putting people, not only to work, but dealing with issues in our local environments. if we prioritize our infrastructure needs and we can pass an infrastructure package that will deal with the most vulnerable systems in rural tomunities, the urban core, make our country more resilient. but by positioning those dollars and resources to the people that actually live in those areas. we have spent trillions of dollars in government contracts every year, and only certain companies get those jobs. thatabout the mom-and-pops
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should be participating in those contract opportunities? when we put local people and companies to work, they hire people from the community, hard-working people. if you live in louisiana, a contractor from montana shouldn't be coming into your state, building or infrastructure, bringing subcontractors and taking that money back to montana. louisiana should be benefiting from that. as the mayor, i went around the country as the president of the black caucus and i taught hundreds of other elected officials on how to legally establish minority and women business on contracts -- business-owned contracts so they can give opportunities to the contracts in their communities, because i know my local contractors higher my residence. and if they go to work, they convey their mortgage, pay their children's tuition. they are patronizing our
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restaurants and building our economy. so if we tackle infrastructure and we ensure and incentivize those contractors to come from local communities where the infrastructure is going to benefit, hiring those local individuals in the community, not only will we be able to act on climate change, because we will become more resilient, we will put people to work, and when people go to work, they have a sense of dignity and pride and can take care of their families. >> with a couple of minutes, i am going to ask the question that reverend barber has been asking this evening. you experienced firsthand the challenge of getting into these debates. there are 24 candidates running at a limit to how many people who can get on stage. one of the things that has not happened in any recent presidential cycles any of us can remember is a specific debate on poverty and the intersecting issues of poverty,
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militarism, and voter suppression. do you believe there should be a specific debate on those issues? and would you push the dnc to hold one? mayor messam: of course i think that should be a specific issue. when you are talking about nearly half of america is either in poverty or for, it is a very important issue because it is a broad net across the country. when you talk about campaigns, almost every candidate that has been offered a town hall has qualified for the debates. i am still pushing to make the july debate. if you want to help me get to the debate, visit waynefor because i will tell you, you will not hear candidates talk about these issues like i well, because i am a mayor who deals with poverty, and mayor who works hard to give minority and women owned companies contract opportunities.
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because that's what it's going to take. i am about empowering american people. it is more than just having a hand up. i want to teach you to fish so you can catch your own fish and teach your kids how to fish. every child should be taught how to be an entrepreneur so they can monetize their talents and skills. that's the kind of president i want to be, and i will have the legal will to push these issues because i am not back by big money or special interests. 140 foured by you, the and hard-working americans and middle-class americans that just want to achieve the same american dream that attracted my parents to this country. >> thank you so much, mayor wayne messam from miramar, florida. [applause] two more candidates to go.
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we got some people that got up. >> hello, everybody. rev. barber: everybody, you have done real well. are you glad we are pushing this into the narrative? [applause] are you glad we had a forum and not a campaign rally? we have two more candidates. you must protect the integrity of this campaign. the whole world is watching. we have said everybody gets the same welcome and the same thank
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you. am not saying this because of any one person, i have been saying it all day. if you care about the integrity of this campaign, you will do , because we are here to listen. i may have decisions to make, where you should be clapping is the people asking the questions. that's a you should clap for. we listen -- and if you don't do will the media misinterpret this and our issues won't get out, and how many of you know when you are in the movement, the movement is bigger than any one person?
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the movement is bigger than any one election. look at your neighbor, say, neighbor, the movement is bigger than any one person. are we ready? we got two more. i know you are tired. i had to step off a little bit. can you hang in there for two more? all right. >> the other thing that every candidate gets, they get the same walk on song. let's play that music as we welcome senator bernie sanders to the stage. ♪ [applause] >> senator, you are minutes begins now -- your four minutes
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begins now. sen. sanders: thank you very much for inviting me, and let me thank reverend barber and all of you for doing what has to be done. today and the last 45 years, we heard a whole lot of talk and speeches and a whole lot of party platforms, but you know what goes on? today, the average worker in america is making exactly the same wages that he or she made 25 years ago. today in america, you got three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of america. today in america, we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right. have in america, we hundreds of thousands of bright young people who cannot afford
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to go to college, and millions of others who are leaving school deeply in debt. so after all of the speeches of 25 years, where we are today is with more income and wealth inequality than at any time since the 1920's, and in the midst of all of that disparity, there is a racial disparity, which means that the african-american and latino families are doing far worse than white families. so how do we change all of that, other than giving speeches? well, you are the answer. view, there will never be any real change in this country unless there is a political revolution. and that means that millions of people have got to stand up and
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fight and take on the corporate interests, the billionaire class, the 1%, and tell them that in this country, our economy and our government belong to all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors. changeway we bring about is that all of us band together and fight, and if we don't do that, all the legislation in the world and all the speeches in the world will not accomplish that goal. so let us go forward together with a new vision that transforms this country into a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just a few. thank you. >> all right. you may take a seat here, senator. the first question will come from --
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so i have been talking a lot today and over this campaign about just that. butave to do the rhetoric, the rhetoric has to lead to mobilizing and voter registration. message where we connect systemic racism, and by that we don't mean cultural racism, but policy racism like voter suppression, american incarceration, high poverty schools, tackling immigrants and native people, then we connect that to systemic poverty, and we point out that concentration of poverty, in run numbers there are more white people. we connect that to ecological devastation, we connect that to militarism in the war economy that is undermining, in so many
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ways, our ability to thrive. then we connected to this larger narrative which has made it to the white house, where if you are against a woman's right to choose, against gay people, four somehowr taxes, that it's a great platform. to say -- we talk like that when we go to eastern kentucky. same message. we talk like that when we go to andh carolina, 99% white 89% republican. people say we couldn't organize up there, and we proved them wrong. but we took the same message, the truth about racism, and we say to people we want living wages, we want health care, we did youe education -- know that the people in your
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state in your congress that are voting against these primarily get their power because of racialized voter suppression and gerrymandering in the south? that is how they get power. the question i have for you -- how were your candidacy in your presidency, the way you present issues, go south and communicate, because if they ever figure out that if you are white and can't pay your light bill and black and can't pay your light bill, we are all stuck in the dark. how would your campaign go to those places and help to build those coalitions, not by going around racism and poverty but by going through it and being honest? [applause] i think that's an enormously
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important question, and it's what we have been doing in this campaign. we have been going to parts of the country where donald trump won, and we say to those white workers, you think african and immigrants are your enemies? well, you've got it backwards. take a look at wall street, the drug companies, the insurance companies, and the military-industrial complex. do is tryogues always to divide people up so that their anger in their frustration comes out on minority people who have no political power. what our campaign is about is exactly the opposite. togethernging people and taking on trump exclusively. he wants to divide us up, we come together around it.
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, percentagewise, more african-americans and latinos earned low wages, but in america, numerically speaking more whites earned low wages, more whitestone have health insurance, more whites can't afford to send their kids to college. trump job is to take on the businessman and his racism and his xenophobia and his religious bigotry, and bring people together. that works for all people. that means we should not to be the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. not pay that we should the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs or have more people in jail than any
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other country on earth. to answer your question, the way we win and what this campaign is about is raising a political revolution, that understands that not only do we have to win this election, but that's not enough. to transform this country, millions of people, black-and-white and latino, native american and asian american, have got to come together, until the people have that the power structure will no longer continue. thank you so much. >> one follow-up to that question. we have tried to work hard in this campaign, and we have seen you and others do it, to say that yes, trump is the problem, extremist republicans, but for the last 40 or 50 years we have seen democrats not even say the word poverty. [applause]
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democrats have elections and prominent campaigns and only talk about race when it is cultural, not talk about things like voter suppression, and then connect that to the poverty. the question we ask every in 2016 there were 26 presidential debates in the primary and the general election. 140 million people in poverty, not one debate was a debate to address poverty. we had less voting rights today that we had 50 years ago because of what happened. dedicated toe was systemic racism, starting with voter suppression. we have asked every candidate, will your candidacy push for and how will you do it to save all the corporate media?
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we need some debates, at least one, and this is not a black debate, this is an american debate, where we address in that debate systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation as a can freethat america the intersectional injustices and how they are hurting all of us and can they push for that because we need a fold, televised bait. [applause] >> to answer your question, yes, of course. is many people are giving up on politics. they never hear the issues where there is systemic racism, whether it is voter suppression, whether it's
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working for nine dollars an hour, not having health care, not having childcare. they don't hear those issues being discussed. i think your point is that we have to bring those issues that make sense, the life-and-death issues -- let me mention something. i don't know if anybody here knows this. life expectancy in this country between rich and poor is 15 years. and there wealthy community here in washington, d.c., the likelihood is, on average, you will live 15 years longer than if you were living in a low income community which is by a large a racial issue as well. how is a nation can we tolerate wealthy people living 15 years longer than poor people? those are the issues that have
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got to be discussed from a racial perspective, from a moral perspective, and from an economic perspective. >> let's go to the audience. where is reverend patty? there you are. [applause] >> my name is nancy patty. -- thisbaptist memorial is my friend who will quickly introduce herself. >> i'm a community organizer in tallahassee, florida. longed for the voting restriction rates for those who were formerly incarcerated. [applause] it has been as, laboratory for a laboratory for modern-day racist voting suppression and gerrymandering.
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i remember in 2016 when the fourth circuit court of appeals shutdown of voter suppression law in north carolina, saying it's positive black voters with almost surgical precision. this is not just happening in north carolina. we know that all over this country racialized voter suppression tactics are being used to keep poor people and people of color out of the electoral process and to give power to extremists who then pass policies that hurt poor people. president,o know, as what will you do to address the systemic policy racism a voter suppression and expand our voting rights? [applause]
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>> there are republican governors all over this country who are suppressing the vote of political cowards. participate in a election,, and open because they know that if poor people, people of color, and young people are allowed to vote and do vote in large numbers, they will lose. those powerful republican governors but i have said for years. if you are too afraid to participate in free, fair, and open elections, get another job. addition, in my view, the solution to this issue is not complicated, and this is
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exactly what i will fight for as president of the united states. if you are 18 years of age in america and you are a citizen of this country, you have the right to vote, end of discussion. and i think iso, am the only candidate will tell you this, obviously it goes without saying that if somebody has paid his or her debt to society and spent time in jail and got out, of course those people deserve the right to vote. [applause] but let me take it a step further. i have been criticized widely for saying this. this is what i believe. america,e a citizen of you have the right to vote even if you are in jail. [applause]
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questionoting is not a of good people are bad people. it is a question of maintaining universal right to vote for all citizens. if you commit a crime, you pay the price. so what we have got to do, understanding that we have one of the lowest voter turnout's for a major country, we have got to make it easier for people to vote, not harder for people to vote. >> very quickly on the same the citizens of florida had a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for 1.7 million, approximately, people. [applause] campaign -- a lot of your campaign is based on grassroots movements around the country.
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would you utilize your campaign infrastructure to register voters around the country? know,i think all of you the people of florida, as the result of a lot of work by the on a majorthers, w victory -- 65%, 66%? a huge victory. and what is the legislature going to do right now? they are working overtime to essentially rescind what the people of florida voted for. because they are cowards. because they don't have the guts to allow people to vote because they understand that their for billionaires and cuts to education and health care, not what the people want. i believe the future of this country begins with defeating donald trump, and i believe that the best way to defeat donald
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trump's to register millions of young people, working people, people of color, people involved in the political process in a way that we have never seen in our lifetime. we are playing with the future of this country in the world. if you are asking me will my campaign be aggressively involved in voter registration, you can bet i certainly will. >> ok. years, --e last 50 two responses by most of our politicians is either pity or punish the poor. can you tell us what your plan comprehensive, fully implementable immediately, to eradicate poverty, racism,
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ecological devastation? >> 30 seconds or less? [laughter] here's what i believe. just gave a speech on this subject a week ago. and what i did was pick up on what franklin delano roosevelt said back in 1944. he says we have freedoms in this country, the freedom of speech in the freedom of the press, and that's very important. but we have got to go further as a nation, and that means that economic rights are human rights. got it? mean just does not that you can vote every two years. that's important. being free means that you have a wage,at pays you a living
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that's being free. when youe means that are sick you go to the doctor and you don't go bankrupt when you leave the hospital. that's being free. being free means that you have 2019, to, in the year get all the education that you need, regardless of your income. that's freedom. freedom is when you turn on the water faucet in your home, and i was recently in denmark, south carolina -- [applause] we got somebody from denmark. i was in the home of a woman, when she turns on the water, it's not clean, it's not drinkable. it turns out there are thousands of homes throughout america in that position. freedom means you can and must
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live in a clean climate. will andeans that we systemic racism in america. freedom means that if you are undocumented in america you do not have to live in fear because we will pass comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] is, for us to begin to think about what freedom in the richest country in the history of the world, half of the people in our country should not be forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck. 500,000 americans should not be sleeping on the street. millions of working class toents should not be forced lack affordable childcare for their kids. aboutt this campaign is
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is not only winning the democratic primary and defeating donald trump. this campaign is about transforming this country. -- itcreating a nation was all of our people having a decent standard of living. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, senator. i want to dig a little bit into this. i do believe that we are in a time that's really about the heart and soul of this nation, not just the next election, and i know that the issue of poverty and economics and racism in voting rights go hand-in-hand. a dear friend of mine, a brother him to cancer in january. i lost another to the water of the hudson river just a few weeks ago when he had a cardiac
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event and slipped beneath the water. he was a phd. medical doctor. around the issue of systemic racism and gerrymandering in the denial of health care in southern states like north carolina, he makes several points. one, policies are killing my people. they are not dying -- wethe estimates are that lose about 30,000 americans every year. because they get to the doctor too late. >> in my state, the legislature has refused to expand medicaid for a number of years. 500,000 people die every year from lack of access to health care. here's the question. and he went all over north carolina.
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even if we register everybody to vote, and we have to do that, we have a situation in the south where because of gerrymandering, racialized gerrymandering, you can have a majority minority group lose the majority of vote for more progressive persons but because of the bleaching of so much soricts -- that a judge recently said that the racial gerrymandering in our state has produced an unconstitutionally constituted legislature. is where are you on the full restoration of the voting rights act? where do you stand on making the issue of racialized gerrymandering and national issue, that all people understand that it hurts and because of the
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racialized gerrymandering that is why you have a legislature turning down living wages and health care. and how will you come into the able to do that? [applause] of course i believe in restoring all the provisions of the voting rights act, and i a week after that terrible rendered, you had attorneys general all over the country figuring out how they could suppress the vote. earlier, we are going to deal with that issue but our job is to make it clear that anybody in this country who is 18 years of age and is a citizen can vote and we will not prevent
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any state in this country from preventing them from voting. this takes place in the north as well. hampshire, they passed legislation deliberately aimed at young people, keeping them from participating in those elections. >> senator sanders, i'm going to do what you did to me. i understand it is in the north but i want the nation to hear these stats. control 13 southern states, virginia to texas, by racialized voter suppression and voter suppression, you can control almost 130 electoral votes, 31% of the u.s. congress, 26 members of the senate, which means you only need 25 of the 37 states and 21% to control the
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congress. then you are able to block -- we know it is in the north but everyone in this room should understand that if we are going to fundamentally change this findry, politicians can't their way around the south and have to go room it. [applause] if i may, i will be in south and you within the week watch me talk about this issue specifically. clearly, like is voter suppression, and attempt to undermine democracy and did night a one person, one vote situation, and as you indicate, in the south especially, it is based on race.
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we are going to end that. weave a radical idea that should live in a country of one person, one vote, where majority rules. a radical idea, but that is what i believe in. ando your question, we will gerrymandering in this country once and for all. >> web states do you plan on going to? >> we have been through georgia, alabama, mississippi, we are going to go all over this country, and we are going to do everything we can to get ordinary people, low income people, involved in the political process. this is the most important election in our lifetime, we
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have got to stand up to trump's divisiveness. this is an election not only for ourselves, not only for our children, but for the future of this planet. this is an election that we blow. and will not thank you all very much. [applause] >> ♪ >> all right. we have one more -- don't walk away, we have one more candidate. all right, one more. is everybody ready?
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we feel that energy? ok. play that song one more time. one more candidate. senator kamala harris. covenant right now. >> ♪ >> all right. four-minuter starts now. thankl first i want to everyone for hosting. it is critically important we
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have this conversation and elevate these issues. four minutes, ok. morality, it's about what is right, what are the key things, and other leaders who teach us the importance of living a life that is not about ourselves but about service to and for others. i think about so many issues that we work on and that i'm working on through that lens. for me, the significance of all of this, the goal is obviously -- i fully intend to win, but i tell people everywhere that for me the measure of our success will more importantly be that at the end of this process we are relevant, that we are relevant in the lives of other people. i was raised by parents active in the civil rights move and and a community that said your
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purpose in life is to give service to others. parents spent full time marching and shouting about justice and fighting for equality and for fairness. contextut that in the of what is morally right, i often think of the parable of the good samaritan. what the teachings are from the it's about how do we define neighbor. treat ournows to neighbor as we want to be treated, but what i like about the book of the good samaritan, it's about defining who is neighbor, understanding that neighbor is not the person who shares your zip code, neighbor is not about the person who lives next door and drives the same kind of car like you do, or the person who has kids at the same school. neighborearn is that is that person you are walking by who is homeless on the street, some child or young
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person who is a runaway and who is vulnerable or who has been exposed to neglect or abuse. neighbor is the refugee who arrives on our shores seeking the support of what should be the strong arms of our nation, and not what we have seen from this administration, who pushes them away and says go back to what you came from. about living in service of others and understanding that we are all each other's brothers and sisters. other, a child, a friend, a mother, father. when i think about them, policy in that context is everything i think about when i think about why i support medicare for all. it's everything i talk about and think about when i say we need to lift up working families. it's everything i think about when i say we need to reform the
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criminal justice system, we need to see what is happening in our country and treat our fellow human beings as we would our neighbor. that is how i think about the issues before us, and i thank you all for your service and your leadership, for this being such a personal cause, to fight for the least among these and to give voice and to lift people up with all they deserve around choice and dignity. >> all right. we are going right to the audience for the first question. there you are. hello. >> hella. come on up. angeles.i'veos
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experienced homelessness, a lack of health care, and joblessness. of will find a lot millennials trying to survive with you options. i wouldas homeless sleep on dirty laundry piles or wouldn't sleep. you might be surprised by how many folks were living there. butight not fit the image, we are part of an entire generation who cannot even afford a place to live. what is your plan to secure decent and affordable housing for all? how will you fix this country's broken infrastructure that is killing poor people? [applause] >> good question. [applause] thank you for your leadership and for your courage and for your strength.
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let's talk about affordable health. it's one of the biggest issues that we talk the least about. we have to deal with it. and 99% of the counties in the united states if you are a minimum-wage worker you cannot afford market rate for one-bedroom apartment. i ams the reality proposing what i call the rent relief act. for renters who are paying more than 30% of their income and rent and utilities, they will receive a tax credit so that they can get through the month. the issuenect it to of what we need to do around equal pay, what we need to do to raise the minimum wage. when we talk about people in we know that the numbers are such that if you pay attention to federal minimum wage, those are property wages. i also support what we need to
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do, and i was marching with folks in vegas a couple days ago about what we need to do to lift up the minimum wage, at least $15. do ise also need to understand that in america americanmost half of families cannot afford a $400 unexpected expense. that could be the car breaks down, a health bill you didn't see coming. $400 could topple the stability of a family. in 99% of theay, counties, minimum-wage workers can't afford a one bedroom apartment. year, 12 million people took out a loan of $400 from the payday lender, in excess of 300% interest. -- i have long
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words and i have curse words and i'm not going to say that because this is a religious gathering -- [laughter] interesting that these supposedly druze and particularly this administration, they rp caulking about how the economy is great and when you ask them how are you measuring the greatness of this economy they point to the stock market. then we ask, do you have another measure for the greatness of this economy? they talk about the unemployment numbers. yes, people are working. they are working two or three jobs. in america nobody should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table. i when i look at this issue, think of it through all of those lenses. you talk about infrastructure. let's deal with that on the macro and how it relates to
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everyday living. unexpectedollar expense can completely topple the stability of half of american families. do you need to buy those tires? because the roads and bridges are falling apart. these issues are connected. infrastructure in the context of if we have a meaningful infrastructure, that's about jobs, improved quality of life for working people who have to travel often two hours one way or another because they can't afford to live in the same place where they work. all of these issues are connected, not to mention building the infrastructure of this nation around water, around what we need to do and what that will create in terms of jobs and
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what it will create in terms of a better standard of living. for folks who deserve to be able to drink clean water and breathe clean air. i appreciate your point, and will also tell you that i worked for years on homeless youth. in san francisco we had so many, did not were lgbtq, who feel safe or welcome or supported. for years i worked on the issue, about making sure folks have a safe place to live. i just want to say to you that i admire your courage and your strength, so thank you. >> all right. i want to continue that conversation about poverty. there's 140 million people who are low income in this country. criminalized, it is perfectly legal to be homeless
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but it is illegal if you move into a house and can't pay the rent. country --d to our what do you have to say about the problem of militarization in our community and abroad and the lie that we can't do better, the lie of scarcity, the lie that people are to blame for their own poverty, the lie that we should fight each other over crumbs instead of having the whole pie? [applause] the idea being that it is a zero-sum game. on the issue of militarization of police, we really need to get communitieshere don't need a lot forstmann respond for what's happening in the community, and having one of
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the smartest races is to help communities have resources and the kind of support that they need to do what they naturally want to do, which is raise their children and have a good quality of life. nothing stops a bullet like a job. i am a big believer in that approach. do,erms of what we need to we are criminalizing poverty -- the su of money bail. have been a leader in the united states senate on this issue, which is the cash money bail system in our country. i believe it is about not only a criminal justice issue but an economic justice issue. thatends up happening is people are charged with the crime and they have been in jail for days or weeks or months waiting to go to trial because
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they can't afford the bail to get out. the person who has money in their back pocket, the same is sitting in jail -- let's talk about how that plays out. let's say a woman is picked up for shoplifting. something of great value, it is considered grand theft. and thes up for bail judge says your bail is $10,000, which is the highest in the united states. her family is sitting in the courtroom. she doesn't have $10,000 in her pocket. her family is thinking we have to get her out. where did they go? they go across the street, across the street from every courthouse in america, the bail bondsman. the bail bondsman says i will help you out, but you have to give me 10% which you will not get back. that's the fee.
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that's $1000. the average american doesn't have $1000 sitting around. can bake friends or let'sp with $1000 say she has young children at home and she's a disabled parent, knowing she doesn't get home cps will take her child away. or maybe there's a job she's missing every day and she is sitting in jail, and she relies on it to pay her rent. what do you think she's likely to do? even if she has a defensible case, wavy options. she is very likely to plead guilty and have a felony record all because she did not have the money to get out. wewhat i'm proposing is reform the criminal justice system, including this issue,
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which is squarely and economic justice issue. the othered question, way in which the criminal justice system is employed in a public-policy way is with immigrants. seeing the mass incarceration of children, including children who will be taken away from their parents. for the most part, they are poor. they are either poor people who were coming here seeking refuge, but even in general, the criminal justice system will target the poor. what could a president duda -- aside from a policy like that -- can you talk about criminal justice in poverty and immigration? >> yes, definitely. have babies sitting in cages because of this administration, talk about morality. that is about
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separating children from their we read recently about that toddler. it's a human rights abuse being committed by the u.s. government. issue ino look at the the context of profit. you know what's happening. especially with this administration. these for-profit private detention facilities and also all the money going to private prisons. and let's be clear about the business model, shall we? , certainess model human beings make money off the incarceration of other human beings. of the firstnt one things i would do would be to get rid of private detention centers and private prisons. we have to take the profit margin out of the issue.
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>> i want to make a statement -- it's a two-part question. that we need some , thatcal repentance republicans need to repent for calling themselves -- they are not acting like the party of abraham lincoln or theodore roosevelt. [applause] and democrats need to repent for theyact that many times have had power over the last 50 years and they walked away from talking about voting rights and issues, andcentral
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they bought into this neoliberalism, trying to be republican like rather than being safe for women and men. what that does is it creates the context for it to exist because if you lose your true self, this can prove people. trump is then iconography of the two often repeated american reality. a few steps forward and way back. we can't just blame it on trump because prior to trump, prior to him, let me say it this way. all the women, raise your hand. ok. all the men. that say you are caucasian or white. all the people who say you are
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asian, mixture. ok. all the millennials. all the people from across this land. somethinggured out and i want to ask you about it. trump, 2010, 26 states passed voter suppression laws. that's 54% of all people of color, 52 senators, 51% of the united states congress before that. after they went on steroids, particularly across the south. trump wins by 30,000 votes but 250,000 were suppressed. he wins in states like north carolina but there were 158 early voting places -- we saw
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what happened with stacey abrams. voter suppression is what kept her out. we figured it out in this room. we figured it out. racialized voter suppression and gerrymandering is not just a black issue. we figured out and we have written it up that the same people that use racialized voter onceession to get elected, they get elected, they are stalwart against health care, living wages, union rights, lgbt rights, women's rights, funding public education. and this is the strange dynamic -- they use ration and racialized voter suppression to get elected, and then they use the power to hurt mostly white people. so we figured it out. if we are really going to transform america, i don't care what the polls say.
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all campaigns get polls, this is the top issue, this is the top issue. we figured out that if the candidates do not raise a real conversation about how racialized voter suppression and gerrymandering is hurting all of us and undermining many of the agenda items that 80% of americans want but we can't get because of the way these legislatures are being unconstitutionally -- here's the question. do you see that? and how is your campaign going to help in elevating the issue of racialized voter suppression, racialized gerrymandering, not just a black issue that you talk about the naacp but you talk about it to all america and all american knows it's our problem? [applause] >> that's right. and to add to your point, if i
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talk about my bill reform bill, it was one of the first bills, when i got to the u.s. senate about two years ago, i knew it was a nonpartisan issue so i started knocking on some doors and i ended up knocking on the door of a republican by the name of rand paul. bill said i've got this and i know you've shown some interest in the past and criminal justice work and i'd like to talk to you about it. i explained the terms similar to how i explained it a few minutes ago. he said he would cosponsor the bill with me. then we did an op-ed in one of the major newspapers. it got published and it was i think on a thursday or friday. -- he is stillng good with this.
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so i said how are you doing? our people responding? said, appalachia loves it. point, we haver so much more in common than what separates us. more inple have so much common than what separates us. how i intend to deal with it on our campaign -- i've been dealing with it throughout my career, which is to be very mother who is in a rural part of kentucky, when they wake up in the middle of the night they have the same thought. when they are trying to run to the emergency room with that db2 has a fever that's out of
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control, they are experiencing the same thing when they know they cannot afford that doctor's visit. they have health insurance because they are among the working poor. rights,ssue of voting it's exactly right. whatever happens in shelby in 2013, it's all up and down the country. it's not just in the south. we have seen it in the dakotas with students and native americans and what ends up happening to people as they vote against the entrance of those they represent. >> i want to ask follow-up -- how your campaign is working to build a coalition between whites, blacks, and latinos in the south. the reason i keep pushing the south -- we have people from hawaii and washington state in kansas but they recognize something -- if you control 13 former confederate states, you
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control 170 electoral votes. if you control them you control 31% of the house of representatives, 26 of the united states senate, and the only way you can control 40% of -- many of them are unorganized but the only way you can control voters through suppression and racialized gerrymandering. we have to stand in front of america's face -- do you want the southern sundial to have this kind of control under the guise of voter integrity when it's nothing but voter suppression? which allows them to have the control to block all these other issues. we are challenging candidates to go south and build space for coalitions -- do you believe that is necessary? >> absolutely. just a few days ago i was in
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alabama talking with folks about a number of issues including climate change. alabama wholks in see it in their backyard. absolutely, and i believe that -- i have always believed, congressional delegations go all over the world and they talked to members of congress -- i that there's a very well-planned congressional delegation for appalachia because the media has skewed the face of poverty in america. is poverty in america impacts everybody. i don't need to tell you what you already know.
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40% of people in poverty in america are white. in fact that some have labeled as the welfare queen, that was all about racialized in poverty, and we have to continue to aggressively work against that. >> and will you go to the networks and say we need to have at least one debate that connects systemic racism with systemic poverty, go on live tv? >> i love that, yes, that would be fantastic. harris, thatmala brings us to the end of your time, and that brings us to the end of the forum. i want to thank you so much for being here. you get some walkoff music, though. come on, dj. thank you so much for being here. >> don't go anywhere yet. >> don't leave yet.
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we want to thank all of these candidates for being here. don't leave, don't leave. ♪ >> we thank all of them. let's think the >> reverend dr. list the harris. let's think all of our question asking audience. you fore people around building this movement that is just beginning. thank everyone for live streaming this all over the
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world. and before we go, pick up your this campaignse at the end of the day is about turning on the light, and we protest hard, we challenge politicians hard, but every now and then we party hard. something dj to crank a littledy deserves something. everybody's got a right, a place under the sun. high-end hearing it yet. come on, dj. >> there we go. >> bring it up. >> ♪ [indiscernible]
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announcer: here's a look at our life coverage tuesday. on c-span, robert lighthizer testifies before the senate finance committee about u.s. trade policy, including the recent agreement between the u.s., mexico, and canada.
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that's followed by legislative business at 2:00, when members are expected to continue work on a 2020 spending bill for defense, hhs, and other federal agencies. members of congress and the acting head of the food and drug administration will talk about the latest developments in cancer treatment and prevention, followed by the senate at 10:00 eastern with more debate and votes on executive and judicial nominations. in the evening, the presidents kickoff reelection. then the first hearing on reducing health care costs, then russian activities in ukraine. 1979, a small network rolled out with the big idea. let viewers make up their own minds. c-span opened the doors for washington policy to all to see, bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. a lot has changed in those


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