tv Road to the White House 2020 Beto O Rourke in Ames Iowa CSPAN July 3, 2019 5:51am-6:33am EDT
>> on the fourth of july joe and his wife will hold an event in iowa. watch live thursday at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> on tuesday, 2020 democratic presidential candidate beto o'rourke spoke with iowans at a house party in ames. he spoke about his trip to ciudad juarez, and the situation of the mexico border. this is about one hour. the situation of the mexico border. this is about one hour. [chatter]
[cheers and applause] >> [inaudible] is this working? i thought to myself, who does beto o'rourke remind me of? three people said robert kennedy. i said maybe, you know. he's tall, he's handsome. [indiscernible] not just because his given name is robert. like robert kennedy, beto o'rourke is tough, hardworking, and courageous. courageous. as attorney general, robert kennedy took on the mob. i remember. i was a kid. it was pretty scary stuff.
and as a third term congressman from texas, robert francis "beto" o'rourke took on the most disliked, and i might add the meanest, long-term senator from texas, ted cruz. [applause] >> who? [laughter] but also, robert francis "beto" o'rourke has taken on the most dishonest, immoral -- >> trading out. [laughter] >> start over. >> immoral -- i want to back up in that sentence. [laughter] it turns out that it was just a trial run when he went after ted cruz. beto o'rourke decided to take on the most dishonest, immoral, and incompetent president in the
history of the united states of america, donald trump. and beto is like another strong bipartisan leader, and another robert. there are a lot of people here gray.ght remember bob i worked with him on a diversity day at my daughter's middle school in des moines. the two of us worked pretty hard and check to see how many kids were from foreign countries or their parents were from foreign countries. we had 54. we were shocked. we ended up buying flags and we flew flags, and they still fly in the cafeteria there. we got flags from all the countries -- i might add, except for one, tajikistan. and their two boys made their own flag and brought it in.
it was fantastic. this man is like bob gray. that is why i support him. it is like i knew him when he was younger. beto o'rourke not only cares about himself, he not only respects every american's constitutional rights and is loyal to his country, he also cares about the vulnerable and needy, and in particular, the immigrant families that have been separated on the border. to me, that's one of the most offensive and horrific things i've ever seen in this country.
i can't believe it, every day, i can't believe it. but i know that with beto o'rourke as our president, those children will be reunited with their parents. beto o'rourke represents the best of what america is, the best of what iowans are, and the ray date, and the best of who we are as people. i am very honored to introduce beto o'rourke. [cheers and applause] mr. o'rourke: joan, thank you. that was incredibly kind and very important to focus us on the moral issue of this moment right now, which happens to be very close to home for us in el paso, texas. i'm so grateful that all the way from ames, iowa, you are trying to make sure we pay attention to what is happening in our name on the u.s.-mexico border at this
moment, and not just now at this moment. we met earlier in the campaign and shared contact information. you've been staying in touch with me in making sure that i am focused on that, and making sure that i bring other americans into this conversation and into an understanding about just what is happening at this moment of truth. so i'm grateful to you and to dan for opening up your home, making sure all of us could join together today, not for candidate, not for a political party, but for our country. that is what has brought us all out at this moment, and so we thank you. i want to thank ross, who greeted us as we came in. ross, are you here? >> i am down here! [laughter] mr. o'rourke: there's ross. please come forward so everyone can see you. ross is on the ballot august 6 for the statehouse here in iowa. [applause] mr. o'rourke: you never, ever want to ascribe motive, but you have to ask yourself why kim reynolds set the election date two weeks before students come
back into classes at iowa state. if that is an attempt at voter suppression, then it is incumbent on all of us to overcome that suppression by not just voting but by making sure we are getting in touch with our classmates, coworkers, friends, family members, to make sure we bring them to the polls on august 6, a very decisive election for iowa. the only way that we have the basis to build a majority going into 2020. so grateful that you are running, ross. so grateful for every one of you who is supporting him. let's make sure we get everyone else out to the polls on august 6. thank you so much. appreciate it. [applause] mr. o'rourke: so many friendly people. we just flew in from texas. we went from el paso to houston, from houston to des moines, and in des moines at the airport, we were picked up by mustafa in an
rv. first time we have had a chance to travel in an rv in the campaign and in part, we were in the rv because we've got the entire o'rourke family. this is my wife amy, next to her is ulysses, molly, and henry. [applause] 12, 11, and eight years old. the parents here in the room know what this is like. as we were driving, there is this beautiful lightning storm and the stuff we are not so familiar with in the chihuahuan desert that you all call rain. [laughter] we make the kids put their electronics down and look outside the window at this beautiful countryside that we were driving through. they were it what to keep it together for about 1 15 minutes, before they were reaching and itching for the electronics, in other words providing some birth control for
mustafa. you thought twice about having kids of his own. after the 45 minute drive over here. [laughter] and this isay, something that i know that if joan were in el paso, she would have joined us, we went across the paseo del norte bridge connecting el paso to our sister city, ojuarez. these cities form the largest by national community in the western hemisphere. 3 million of us joined, not separated, by the rio grande river. it is extraordinary and it is the source of so much of our success, if you measure it economically, for the quality of life we have come to enjoy in el paso, or the fact that my hometown is one of the safest cities in the united states of america. it has been for 20 years running.
before there was a wall, after there was a wall -- in fact, a little bit less safe after there was a wall, and we are safe because we're a city of immigrants and refugees and we are joined at the hip literally with mexico and ciudad juarez. what is happening now on that -- that is the source of our strength, and i would argue, our security. what is happening now on that bridge is that when families make this 2000-mile journey from honduras or el salvador or guatemala, some of the deadliest places on the planet today, places that are also experiencing historic droughts, what they are trying to grow is not producing anything for those communities. they cannot feed themselves and they are having to leave. they are doing what any human being would do in the same set of conditions. they make it all the way here to the united states border where texas meets chihuahua. and in an unprecedented move, this administration does not allow them to follow our own asylum laws, to set foot in the united states, to cross the international boundary line on that bridge and to seek asylum,
which, as you may know, does not guarantee them lifelong access to the united states. they are not going to be able to take anyone's benefits or place in school or job. it just allows them to lawfully petition for asylum, especially if they can prove they are not able to return to their home country without endangering themselves or their kids. what this administration has done is stop them from being able to set foot in this country and told them to remain in juarez whichiudad in itself, is not the safest place in the world today. in fact, within the last nine years, in 2010, 2011, ciudad juarez was the deadliest place on the planet bar none.
these refugees, penniless strangers in a strange land speaking neither english or spanish in some cases, many speaking an indigenous language from the northern triangle of central america, are in shelters at best, and in the worst case scenarios, they are on the streets, prey to those who would take advantage of those in their most miserable, their most desperate, their most vulnerable moments. we ask them to remain in place, a policy known as metering. we talked to some of the families at a shelter. we met a 19-year-old young woman, came with her family from honduras. all of her family members were able to go forward into california where they are now, but because she is over the age of 18 -- she is 19 years old -- she had to stay behind in juarez . imagine when you were 19 years old being stopped staying in a shelter, not knowing if or when he will ever join your family again. trying to navigate the u.s. legal code without the aid of an without speaking the english language. we met a father, mother, and their four-year-old son who traveled six days through the desert on foot, without their shoes.
he was talking about the boiling sun on his back, neck, head, and as the shoes wore out, the boiling hot sand he was walking on with his four-year-old son on his shoulders. one of the people with whom he was traveling died of thirst, dehydration, exhaustion. not in a cage, not separated from her family, not deported to another country -- dead. more than 8000 of our fellow human beings have died making that same crossing just in the last 20 years. , thee wall that we build militarization at the border consigns more to greater suffering and greater levels of death, just like that woman with whom that family was traveling. they get to the united states, they kiss the ground upon which they arrive. they turn themselves in to, do not try to flee from, a border patrol agent who takes them into a freezing icebox of a jail cell in a border patrol station. they go from extreme heat to extreme cold, freaked out, do doesn't know what is going to happen next spend three days
, there before they are deported back to ciudad jarez i think , they were number 7023 to be processed here in the united states, which to remind everybody, is the wealthiest, most powerful country on the face of the planet. almost everyone here is descended from those who came here as asylum seekers or refugees or immigrants or in some cases, brought here in bondage against their will to literally build the wealth of this country. but in every instance are what made us great and strong and successful and powerful in the first place. and this is what we are doing to those families. we then crossed the river and went to a border patrol station in clint, texas. this is where, you may have read the reports from the it in the new york times dust from the ap and the new york times and other outlets, where we are keeping hundreds of children who have been separating from their parents. happening right now in this moment in 2019.
toddlers as young as five months old, teenagers as old as 17 -- none of them knowing each other. kids taking care of kids. not having diapers on for the little kiddos, which means they are pooping in their pants and that poop rolls then onto the floor. and that floor, but concrete floor, is the same floor that everyone of those kids will be sleeping on, underneath aluminum blankets, in overcrowded conditions where some people are standing on the toilet so they can just get some air to breathe because they are for overcrowded, well beyond capacity that these cells can hold. that is what we are doing to these kids right now. inextricably, this administration has argued that we don't have to provide diapers or soap or toothpaste or showers to kids who are absolutely defenseless in the face of this cruelty. kids who may not know when or if they will ever see their parents again. but here is the bright spot in all this -- when we showed up to that border patrol station, there were nearly 300 people outside holding vigil, testifying to their fellow americans just what was being
done in their name, transmitter -- transmitting it through facebook live or instagram or other social media channels. members of the media and the press, not the enemy of the people but the best defense against tyranny, broadcasting these images out so the rest of america knows what is happening. i guarantee you it is the only way that we are going to force the kind of change we need to for those kids in those families waiting in mexico, for this country, and for our conscience. imagine my kids, imagine your kids, years down the road, knowing just what was happening here in america in 2019. they are going to want some answers from all of us. how did we account for our behavior, our action or inaction in the face of this injustice? the fact that seven children have died over the last year in u.s. customs and border protection custody -- that is on all of us in this great democracy. but here was this great democracy springing into action,
people showing up, standing up to be counted in this remote stretch of the chihuahuan desert, not easy to get to from ames, iowa, or any other part of the country. in conclusion, let me tell you what it reminds me of on this incredibly important, historic day. it's the fact that in 1964, july 2, president lyndon johnson signed into law the civil rights act. he didn't do it because he was the most enlightened president we have ever had, although we are proud of him being from the state of texas. he didn't do it because of the enlightened members of congress who voted for it or managed that bill through the house and senate, though we are grateful to them as well. he did it because of people, just like those young people we saw outside of the clint border patrol station who were willing to stand up when it counted. sometimes at the very risk of their lives. i think about the campaign in birmingham, alabama, in april and may 1963. school kids, the syndicate age
of those kids who are locked up in the border patrol station in clint, took to the streets of downtown alabama, on the first day, as young as nine years old, they were arrested, more than 1200 of them in the birmingham county jail, standing up for the full civil rights of every child, every woman, every man in that community. and those protests continued day after day after day. it was the people against bull connor. it was the people against injustice. it was the people against segregation and racism and the legacy of slavery. and the people were hell-bent on winning that struggle, and ultimately they did, because they forced president john fitzgerald kennedy to do the right thing. now, listen. he is one of my favorite presidents. he was a good man. he was an irish catholic, but he did not take on the task of introducing that civil rights legislation on his own. he was forced to do it by people who wanted to demand this country live up to its potential, live up to its promise, and live up to its values.
those freedom riders who preceded the birmingham campaign, the greensboro 4, the friendship nine who risked their lives of those lunch counters, who were arrested fro for being human beings in their own country, are the ones who made that political change possible. for those who wonder what we do in the face of this injustice and this torture we are visiting on our fellow human beings at the u.s.-mexico border, just know there is powerful precedent before us of people standing up at these moments of truth to force the hand of this country. and that is in part why i am running right now, i hope that is in part why you are here rainout. i want to make sure i can answer my kids, look them in the eye, when they ask what we did in 2019, when this was going on in our country. you look at any challenge we face, beyond the border, and immigration, and separated families and kids in cages, if it's the health-care system where millions are left to fend for themselves because we do not
have the political will to offer them insurance and care, or in a an economy where too many are working two and three jobs just to make ends meet, or the challenge of climate, which perhaps in iowa you understand better than anyone because just this year, both the missouri river and mississippi river have had the highest level of flooding in all of recorded history for those two rivers -- to meet any single one of these challenges, we will need every single one of us to come together in rooms like these, and streets in downtown, des moines. we saw protesters came into one of the congressional representatives' offices to protest those conditions on the border -- it is that kind of direct action from our fellow americans which produces the change that allows us to be who we were intended to be in the first place. so, to all of you who came out here tonight, to all of you who will demand justice at the border on any of these issues, know that we are with you. i'm grateful to be running with you. i came not only to share with you my thoughts but to listen.
i'm looking forward to your questions, your comments, your ideas. thank you, joan and dan, and thank you all for what you are doing right now. gracias. [applause] mr. o'rourke: cynthia on the right side of the room has a microphone. she will do her best to get that microphone to you. and i am going to do my best to listen to you and answer your questions, or just hear your comment or idea. >> i'm actually from independence where you will be in a couple of days, but half an nevada,y from here in my brother was working in a liquor store. an alarm went off because he was new to the job. the police came. the police not to come in because it was not an emergency, but the police came in any way and saw a black man in the store and drew a gun on him. he luckily was saved by his boss
arriving in the nick of time. but i want to ask you, do you have any plans to defuse the tension between the black community and the police? mr. o'rourke: thank you for asking the question and having the courage to share a very personal, very difficult story. hopefully, we all agree that no one in this country should have to fear those who are sworn to serve and protect us, who are put in this position of public trust, are carrying a firearm and have the ability to deprive us of our liberty and our life, even. and yet, too many do, and too many do based on their race. a difference that should have no distinction, should not matter in this country, and yet, it does. the alarming number of unarmed black men and women who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement in this country is unconscionable and must be stopped. what do we do as a country? what could i do as president?
number one, we could ensure that our department of justice, and the civil rights division investigates and fully prosecutes every use of force that is unwarranted against a person of color in this country by a local police force. two, we could tie federal funds to sheriff's offices and police departments to their ability to have full transparency and full reporting on use of force and against whom it is used. three, we need to make sure that there is real accountability, consequences, and justice at the end of the day, or else this will just continue to have been year after year to person after person. but the last thing -- and this is the hardest among them -- there are some real bad actors in our police departments, and they should be rooted out. the vast majority of them i hope most of us can acknowledge are doing a really difficult job under trying circumstances. i want to support them to the best of our ability, make sure
that they have the training necessary in situations like the one you just described to make the right decision. that we support them in this difficult job and that we also hold them accountable so the entire force is not tarnished by the bad actions of a few, but i think we have to put them in the context of a country that is fundamentally in almost every single institution racist in terms of the access and outcomes that we see. because it's not just in law enforcement, and it's not just the criminal justice system where you have 2.3 million people behind bars, and they are disproportionately comprised of people of color. i think in iowa, african-americans comprise about 3% of the population and 25% of the incarcerated population in this state. that does not make sense to me. that is not just. that is not right. but it is not just in those arenas. in health care, amidst a maternal mortality crisis, it is three times as deadly for women of color in this country right now.
in education, in a kindergarten classroom, a five-year-old child is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled if he or she is a child of color in this country. in the economy, 10 times the wealth in white america than there is in black america. so i see this challenge, and is very real threat that you described in law enforcement in the larger context of the system but is the legacy of not just ongoing segregation and suppression, and the effects of jim crow in this country. until we face that and fully understand it, and tell the full story of america and everyone in america, i don't think we will ever change the fundamentals that are causing these problems. we will never begin the repair that is necessary, and we will never stop visiting this kind of injustice on future generations. so i give you the immediate steps that would take as president, but i think we need largerch conversation to address the
picture we see in the united states. thank you for your question. [applause] >> in a country where the majority of the population struggles to make ends meet working minimum-wage jobs in places like walmart, would a universal basic income help? mr. o'rourke: you know, it might. i'm not convinced that that is the best path over to address the very real problem just described. i mentioned in my comments, that you have so many working two or three jobs. in this state, you have so many school teachers working teen of or three jobs when i want them focused on just one child, the child and her lifelong love of learning which once we unlock it, there is no stopping her and there is no stopping this country. so paying people a living wage, allowing teachers in iowa the ability to organize and collectively bargain so they can demand better wages and better working conditions, and deliver better education to their students is a great place to start. having a minimum wage in this country whose floor is set at $15 an hour so no working
american has to work a second job to make ends meet and can spend time with their families, reading to their child before the first day of kindergarten so that child has a little bit of a better chance to start. paid family leave so that if someone in your household is ill, you can take time off to take care of them without losing your job or the income upon which you depend. paid childcare so you can go to the workforce or complete your education. and in health care. if we do all of that, the millions of jobs we are creating in this country today that we filling because we don't have folks who are well enough to work those jobs, or educated enough to work those jobs, or don't have the skills training necessary to work those jobs or have not been able to join a union to learn the trades to work those jobs, we can fix those problems and i think we can put more people to work and i think then, you can have an economy that works for everybody. thanks for asking the question.
appreciate it. >> hello. my name is kate, and thank you for mentioning that we are having really bad rain today. the midwest and a lot of the united states has been affected by flooding and really horrible climate emergencies. what kind of plans and thoughts do you have about the ways that climate change really threatens farmers and rural america specifically? mr. o'rourke: i have learned from listening to farmers here in iowa that we are seeing i think the wettest twelve-month period in recent history, or maybe in history. those here will know the answer to the question. we have seen the windows close on farmers whose fields are too wet to be able to plant. we are seeing the ability to pass that farm onto the next generation, to your daughter or your son, compromised. you're seeing historic low farm incomes. farmers who are underwater in are, and now, farmers who
-- whose entire fields are lakes. we saw that in the southwest part of the state outside a pacific junction soybean farm. i remember passing bins that had burst because the soybeans had soaked up all the water and inrst the sides of the b and the smell was overpowering. that was the smile in some ways of defeat, because i just imagine all the hours that went into planting and working those fields and all that is now lost, lost because of the flooding, but also because that grain was stored because it wasn't in china. because of that market was closed down to those farmers. because we started a trade war and tariffs that ensured they would not be able to make a profit necessary to keep that farm going. so of all of those issues, the most existential for those farmers, for our country, and for this planet, is climate change. the missouri spilling its banks, the highest level of runoff in the history of that river. we know that is not an anomaly. we know the warming of this planet caused by you and me, our
emissions, and then our inaction collectively in the face of the facts, that has caused that storm and runoff and flooding. the fires in california, but droughts in other parts of the world -- how do we combat this? we free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels. we fully embrace renewable energy technology. we invest in the next generation of wind and solar and battery storage technology that allows us to distribute that stored energy at will onto the grid. we put farmers in the driver seat. we ensure they can plant cover crops at a profit to pull more carbon out of the air and sequester more of it in the soil. regenerative grazing and agriculture being pioneered right here in iowa, let's pay those farmers and ranchers for the environmental services that they are providing and make sure that communities like pacific junction, which are on the front lines of climate change, that we make an investment in them to make sure they are safe when the next storm comes because we know they will continue to be hit by climate change going forward.
if all of us do all we can, the united states can take a global leadership role in convincing countries to do their part and then, there's a chance that we keep this planet from warming another two degrees celsius. our plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and getting halfway there by 2030. it is a historic investment on the part of everybody that i know that we can do it. this is the challenge of this generation and i'm confident we are up to it. thanks for asking the question. [applause] >> right here. hi. i'm ethan, and i'm an aclu writes reporter. problems back to the of the border, one of the main tools i.c.e. has relied upon as making sure that local law enforcement help them find immigrants in our communities
who may or may not -- well, for the most part, not being a problem. will you take action to disentangle i.c.e. from local law enforcement , and enforcement,nd -- and importantly, end i.c.e. retainers? mr. o'rourke: yes, and i will tell you why. when people in a community fear law enforcement because they do not know if they report a crime, they will be reported for violating immigration laws and held, and deported to another country, we are demonstrably less safe. fewer people report crimes or serve as witnesses or testify in trials. that's not just me saying that. that is police chiefs and sheriffs i have listened to all over this country and certainly across the border. there is no reason for these i.c.e. raids and roundups the president has threatened and deployed under his administration. we have also seen under the of
administrations of democrats and republicans alike before him breaking up families, deporting hundreds of thousands of people who are working the toughest jobs here in iowa and in the united states. it does not make us safer or better. in fact, it diminishes the standing of this country and our security. while i think there will still be some need for internal enforcement against someone who poses a violent risk to our communities, there's no need to break up families, deporting people who pose no serious violent threat to us. that's number one. number two is in rewriting our immigration laws so that folks are here are legalized and can come forward and register with the government. we will know who is in our community. they can contribute even more to their potential and to this country's greatness. free mother one million d.r.e.a.m.e.r.s. from any fear of deportation by making them u.s. citizens, and ensuring that 9 million legal permanent residents, green card holders, are able to become u.s. citizens as well as soon as possible. all of that makes this country stronger economically and also makes us safer and more secure,
so doing the right thing also makes us safe. thanks for asking the question. >> i know it's really warm, so this will be our last question. then we will go to the front porch. >> thank you. my name is laura. i have been an advocate with the alzheimer's association for over 25 years since my dad was first diagnosed. this is a huge, huge problem, and obviously, i'm a little emotional about it, but alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the united states. here in iowa, we are the seventh highest state in terms of alzheimer's deaths. so we need a plan, not only for research, but also for more caregiving, more caregiving facilities, more caregiving training. is the onlyeimer's disease in the top 10 causes of anth that doesn't have
effective prevention, treatment or cure. so what are you gonna do? mr. o'rourke: thanks for being here. i'm assuming it is not just this town hall meeting, but in your congressional representatives' 'sfice, in your state rep office, i know that from serving , from all the advocates that came to our office, but it is so much more cost-effective to invest upfront in the cures to these conditions, given what we are spending on long-term care in this country right now. my kiddos never met their grandmother. she died of alzheimer's. we saw the significant deterioration in her quality of life, in her ability to connect with any of us that grew up with her or that she helped to raise. so from a personal level, i want to make sure that we get this right. edit want other families to have to experience that. in our administration, we will double the investment we're making in the national institutes of health. it is two point $5 billion a
year right now in alzheimer research. we will double that to $5 million -- to $5 billion. but to the second part of your question, we will make sure that the long-term care necessary for an improved quality of life, for those americans who every working day of their life contributed to the success of this country, paid in to medicare and social security, and medicaid, and make sure that we are the greatest country on the planet, we have a debt to them. we need to make sure that we are there to take care of them as well. so expanding investment in caregiving facilities and making sure that caregivers are paid a living wage, which so often is not the case in this country. that is going to improve the quality of care. but the long-term goal is to invest enough in nih so that we get the cure. as you said, it's one of the few diseases we have in this country where there's no real preventable action that we can take, or medication that will
significantly improve outcomes. thank you for the question. really appreciate it. cynthia said we are going to take some questions outside on the front porch for those who are waiting. thank you all for welcoming us. joan, dan, thank you for having us. will, wherever he went, thank you for being here. hope to see you all again soon. thank you. [cheers and applause] [indiscernible] conversations]
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