HIRONO SPEECH AT ILWU STATE CONVENTION

September 19, 2012   ·  

HONOLULU – Today, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mazie Hirono delivered the following speech, as prepared for delivery, at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 142’s annual State Convention:

“Aloha, I have known many of you for a long time, as friends and as supporters. Mahalo to Donna Domingo, Wes Furtado and Guy Fujimura for this invitation!  I would also like to thank you, the men and women of this union – you have and continue to contribute so much to our state’s well-being.

“It is your union, the ILWU, which in the 1940s, 50s and 60s fought hard for civil rights and social justice. Your union helped shape our history in Hawaii. You have always fought for those without a political voice – a long and proud struggle for:

    ● equal pay for equal work;
    ● healthcare for all;
    ● race and gender equality;
    ● safe working conditions; and,
    ● a public education system founded on the principle that education is the great equalizer and that every child should be given the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

“You and I believe in these Democratic principles.  And, that’s why I’m running for the United States Senate - to bring our voice and our Hawaii values to DC.

“There is a lot at stake in this election. It is more than just about me or Linda Lingle. Nationally, this election, and all of the Senate races, will determine who will control the United States Senate and the priorities that the United States Senate will have.

“Will the Senate be controlled by the Republicans? Or, will it be controlled by the Democrats?

“And, this matters to Hawaii, because if the Republicans gain control over the Senate, and they only need four votes to do that, one of the first things that will happen of course, is that Senator Inouye is going to lose the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Our next United States Senator should share our values. Those are the values of protecting our kupuna. Why I am such a strong voice for making sure that Social Security and Medicare remain strong for our kupuna. We need to support our keiki, by giving educational opportunities that will truly enable our kids to thrive and succeed in school and in life. That’s why I am such a strong proponent for quality early education, to set the stage for that success.

“And, most of all, as we are still in the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, the value of enabling our people to take care of ourselves and to take care of our families.

“Sadly, these are not the values that the national Republicans have. And, they are looking to Linda Lingle as their #1 draft pick, to help the national Republican Party take over the Senate.

“What will this mean for our country and for Hawaii? It means that they will repeal Obamacare. And, so millions of seniors across our country as well as hundreds of thousands across Hawaii will be hurt by that because they will end up paying more for prescription drugs. Young people all across our country who are benefitting by being on their parents’ policies will no longer have health care.

“A Republican-controlled Senate would also mean that they will make sure that the richest 2% in our country get even more tax breaks on the backs of our middle class families.

“They will also change Medicare as we know it. And they will fast-track changes to Social Security, which in Republican land means privatizing Social Security.

“Those are not the right values, those are not our priorities.

“What are our priorities?

“I think President Clinton said it the best – that we think ‘we’re in this together’ is a better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’

“Many of you have already heard Mitt Romney’s deeply-offensive remarks about America and the people Romney labels ‘The 47 Percent.’ I want to read you a portion of Mitt Romney’s remarks, so we're all very clear what he believes:

‘There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.

‘All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.’

“Let me remind you, this is Mitt Romney – Republican candidate for President of the United States – saying this.

‘And so my job is not to worry about those people – I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.’

“Wow.

“Let me translate Mitt Romney for you. Romney is saying, ‘If you support President Obama, you're lazy.  You have no self-respect.  You don't pay taxes.  And I won’t be your President.’

“Here in Hawaii, where President Obama was raised – where President Obama received over 71% of the vote in 2008 – Mitt Romney is writing off a whole lot of people.  People right here in this room.

“And, my opponent, Republican Linda Lingle – who says she is ‘proud’ to the co-chair one of Mitt Romney’s campaign committees – is silent about Mitt Romney’s absurd words and hurtful views.

“But I will not be silent.  You will not be silent.  These words are an outrage.  These views are unacceptable.  And, this is just one more reason we must re-elect our island son, President Obama.  And, we cannot allow Republican Linda Lingle to go to the United States Senate.

“Which is why if I have the honor of serving as your next U.S. Senator I will stand with you and fight for you every day because ‘we ARE in this together.’

“If given the opportunity to serve as your next U.S. Senator, I would honor the tradition forged by your leaders: Harry Bridges, Jack Hall, Harry Kamoku, Koji Ariyoshi, Tommy Trask, Harriet Bouslog and Ah Quon McEltrath.

“I humbly ask for your support and kokua. Mahalo!”

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