tv Stacey Abrams Remarks at National Press Club CSPAN November 18, 2019 11:02pm-12:06am EST
about voting press club and the investigations editor in washington for the associated press. we have a terrific program ahead and we invite you to follow along on twitter using the hash tag #npclive. in the audience were members of the general public so any applause or reactions are not necessarily from the working press. i'd like to begin by introducing
our head table. please hold your applause until all of the head table guests werere introduced. i have the president of the public news all bids and member of the headliners team. the former president of the national press club and we have eleanor clift political columnist with the daily beast. h e national reporter at the "washington post," beside wesley is michael holloman, deputy communications director for faie fight and alex, the political reporter nbc news. skipping over the podium, to my right is donna, president at the dc media strategy and former president of the club and cochair of the mpc headliners team in the skipping over the speaker for a moment, sorry, angela, deputy managing editor
for the state of politico and also former president of the national press club. the site angeles david anderson, the pc headliner that organized today's event.i thank you very much, david. next is chelsea, an adviser to fair fight. and finally the national political correspondent at bloomberg. [applause] today we are pleased to welcome stacey abrams at the press club. she served 11 years in the house of representatives including seven of the democratic leader. last year she was the democratic nominee for governor of georgia. the first black woman to be a major party gubernatorial nominee in the history of the united states.
[applause] >> and she came pretty close to turning a traditionally republican state blue. she ultimately lost by just over one percentage point to the then secretary of state brian kemp. to be the result of widespreadf voter suppression. after a ten day standoff, she suspended her campaign but notably to concede. she spent the last year on the mission to stop voter suppression model me in georgia but around the country. she created two organizations, faiterrified to ensure all who n vote our and fair count to guarantee the census is fair or, accurate and counts everyone equally. she's helping to lead a federal lawsuit to overhaul the election
system and she and the others contend that the current system impaired a the citizen's ability to vote in the gubernatorial election depriving them of the constitutional first please join me in welcoming stacey abrams. [applause] thank you to all of the past presidents very illustrative people. i'm going to begin by announcing i'm not the governor of georgia. some believe i'm confused. i am not. but as allison pointed out in 2018 we had a bit of a contested
election. in the process for running as the governor of georgia i began a campaign grounded in the notion that everyone who is eligible to vote showed those particularly the communities that have been long been left out of the process in the state of georgia. but on a larger level they've been left out of the decision-making process for the state. my campaign began with a notion we were going to send her communities of color. these are the fastest growing and they were lagging behind in having their voices heard in the process. we centered the marginalized communities and disadvantaged communities and talked to groups no candidate had engaged and became the first nominee to ever march and a pride parade in the state of georgia. i also went to dragon con -- [applause] we went everywhere. we talked to every one. and we had a clear and consistent message. i used the message when i was in albany georgia and north georgia
are they filmed deliverance. we went everywhere. but in the end i didn't because they governor of georgia. on november sixth when the ballots were coming in andth the votes were being counted at the same time this was happening, we had already received 30,000 phone calls alleging issues of voter suppression and in the next ten days between the sixth and 16th we received another 50,000 calls. 50,000 people who experience difficulties in casting a ballot in the state of georgia. and as a result on november 16th, i need a very controversial speech where only acknowledged the sufficiency of the election but refused to concede the rightness of a system that would let so many people's voicese be silenced. now, there've been recent days the comparison between me and the former governor of kentucky that he and i share some allegiance in refusing to
acknowledge outcome. yesterday he conceded the election and i congratulated him on doing so because he alleged irregularities that he could not prove. we on the other hand code proves our concern. it began by having a secretary of state that refused to step down from the post when he became a contestant in the race. when you look at third world nations being investigated for the voter irregularities, one of the first things to look at are the strongmen leaders controlling the outcomeg of the election. in the state off georgia it wasa contestant as well as the scorekeeper and c i don't know f any sport where we both left the path. [applause] in the end it was the wall of we land that he could do so and my responsibility was to acknowledge the sufficiency of the election, which is what i did. but to say that the law that
permitted that couldn't be right because how do you tell people they can trust the system when you cannot trust the person running the system? 's that is the mission that i'm on. between election day, i spent a great deal of time trying to think about what i would do next if it didn't produce the results that i thought. i grew up in southern mississippi the daughter of two civil rights leaders. my parents were activists as children. my dad was arrested as a 16-year-old helping people register. my mom did the same thing she ntwas just smart enough not to t caught. [laughter] wanted us to understand from our earliest beginnings that our responsibilities are simply to fight for the outcomes we want. to fight even when we don't get the outcomes we need. but the moment we step away and concede the system has beaten us than it has indeed.
in our responsibility is to keep working anyway. so in that ten day period i was very angry and sad and went through the stages of grief and spent a lot of time and anger and eventually moved on and brought the anger with me. i must be a very fun companion. [laughter] but in the end, what i wanted to make sure i did this commit myself to figuring out what works could be done because the reality is whether or not i got tethe title of governor. there was work i wanted to do that still needed to be done. and forof the first bit of worki ntew i needed to do was to focus on the issue of the voter suppression. this wasn't new for me. i registered voters as a student at stillman college. i was involved in civic engagement so much so i was invited to be a speaker at the 30th anniversary of the march on washington. i remember standing on the stage looking at way too many people
talking abou to the needs of communities that i come from and i wanted to serve. i started an organization to registered voters in florida particularly communities of color that had been unregistered to the tune of 800,000 in 2014. but i also started an organization called the voter asked substitute because i knew it was insufficient to vote to become registered as they have to engage them, mobilize them and turn them out and do institute became what i call fair fight action. fair fight is born of the belief that voter expansion requires that we fight back against the voter suppression. and over the last few months as we did this work, beginning in itvember and is now a year later, we have tangible evidence that what we are giving is necessary and right. in the state of georgia we filed a massive lawsuit that alleges the state of georgia is not protecting democracy as it should. and we believe we are right and we believe that we will be able to prove it in a court of law.
more than that, it's not enough to simply fight back against what is wrong. you have to promote what is right and that's why we started a group called the democracy warriors. people from across the state of georgia who discovered you can indeed go to the board of elections meetings. most of them did not know that there were boards of elections to meet with what they are not visiting the meetings and because of their visitation and visibility, we've been able to block the closures of precincts. let me put into context what happeneded in georgia. on election day, 2018, the secretary of state had overseen the system that had purged 1.4 million voters.. including 570,000 people in a single day, the single largest voter purge in american history. he oversaw the closure of 214 precincts. 214. and the state wasof only 3,000 precincts. as the secretaryf of state come
he had preceded that time by arresting women that had to be temerity to actually help register and turnou turn out von georgia. he also had a state legislator that served as the county f attorney following black man home to challenge whether they were indeed valuable electors basically saying to many black people voted. we believe they should be investigated. "the new york times" ran an incredible story about this. but he also challenged latino groups and i remember groups when they had the audacity to register communities. so by the time we got toew november 2018, my evidence of his action was a legion. but more importantly, what we know now is that more has to be done. and what fair fight is doing in georgia and with the action with your giving in georgia is building the capacity of citizens to fight back. but not to fight back against secretary of state, but to fight back against the naturalized
system of voter suppression. because we have to recognize that while voter suppression was a singular example of what happened in 2018, it isn't solely committed to the state of georgia. we know that across the sun belt, voter suppression is alive and well. in the state of texas there was the wall that was pending that would have criminalized driving people to the polls. luckily the bill died at the end of the 2019 legislative session, but the problem is if needed that far. we noted in the state of tennessee, because 90,000 african-americans were registered to vote by a group called black voters matter them in the state of tennessee they passed a law that criminalized s the third-party voter registration and the key issue because third-party registration is one of the-p most effective ways to register communities of color. we know in arizona they shut down 85% of the precincts. 85% of the polling places have shut down since 2005 as arizona's population grew
larger. there's an inverse relationship between shutting down access as the population becomes more s diverse. and it has a very deleterious effect on native americans because they live on reservations wher were they havo travel in order to cast their ballot. but this does the delet me commd two or 5 miles out of the reservation data to travel five, 20, 50 miles on these roads without access to the right to vote. we know that in florida, texas and new hampshire come in becausee it isn't just the sou, we know that students are facing new challenges to the right to udvote. early voting populations often on the college campuses are being told you're not going to be able to precincts where you work, where you go to school. and in new hampshire, they've created new rules for who gets to register and who has access, directlyti targeted students. wisconsin and michigan and pennsylvania these are states that have had voter suppression activitiesst and play and in ple
for a very long time, and indeed those affected the outcome of the 2016 the election. bumy responsibility is and to litigate the past but the prologue for what needs to be done in the future. that is why in addition to the verify action, we watch fair fight back in 2020. 2020 is based in 20 states across the country. the three states that have elections this year statewide as well as the 17 states that are considered battleground states for the presidency, for the senate and down the ballot races so we can both chambers and make certain we like the secretaries of states, attorney generals who can defend the right to vote in america. voter suppression has three components. y can you get on the role and sy on the role. can you cast the ballot and will your ballot be counted and counted correctly. those are issues that plague us all. those are national federal issues that have been relegated
to the statesac and so instead f having as the united states america was a single democracy, we have 50 different democracies operating every single day in this country. and we know that voter fraud is often attributed to the challenges we face in our elections, but it's largely a mess. 31 people in the last billion votes cast have been accused of actual fraud and usually it is voter confusion because the across the state border, the thw changes and no one gives you a pamphlet to tell you what is new. but we know that if we have federal legislation and restoration of the voting rights act, we can restore our progress towards true democracy in this country, and that is my mission, that is the work ofti fair fight andd action and fair fight 2020. but in addition to those operations, i was a state legislator. i took my job as the minority leader in november of 2010, and i took office and bega begin myt decisive session in 2011, and by
august i was embroiled in what was redistricting. and it was the first redistricting that happened in our state under the republican leadership. we watched -- i watched in horror as they read through the lines compact african-americans have split latino communities, but scattered the asian pacific islander communities and intentionally diluted the right to vote for thousands of people in ours eight. but our ability to think that wafight thatwas mitigated in pae didn't have an accurate census in 2010 in thehe state of georg. we had one of the largest undercount of men, one of the largest undercount in the country. georgia is a massive state, the single largest state east of the mississippi. the reality is that it is a solvable problem. in 2010 the country has the most accurate, but georgia does not. thand part of my responsibilitys to ensure that in georgia around the country, the 2020 census of america.ue story
i watched fair count because i believe that we can do this work, but we have to be intentional because the current administration underfunding the census count and the states that have the largest growing populations many of the states are not investing enough to ensure that the communities are counted, communities of color, renters, small children and immigrants. those are populations that must be counted so that they get their fair share of the $800 billion that we willhe sped every year for the next ten years. fair count is doingat its work y going into communities, setting up hotspots which sounds like an odd thing to do for the census count except this is the first time in american history that 80% of the census will be performed online. even though we know that between 20 to 40% of americans do not have access to the internet. that has not been solved by this administration despite their intention of using the internet to count people. we know that we have to step in
and step up to help communities that would be left behind. because i refuse to allow our communities to bcommunity is tom the narrative of what is america. our obligation at-large. [applause] our obligations are large because our nation is a big place, not simply in space, but in heart. we began as an experiment that every person was counted, that we could be able to achieve our ideals, and yet from the inception of our country we have struggled with voter suppression. it began with the document that said that blacks were only three fifths human. you could count our bodies but not our soul. ihousehold. it excluded women from the story of america. and next year we will celebrate the 20th amendment, but we have to remember, and sort the 19th amendment, we have turner took
until 1920 for women to have a voice. and for black women, brown women, that voice did not become manifest until 1960 with the voting rights act. and that is why it is so crucial that we remember the gutting of the voting rights act in 2013 transformed voting in the united states. with the dissolution of the voting rights act, 17 million thele have been purged from rolls. in the same period, 1,688 precincts shut down in the states that were once covered by the voting rights act. we have to remember voter suppression isn't new, but refusing to count our people isn't new. but that we are. we are a new generation that has a newer opportunity, new access and new beliefs. and one of those beliefs is that we are all created equally and that equal the house to be made real by the way we treat each other, but our responsibility isn't simply to call out
problems, but work towards solutions. i wanted to do that in the role of governor, but failing that, my responsibility remains the same. i am the daughter ofs the civil rights activists, but more importantly and the grandfather and great-grandfather and great great granddaughter of those who were told from birth that they were not worthy to be a part of this nation and in a single generation, my parents went from fighting for the right to vote to watching their daughter stand ct a stage as a nominee for the state of georgia for governor. [applause]at [applause] but i want next is to win an election. [applause] [laughter] and i want to win that -- [applause] thank you. i want to win not because of trickery or because of schemingg or whining, but because of working. working to ensure every vote is
counted, working to ensure every person eligible to register can do so and to make sure something to disenfranchise it is a grace from the nation and just be tried in florida although they are doing their best to roll it back, making sure that when the 2020 census is done into the rear portion of the losing redistricting follows is an accurate reflection of who the nation is coming and that a as e leaderasbelievers we like to ben everyonandeveryone in our count. i often talk in the speeches about how i won, but i don't say that i won. i say we won because in the state of georgia we were told we were deep red, but there was no reason for me to run into the fact that there were lots of stories written about how i was running a futile campaign, that by centering these communities, by lifting up the minority, i was going to isolate ourselves from the majority. i'm going to end with this. 2018 and over gubernatorial
elections we tripled the latino turnout in the state of georgia. we tripled asian pacific islander turnoutai for democrats in the state of georgia. we increased the youth participation rates for democrats by 139%. an african-american participation which we were told in georgia have maxed out under the election of president obama, but no one else was going to vote, so why try. we decided to dig deep, and we turned up 40 out 40% more violet in context. 2014, 1.1 million democrats voted for the governor. in 2018, 1.2 million black people voted for me. [applause] >> the reason these numbers matter is that we wrote a new playbook. we wrote a new story for how you can win in georgia, that the nephew could only talk to certain communities and you couldn't have certain
conversations, those were wrong. we have an authentic campaign that began with me being exactly who i am. you can't miss me. i said at the same thing meverywhere i went and i talked about the sametr issues to everyone who would listen. and as a result not only did we increase democratic turnout with communities of color across the state, we also increased the white percentage of democratic voting in the state of georgia for the first time in the generation. you can increase everyone's position. [applause] like twe like to call it the plk that it's very simple. invest in communities early. have a consistent message. don't try to cherry pick who you think is going to listen. make sure everyone hears you and treat georgia and the sunbelt has a real place to fight, because if we fight, we will win. thank you so much. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you very much, ms. abram. it's hard to know where to start, because we have all of these that want to know about the 2020 election, but i'm going to start with a little bit about the actual purging of the voters. several people have asked about recent news that georgia is planning to again purge may be 300,000 people people from the voting rolls. can you talk about what you see happening? >> the 313,000 georgians are on the list of people who will be purged if they do not respond to a letter within the next 30 days.
the challenge is they may be right. 313,000 people should be purged but given the past we don't believe they are accurate and our job is to ensure the accuracy of the purge. but one challenge that has never been contested in front of the supreme court and one of the issues we argue is people are losing the right t their right r use it or lose it meaning that because they haven't voted a certain number that that is supposed to be a flag that you should investigate your using it as an excuse to remove people from the role. i don't lose my second amendment rights because they don't shoot a gun on thursday. [applause] in our lawsuit we are challenging the constitutionality of use it or lose it. you have the right to vote and the right not to vote and that shouldn't be an excuse to strip you of your citizenship right to vote in the united states. >> can you talk about what are
legitimate reasons to knock people off? >> the two that i agree with if you are dead you should not vote. [laughter] i will stand on that and believe that until the day i die. [laughter] and i think -- >> will you change your mind? >> i will see. [laughter] i also agree if you do not live in the jurisdiction you shouldn't be able to cast a vote in that jurisdiction. those are two legitimate reasons. i found immensely disagree with selling enfranchisement. a practice used by 22 different states was born of the black code that was the response to reconstruction. it was designed to strip black people, namely black man of the right to vote. and they did not exist simply in the south. it was across the country. i do not believe disenfranchisement should be a legitimate reason to strip people of the right to vote and i do not believe -- [applause] and i do not believe that your
failure to cast a ballot in a certain number of elections is an excuse to renew few. there are other ways to determine a where people live and if they are eligible, but it shouldn't be that you lose your right to vote simply because you do not exercise it. >> why did you not go to court on the 80,000 people who called you because their vote was suppressed? >> we filed at the count indictment or in summary we don't get to invite but we filed the complaint against the state of georgia that includes the complaint and affidavit we have been able to collect. we have contrary to some who suggest we didn't have evidence copy have volumes of evidence and more than 300 being interviewed and imposed by the council by the state and a very lovely 84 page motion or quarter from the judge who refused the motion to dismiss so we have adequate information demonstrating what we are doing is to serve the 80,000.
>> the remedy we are asking for, one is to basically strike down anything unconstitutional but we also want georgia to be bailed in. that means we are going to subject to preclearance under the votingldld rights act. the gutting did not eliminate the purview of the voting rights act but it simply said you now have to go through a very assiduous process through the courts in order to have immediate oversight from the justice department. no state has been successful but we hope to make georgia the first. >> as we mentioned earlier -- >> you don't have to use that word. >> the official tally -- [laughter] in the race by less than two percentage points. purchase in georgia would that impact your decision making for any future seats? >> no. my responsibility is to run for
office because i would be the best person to serve in that office and to run because i want to do that job. my obligation in between is to ensure no matter who runs for office that the right to vote in georgia is fair and sacrosanct and that everyone has a fair fight when they go to the polls. >> which raises the question everyone is waiting for so i will ask one hour. the trump administration fought hard for the citizenship question on this and this. they lost the battle. but what do you think in terms of impact that that will have on the census next year? >> it's critical that we have organizations like fair count. we are working with the black alliance for the immigration because black immigrants are often left out of the conversation about this. those populations need to understand the citizenship question is not on the form and they need tthe need to kill it e the ability for their children tom, go to school is directly td to whether or not their kids are counted in the same debate consensus. the purpose of being in the
country matters and so as long as organizations do the work especially trusted partners of explaining the citizenship question isn't there and the information is private. anyone that they will just information will be subject to 72, over the next 72 years they are subject to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, and i know very few people who want to turn your information and for that the cost. >> we will turn to the 2020 election. we have several questions on the subject of what is your take on the current field of democratic candidates and who do you support? >> i support the winner. [applause]t i think we have a strong field of candidates. i know there have been some new additions and at that point we have primaries. we have become a very -- we are paying very n close attention,
some of us to every machination of the election. but we have to remember that there were eating people running for the presidency. in recentt years, we changed our short-term memory only remembers 2008ou and 2016. but we16 forget also in 2016 or was a pretty long protracted primary on the other side for the republicans. my issue is this. you have primaries so people can speak. let's wait and see what they say. you don't have to clap for that, that's okay. [laughter] [applause]cl that wasn't a jeb bush please clap. [laughter] have any of the candidates reached out to you to try to get your endorsement? >> yes. >> which one's? >> the ones who called. [laughter] >> how many? >> i know you are a reporter but i'm a competition.
[laughter] you are good though. that's nice. [laughter] i'm not sure if this is a different question but which candidate has the better chance of beating donald trump? >> the one who wins. [laughter] [applause] >> many people want to know what you think about the late entrance to the race, donald trump's pieceea explaining, michael bloomberg and default patrick if we are a year from enthe election, so late entrance o and is using their words. >> we have both a protracted and accelerated the process now. we have primaries for a reason. every state is going to have a differentw. vantage point. every citizen is going to think differently about the candidat candidates. right now we have i an iowa primary adventure primary, not debate the south carolina and nevada.. those are the only ones seeing a candidate with any degree of repetition and deat depth.
and we still don't have those elections until february of 2020. we haven't had thanksgiving yet. i'm not worried about people jumping in now. they have the ability and willingness to put themselves before the people. the people will say whether they want them or not. so i don't worry about the timing right now. >> what advice would you give presidential candidates that are seeking african-american votes? >> talked about voter suppression. voter suppression targets multiple communities that african-americans have long been the central target of the voter suppression and it's often the key reason for the lack of participation. it's not simply thattte people didn't turn out again in 16. and 16. it's the wave of the voter suppressionn challenged and changed the ability for the communities to vote across the country. number two, recognize that you can talk to african-american voters about things other than the criminal justice. it's a critical issue but we also care about the economy and
education and healthcare. [applause] andd by the same token the conversation of criminal justice should be had with every community because it isn't solely endemic to the black community. thwe have the most visible concerns, but we are not the unly one and so that's why i would urge you not cherry pick the conversationsss we have with people. we need tot run campaigns for everyone. you want to be able to isolate issues that may have specific residence but it needs to be a subset of the larger conversations in context. the minute people realize you're telling one thing andnd another group another, they learned something but it's not the lesson you want. [applause] >> a couple of people ask whether medicare for all is a winner in the african-american community. >> i do not speak on behalf of the african-american community. i haven't gotten that noticed yet. [laughter] but here's what i would say. i spoke for a lot of us.
that was advice based on my experience. i've been a african-american my entire life. [laughter] what i would say is this colonco we care about healthcare. americans care about health care. i am a part of my campaign was about healthcare in part because i believe in and i believe we needed i also got hit because of my personal data. it was created in part because my father has cancer and it is expensive to help take care of an elderly gentleman with cancer. so, i believe that the answer on health care isn't a question of which plan but it'sio do you hae a plan and are you willing to make sure the answer and the solutiona a is real. i'm neutral right now on who wins but i'm talking on the fact that whoever wins has to have a solution for making sure that everyone has access to all scared and no one loses a life, job opportunity because they get sick. [applause]
do you think democratic voters are uninspired or worried about the slate of candidates? >> i think those of us who watch and read every piece of -- i'm in a roomful of reporters, so i have to say this while. i think there is an attention to detail that exists among the primary community that isn't necessarily reflective of the broader american populace. and we respond to every gyration, every notice, every message, andw the sometimes that makes sense. but the reality is we don't know who is inspired because we are not seeing a national campaign. we are seeing an intentionalal campaign focused on specific states run with limited resources and that's going to change how things happen. but we also have to remember that being inspired is a plus. s. is not a necessity. i think the only inspiration you need is the inspiration to vote
and that is going to come from any candidate that is successful because there is a counter balance that exists between good and bad and we are seeing how that can be lived out in real life. [applause] >> this person asked where you stand on mandatory assault weapon buybacks. >> i support it in the state of georgia the banning of assault weapons. i think how we accomplish that is going to take more conversation in part because when we allow the band to fail, it's changed thit changed the md it changed the relationship. i applaud the work done by the former congressman. i appreciate the, complexity of the issue and i'm not dodging the question. it's more complicated and one of the reasons we failed and assumed that the answer is with the thought of yesterday. sometimes the answer comes about because we have broad complex conversations and i haven't had those conversations yet.
i'm going to follow up with that with my own question because you are from georgia and i think they make your sister earlier from the cdc. there's been a lot of talk about research by the cdc and other federal is on the gun violence and the lack of support for that kind of research. do you think if there were such research that there would be any different potential answer? >> absolutely. right now b all of the decision-making is based on anecdote. it's compelling, moving. it is not data and that is the challenge, so i do believe it is necessary to have empirical data but then allows us to make decisions that arens based on actual information. information. no anecdote is important because it often inspires us to look for the data that lies beneath, but it's insufficient to convince particularly those who are not intractable but who are hard to move. my job as democratic leader, it was inn my title and was a the
minority leader. i couldn't find anything unless i got people on the other side to listen and i often found that finding information that was not my information for a story i told her something baseball that it was based in either science or data that actually did help move the needle and we did get people to help us. for example we have something called the green tea party. i got them to help me with environmental legislation not because i convinced them climate change is real but because i understood that the data they needed to see to commit to making change and when we found ithat we were actually very successful together. >> so, this, the description of the changing politics in georgia. it's in play for the democrats in 2020, and i have a separate question, but a but has to casen nativcase beenmade of georgia ia battleground state? >> i'm standing here so yes it is a battleground state and here's what i mean. if you look at the 2,018th
election, i received the highest number of votes for any democrat in georgia history. i spent a fraction of what is spent in a presidential accampaign. if i could get here based on what i had, a presidential nominee can win the state of georgia if they arehe willing to make the investment. so yes we are a battleground state. number two we are 16 electoral antes. we have not one but two senate seats upup for grabs. and we were able to take the ancestral seat of newt gingrich and give it to a gun rights totivist. [applause] we have demonstrated our battleground in the name of the group is fight, so we have demonstrated that fights can happen in georgia and we can can but let's understand what a battleground state is, it's a state where you have to compete to win and the republican party and the trump reelection campaign has georgia on the top list of places they have to fight. they are not fighting because
they think that they've got it and if they have to fight we are a battleground states we just need the other side, our side, my side to enlist. >> so who do you think represents the future of the democratic party, the berniegi sanders and or joe biden and? [laughter] >> i push back against those ideological characterizations for this reason. we all contain multitudes on certain issues i'm considered left and on other issues i'm considered a center. i'm a christian from the deep south was an outspoken advocate for abortion rights. the reality is people are complex and so are the people in the democratic party. and when we try to be so reductive to figure out exactly where we sit, we end up losing people because they know they sit everywhere.th that depending on the issues, the move. we are fighting the wrong battle. we are all on the blue and of
the spectrum. but the red and is different and our responsibility is not to determine exactly and precisely where we all have to sit. it's too heavy leader help us continue to move the country forward. that is my rubric. not which end of the party you ascribe to them about what future do you see for the country because as long as we are litigating who we are, we are not litigating for the people we need to serve, and my responsibility and the leader's responsibility is to look for how we win the country and move the country forward, but these arguments about how we get to the solutions thatn we need, i think too often ignore the broad responsibility for the other side doesn't care or doesn't want us to move anywhere in fact they want us to move backwards. i am on the party that wins. that is my goal. >> a couple people asked if you intended to attend the party in georgia and what do you think is the importance of the event
happening in atlanta and particularly at the venue chosen for the opra the oprah winfrey t debate the stage at either. studios. >> michael, did you write this?/kirk is our deputy communications director of the perfect question i want to give him credit if he did. [laughter] with a plan to? >> i don't think so look at the look on his face. [laughter] it came by e-mail i believe. [laughter] i think under one common yes i will be there. i don't believe i'm legally allowed to be anywhere else. and i think what it signals is three things about georgia. one, we are a battleground states. there are a lot of states provide for being the location for debate. they are in georgia because they know it's in play and has 16 electoral votes that can be delivered to a democrat. number two, the tyler perry's studios .studios i think are syn part because the debate could be used to be a confederate endowment.
the confederate army used that place to try to protect slavery and now it is one of the largest movie studios in the world. this page is going to be used from oprah winfrey, and that is the one we could afford us the democratic party. [laughter] but what i think it signals is also the changing economy of the state of georgia. georgia is the single largest production leader for the single largest number of productions outside of la and i think last year we beat la. movies that come in from georgia, 100,000 jobs and 9.5 billion of economic impact. they are coming because hollywood is already there. >> what makes them come to george the? >> into 2008, i worked with republicans. it was a bipartisan bill that created the tax credit in georgia there have been som hadn other states but this was during the wave when states like michigan and north carolina were
rescinding the tax credits and more importantly, we built into theth tax credit process and ability to build the infrastructure so it wasn't just bring movies that we were training staff and communities to be hospitablera and been able to get the studios but more importantly, we have a full pipeline of opportunity you can do everything from preproduction to postproduction in georgia right now. >> this is a question from a high school student, could you speak about third-party candidates and their role as politics? >> as a state legislator i've cosponsored legislation a couple times a that would expand opportunity for third-party candidates. georgia doesn't really permit it. the bar is set so high very few parties can make it onto the ballot outside of the libertarian party. i think a robust competition is important. it holds the two major partiesob accountable. i do not believe we are ever going to become a nation that
has an 15 competitive parties, but i do think that the routine of having to not only compete with the other guy had to compete with those whose ideas the challenger on me than if they are o were on the other sif the ideological's drum refines andge sharpens how we talk about who we are and what you're held traccountable for so i believe e should expand access for the third parties. >> we have several versions of this question and you've stated you are open to being considered for the number two spot by any nominee. which would be your favorite? [laughter] >> nice try. [laughter] look, i'm in a very awkward place that i had nothing to do with. when i started meeting with all of the presidential nominees, i did so because i wanted to talk about voter suppression and to
acknowledge to all that georgia is a battleground state. those are my conditions. very clear about it. i had lunch with a guy in dc named show and a suddenly there were these rumors, which i then had to dispel when i was on a show called the view and people heard me say i never wanted to do this. that's not what i said. i said you do not run for second in the primary. that's all i said. once i set it up and i said i'm not sure what i'm going to do, once i announced i wasn't going to run, then the question came again from a lot of you in this room, and so i've been in the awkward position the last few months of answering a question people don't usually have to answer until they are being announced. would i be honored to serve as the second to a person who's trying to fix the nation? absolutely. would i be open to doing so with any of the top nominees? absolutely. i am a democrat and i believe that i can serve.mo
i am also a person who believes that particularly women of color people who come from disadvantaged communities, that come from marginalized communities, we cannot be coy about your ambition. we are expectedbe to dismiss and to diminish ourselves have to say well, i don't know. number one, i am fairly straightforward. if i'm going to answering going to answer and if i'm not, i'm not. but on this one is the ethical thing to me because this is the first time i remember in modern history where a young black woman, and i consider myself young because i'm under 4066 [laughter] had been talked about openly as a potential vice presidential nominee and i'm never going to diminish that and i'm not going to say no because the answer is yes. [applause] so, this many people would like to know if you have reconsidered
your decision to stay out of ugeorgia's senate races. >> no. next question. [laughter] as i said earlier, i think you run for the job you want, and you need to want to do the job when you have it. i'm out of m proud of my service state legislature. i'm proud of the work i was able to do as the leader. i do not want to do that work again. my highest views based on what i've been able to do for most of my life,'v i'm good at trying to fix things and often that means creating organizational structures whether it it's companies that started, organizations i've started. i enjoy and i'm best at the executive side although i was a very goodd legislator. there are people who want to go to the senate. there are smart, thoughtful, capable people running in georgia and they can win if we fight for the suppression and invest in the state. that's my mission and the work i'm going to do and i look forward to celebrating both democrat senators when we elect and in 2020.
[applause] we have a theme here. have you reconsidered your decision to stay out of the presidential race and has anybody urge urge you to recons? >> yes. i've been urged to reconsider and i said no and i need no. i am not going to. no. [laughter] that is what everyone wants to know. can you tell us more about the rollout of your national fair fight initiative and specifically which state you are targeting? >> i can give you almost all of them but there are 17 of them, so the three initial states, verified 2020 was designed to think about the fact that voter suppression exists today but often campaigns and parties don't think about it until september of th general electiod by then it's too late. by then the closures of the
polling places have happened and all of the insidious and interstitial changes that are made to the rules to knock people out and prevent them from voting all over typically before you get to the general election and so one thing we learned in georgia we did a lot of work to prevent voter suppression which is one of the reasons we have such a high turnout. the problem is the person we were running against has even more power and so the imbalance remained. but once you know more you can do more. weth want to use the experience and lessons we have from georgia to help in other states, so we watched early in mississippi, louisiana and kentucky. for example, when working with the kentucky democratic party because the way we do this is the actually higher staff for the state parties. we fully fund those staff and trained them and make certain we stay in contact with them as they do their work. the reason we use state parties as they are the only entities most states are permitted to be
in spite of the polling place behind the desk monitoring what is happening on election day and we need to be there from the start of registration all the the party. and so, we are in the -- the start and the three states and an example is that match veterans and republican party and kentucky changed the construction of the state elections the word and a few months ago it was discovered they purged the 175,000 people. because we were on the ground working with state party, we were instrumental in helping the state party follow a lawsuit that the federal judge said was valid and they force -- the basically invalidated if the 175,000 people. they were all permitted to vote thisis november. that may have had something to do with thee outcome of the election. [applause] what we do is make sure state parties are able to actually fight back. we are in in addition to the
three states come if you go to the website you will see them all, but we are definitely in georgia, north carolina, we are in florida, texas, arizona, wisconsin, ohio, michigan, nevada, maine, new 1 hampshire,a bunch of states in the middle. [laughter] there are 17 states. go to verified 2020.org and you can learn more. [laughter] should election may be a federal sholiday? >> as it should be a federal holiday and should be a federal holiday where employers are not permitted to threaten their workers if they try to use that time. [applause]e]e or penalize them for using that timthetime because what happensu were a shift worker you are often in a state that says yes you have this right if you don't show up within 30 minutes of time we've given you, you lose your job and ifif we make it a
federal holiday there need to be penalties for anyone that is not permitted to exercise the right to votee if they use that holiday.e >> is the time for the electoral college past? college past? >> that the total college is racist and we need to remember it wasn't designed because people were worried about idaho and not having enough votes. we didn't know about idaho. what we did no -- [laughter] we didn't. that's what we did know it's in the south, the populations in the south had equal or roughly equal populations to the north. however, because black people were not considered human or citizen, they wanted their bodies to account for the purposes of the population count, but not their humanity. the electoral college was designed to give southern states the ability to count the bodies of slaves but not have to allow them to cast votes and thus the electoral college was born as a compromise. the other challenge was in the north one of them didn't want immigrants making decisions and they didn't believe that immigrants and those that were
nott considered well-educated should be making decisions about who the executive of the nation should be so that was a combination of racism classism and both of those things should be flown to the far reach of history and electoral college needs to go. [applause] i want to change the tune just a little because this questioner asked do you know jimmy carter and can you share any story about him? >> probably the most fun story is president carter helped the campaign. we were down in his neck of the woods in sumter county where he had helped create a micro- clinic. georgia is one of the 14 states that refused to expand medicaid even though we are in the bottom ten on every single metric of healthcare, including having one of the worst coverage rates, highest maternal mortality especially for black women where they are three things were likely to die from giving birth and from complications after than any other population.
and one of thea reasons is that georgia has lost seven hospitals since 2010 that we have a state that is largely rural and that access to health care is critical. soso he helped fund a program tt created a micro- clinic that finally provided services for a round of 50 square mile area. so we were there andhe we were talking about the clinic and talking about my campaign, sitting side-by-side, and his wife was sitting behind. he got up to start answering questions and he kept answering questions. she leaned forward and said you are not running again. sit down! [laughter] ..