Weekly Democratic Address
August 23, 2019
Hi, I’m Dean Phillips, and I’m joining you from my home state of Minnesota, where I’ve spent the past month visiting with members of our community, both Democrats and Republicans, about what they want fixed in Washington.
I ran for Congress because I was so tired of the erosion of political discourse throughout our whole country and a government that way too often places special interests before our common interests.
Whether it’s protecting our communities from the dangers of climate change or protecting our loved ones from the risk of gun violence, it’s special interests who seem to always get in the way of sensible action.
And, if what I’ve heard here in Minnesota is any indication, most Americans feel exactly the same way.
We believe that campaign contributions should not be the ticket to representation – not in a democracy that works for everyone.
Last fall, you sent a loud and very clear message to Washington by electing an historic Freshman Class of reform-minded Democrats.
I’m really proud to be a Member of that class – and help lead the mission to clean up the culture of corruption in Washington and return power to people, where it rightfully belongs.
And we got right to work right away, introducing and passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act – a historic package of reforms that reduced the influence of big money in our politics, protects voters’ rights, secures our elections from foreign interference and increases the ethical standards for Members of Congress.
That day, walking up the Capitol steps with my colleagues to vote on H.R. 1 was one of the most important and gratifying moments of my whole life – and the very beginning of a more transparent and effective Democracy.
But, like almost every single one of the almost 500 bills that we’ve passed in the House this year, the For the People Act ran into a very familiar roadblock in the Senate. His name: Mitch McConnell.
When Democrats and Republicans came together to pass universal background checks for all gun purchases, Mitch McConnell refused to bring it up for a vote.
And when we passed the Climate Action Now Act, to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and take further action to address climate change, once again, Mitch McConnell wouldn’t bring it up for a vote.
And when we passed the For the People Act, to loosen the grip of special interests on Washington, Mitch McConnell once again refused to act, almost certainly because he knows what keeps him in power: special interests and the unjust laws that disenfranchise way too many American voters.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have the chance, right now, to reject McConnell’s brand of politics – of putting a political party ahead of our country and campaign checks before constituents.
Now, he can try to stonewall our legislation, but he cannot stonewall your voice.
We’re here to work For the People: to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, to raise wages by building (the) infrastructure throughout our country and cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for you.
And that’s why we need your help. You can make a huge difference by sharing your story or simply inviting people in your own community to have a conversation together, especially those who think differently than you do. For, only by listening, conversing, learning and respecting one another can we fix the very most challenging problems our nation faces – our own divisions.
So, I invite you to join us in the spirit of hopefulness, and I remind you that optimism is just as contagious as fear.
Thank you. Keep the faith. And God Bless America.