Lots of news made: Cory Booker promised a female running mate, Kamala Harris had a nice quote about medical marijuana, Julian Castro made no news, Tulsi Gabbard made no news, Amy Klobuchar made no news, Beto O’Rourke made news on eliminating tipped wages, Bernie Sanders did not make news, Elizabeth Warren made news on black pregnancy. It was a long event, so I only included the newsy bits and excluded stump.
Cory Booker pledges female VP
That's a great question. Well, you know, as a man that was raised by a strong black woman, who understood and taught me from my very earliest of ages, the debt that I owe, from Mimi Till to Fannie Lou Hamer, from Barbara Jordan, all the way to people who led us in the abolitionist movement.
We in America owe a debt to the championship and the leadership and the activism of women of color. And so I began my career, as I've said, in a black and brown community. The first person to tell me to run for office was the Tenant President of some projects called Brick Towers who wanted me in the fight and to remember where I came from. That's why I still live in that same neighborhood today. And so I'm a big believer that you can't lead the people if you don't love the people.
And as brother Dr. West says, “What does love look like in public? It looks like justice,” and so women of color can trust me as someone for my entire career has been rooted in the communities that have empowered me to be who I am today.
And all of my fights, even in the United States Senate -- when I got there, there was not diversity -- I fought with Brian Schatz to not make sure that Chuck Schumer changed the rules to start showing our diversity statistics for Democratic senators as a move to get a lot more diversity there.
From taking on issues that are loyal to my communities that aren't talked about enough. Like why does sickle cell research gets so much less funding than other illnesses and diseases that affect less people? Why can we be a nation where it has maternal mortality for black women, three, four times higher than white women.
And so my fights have been fights that have shown who I am and show my loyalty and when I am President of the United States, these will continue to be the kind of fights that I take on and I will make sure that this nation is finally who we say we are a nation of liberty and justice for all.
Q: Would you pledge to have a woman running mate?
A: The question if you didn't hear it is: “Will I pledge to have a woman running mate?” I will have a woman running mate. To me, it's really clear that we do that.
Kamala Harris on race/marijuana
So first, what we gotta do is like -- in my hometown of Oakland, California -- what has happened is that there has been -- there have been policies that have said that the young invariably a lot of the people who historically were arrested for drugs, marijuana sales, were young men, young men of color.
And -- and so isn't that the irony of it all, that now this is one of the fastest growing money making industries in our country. And the very young men who -- who were trying to make money doing the same thing, but that criminalized and how have now been branded felons for life, are excluded from the economic opportunities that are now available because of this new industry.
So part of what has to happen is there have to be policies in place that look at the background and actually do the work of saying that some of those young men should be first in line to get the jobs that are available.
Felony convictions should not be the barrier to them having employment in an industry that they were a part of before it was an industry. Right? They were ahead of the curve!
Julian Castro makes no news
Thank you for the question. And, you know, I grew up -- I am only here because of two very strong women of color. My grandmother, Victoria, who came from Mexico when she was seven, you know, she came across the border in 1922. She never finished elementary school. So she worked as a maid, a cook and a babysitter for her whole life.
And you know, and she raised my mom, as a single parent, my mom was able to become the first one to graduate from high school, and then go on to college. And she raised my brother and me as a single parent. And so I grew up seeing both the struggles and the promise of two strong women of color.
And I have dedicated my time in public service to making sure that people just like my mother, and my grandmother could do better in this country. It's why I focused in my time as mayor and as HUD Secretary, so much on trying to deliver for communities that are vulnerable, that are struggling, whether it was by passing pre-K, for S.A. -- San Antonio, by doing a sales tax initiative, that people thought like, why are you -- you know -- why are you getting involved in education, you're the mayor, you have nothing to do with that. But I saw that as a key to making sure that people that are too often left behind could get ahead.
I also -- when we were at HUD -- fought to make sure that people would not be discriminated against. We -- we, for instance, went after Wells Fargo and settled with them because they weren't giving mortgages to women who are pregnant, because they were assuming “Well, they may not go back to work. And so they're more of a risk.” We crack down on things like that. Right?
We -- I also, I also see the intersectionality of all of these issues. When we were at HUD, for instance, we promulgated something called the Equal Access Order, an expansion of that, so that if you are part of the LGBTQ community, if you're transgender, that you could -- you could show up at a federally funded shelter, and be accommodated according to your preference.
Because we know that people are not just -- they're not one dimensional. Right? They face many different struggles in their life. And to answer your question very directly, why should women of color choose me? It's because I have a track record. I have a track record of getting things done for vulnerable communities, especially women of color. And that is -- that is exactly what I will do with I'm elected President of the United States. Thank y'all very much.
Amy Klobuchar on police accountability
Q: One of the reasons it's so rare for police officers to be convicted in cases like Philando Castille and others, no matter what the circumstances, police officers get the automatic presumption, essentially a presumption that they are in the right, so long as they can assert that they feared for their life. And it's really on the officers' word most of the time, at least, that's the perception of bills to the public. Do you support laws that give officers so much of a presumption of being in the right in shootings of unarmed civilians? Or should the laws be changed, either to change that presumption to make make it be more investigation or to take the decision on prosecution out of the hands of prosecutors are often working hand in hand?
Okay, so a few things on that. Obviously, we should look at those laws -- are state-by-state and I think they vary but the things that I think are prominent, I was a prosecutor, everything went to the grand jury. That's how we did it back then. When there was a shooting, and I think there needs some more accountability with the individual county attorney -- me, in my case -- prosecutor looking at those cases themselves and owning what happens.
I think the investigation should not be done by the Police Department where the officer works. I feel very strongly -- and I actually, I actually took a stand on this way back when I had that job before that shouldn't happen. So I think you have to have a better process when you investigate these cases.
Beto O’Rourke on tipped wages
Thank you for the question, for offering your experience as an example, for the urgency with which we must meet this challenge.
So, yes, I support a $15 minimum hourly wage in this country for everyone, without exception, regardless of your occupation. I want to make sure that you are protected from harassment and intimidation in your place of work.
So I want to strengthen those protections and the accountability and justice for those who -- who violate the -- the protections that are in place.
But I also want to acknowledge that a minimum wage is not going to be enough, especially when it comes to women of color. Women alone in this country are paid 80 cents on average what a man is paid for the same job, but African American women, 61 cents of what a man is paid, Latinas, 53 cents of what a man is paid.
We also need an Equal Rights Amendment ratified in this country so that no woman can be discriminated against on any basis whatsoever.
Bernie Sanders on SCOTUS Justices
Well, the first thing is that my pledge to you -- and I don't make a whole lot of campaign promises -- but that is, as President of the United States, I will appoint Supreme Court Justices and nominate justices all across the board, who will represent the needs of people of color, of working people, and who are prepared to believe and fight for justice, not just the people on top. So that's number one.
Number two, I know there's been a lot of discussion about packing the court and so forth. I don't -- I'm not for that, because I think the next party that comes to power will do the same thing. But I think what we can do is something fairly novel -- is that after a member of the Supreme Court serves for a certain period of time, perhaps 12 years or so, that that justice then rotates to an appeals court. That'll give you some fresh blood.
Elizabeth Warren on black pregnancy
Great question Monique, I'm so glad you asked it. Because it is so important. Let me just start by saying, you know, I think everything that happens in government is ultimately about our values. But boy, nowhere do you see it more than measures the value that a country has, by how it treats its mamas and its babies.
And the United States -- for 25 years -- has profoundly failed on this front. We have failed our mamas, we have failed our babies. Exactly in the way she talked about, while countries around the world have had more and more mothers surviving childbirth, here in the United States, we’re one of only a handful of countries where it's actually gone down.
And there is a specific problem -- as you rightly identify -- for women of color, who are three, four times more likely to die in childbirth. And here's the thing. Even after we do the adjustments, for income, for education, this is true across the board. This is true for well-educated African American women, for wealthy African American women. And the best studies that I've seen, put it down to just one thing, prejudice. That -- that doctors and nurses don't hear African American women's medical issues the same way that they hear the same things from white women.
We got to change that. And we got to change it fast. Because people's lives are at stake. So here's -- I got a plan. Here's the plan. I know there are a lot of people in probably a lot of people in this audience who've been working on this issue.
There are a lot of good ideas about how we could raise awareness of it and other kinds of things we could do to study it. But I got another approach that I want to use. I want to talk to the hospitals who are is where most of these births take place. And I want to talk to them in the language they understand: money.
Because here's the deal.
[audience member shouts something inaudible, possibly “cha-ching!”]
‘cause here's the deal. Right now, the way that most medical procedures are treated, including those of childbirth -- is that hospitals and the doctors who work for them and the nurses who work for them -- that hospitals get fees for services. So they get something for the delivery room and something for the recovery room and something for all the different parts, right?
And they get it no matter what the outcomes are. So we have an innovation that's been going on now in medicine for a while called bundled payments. And the way it works -- is say you gotta have your knee replaced -- the hospital just gets a lump of money. And then the measurement is, “Did the person get a knee that they can walk on that’s pain free?” Well, here's what I'd like to change, right now in maternal health. And that is to say, the hospitals are just going to get a lump of money. And if they bring down those maternal mortality rates, then they get a bonus. If they don't, then they're going to have money taken away from them.
I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on. And to make it a first priority. And the best way to do that is to use money to make it happen because we got to have change and we got to have change now. So that's my plan.
Tulsi Gabbard makes no news
Look, I, again coming from Hawaii, have a unique experience that I -- that I bring to the forefront, and that I feel is so strongly needed in this country now.
Not only in coming from such a diverse state and having these own experiences that I bring to the forefront, but really recognizing that as there are so many different issues and problems and challenges that we need to address in this country… at the heart of all of them, is ultimately we have self-serving politicians looking out for their own interests, greedy corporate interests looking out for their own bottom line.
And we, the people, get left behind. The vision that our founders had for this country of a government of, by, and for the people, has been lost. So we need to change this corrupt culture that is standing in the way of progress, that is standing in the way of our voices being heard, that is standing in the way of our votes being counted.
That needs to change. So as a soldier, someone who understands in a very deep and personal way, what it means to put service above self, those values of putting service above self is what I will bring to the White House to make sure that that mission, the mission of the President and the White House and our nation's capital is solely focused on how we can best serve the American people.