In Fayetteville, Tim Kaine and Anne Holton Vow to Fight for Veterans and Military Families

NORTH CAROLINA–(ENEWSPF)–August 16, 2016.  On Tuesday vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine campaigned with his wife, the Honorable Anne Holton in Fayetteville, NC.  Kaine noted how veterans issues, such as protecting the GI Bill and supporting military families, are a key part of his and Secretary Clinton’s platform.

Kaine also criticized Donald Trump for calling the American military a “disaster”, saying, “I don’t think in the history of the United States there has been a major party nominee who has talked with such disrespect about the military.”
This also marked the kick-off of Holton’s first solo campaign swing, who is excited to be out on the trail on behalf of her husband and Secretary Clinton,  saying she is “pleased to get to serve in this new way with such a great leader.” Holton went on to tout her husband’s long career fighting for veterans, including the very first bill Kaine introduced as a U.S. Senator, the Troop Talent Act, designed to help veterans utilize their military training for civilian careers.
Holton and Kaine’s remarks, as transcribed are below:

ANNE HOLTON: “[…] I worked there on many different ways of helping improve pathways so that everyone has a pathway to success in the 21st century.  But one of the issues I worked very closely on with my colleague in the secretary of veterans services, Admiral John Harvey, a four-star admiral – we were very, very blessed in Virginia to have him serving in our cabinet – we worked very hard on transition issues for veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce.  I also worked very hard with my governor’s wife, Terry McAuliffe’s wife Dorothy.  They are a proud military family, as are Tim and I, and we worked hard on military family issues in our schools.  So I was especially excited to hear about the great work going on here at Cape Fear Botanical Garden to partner with the USO on behalf of military families, veterans’ families, to serve children, to do summer programming that helps address the summer learning loss.  So let’s have a round of applause for Cape Fear.

I was also delighted backstage to get to see my friend, Governor Hunt.  Where are you, Governor Hunt?  Yay.  Governor Hunt and his wife.  We go back.  Governor Hunt is – worked with my – going back to the days of my dad.  He is a cross-generation guy, and – but he’s still very, very active and has come to Virginia to work with us on education issues not that long ago, and he’s such a great champion of pre-K and so many other things that Tim and Secretary Clinton and I know are crucial to helping make education the pathway to success for everybody, especially those at the margins that it so importantly needs to be.  Again, thank you, Governor Hunt, for your great work.

Well, Tim and I are in a bit of a whirlwind.  Our life got turned topsy-turvy about three weeks ago, as you can imagine, when Secretary Clinton called him, as he says, at 7:32 p.m. – but who’s counting? – on a Friday night – and asked him to be on this ticket.  And it is an honor and a privilege, really humbling to get to serve with such a great, great leader as Secretary Clinton.  Hillary fundamentally understand and is focused on the most important issue, I think, for Americans right now.  And that is, how can we get the economy working so that it works for everyone, not just those at the top?  And she – Yeah.  I’m particularly proud that she understands how important education, both at the pre-K, K-12, higher ed, apprenticeships, all the different pathways to education, helping folks to get credentials, how important all of those pieces are to the strength of the economy and to ensuring folks get good paying jobs.

She has detailed plans that my husband’s going to tell you more about, I’m sure – the military families plan, her plans to help youth connect with good paying jobs.  But what I wanted to tell you about her that I’m so impressed about, really, from her whole career, but also just watching her the little bit of time we’ve had the opportunity to be on the campaign trail with her, she is fundamentally a pragmatic, ‘get things done’ person, right?  And our military communities – our military communities understand that.  This is not, you know, red state, blue state stuff.  This is not us, them stuff.  This is, we all need to pull together and be stronger together, and get things done on behalf of our nation.  And I’m so, so pleased to get to serve in this new way with such a great leader.

Well, my pleasure today is to get to introduce you now to my husband, my partner of 32 years.  We’re coming up on our 32nd anniversary this fall.  He’s the father of our three children, including our oldest, who is serving, as Judy told you, in the Marines.  We are very proud.  He was at Camp Lejeune until just a few weeks ago.  And we – you know, we’ve had a lot of adventures together.  We’ve supported each other in our careers, and we’ve had some interesting ones, and managed to fit in raising three beautiful adult children along the way.  With a lot of help from our village, our community, our friends, some great babysitters. Doing all the juggling that all of us do.

But it’s a pleasure to be on this new adventure with him.  This is our first real joint trip on the campaign together.  We landed in Asheville last night and had a lot of fun there, and then get to be here together today.  He flies off to parts distant this afternoon, but I get to spend the next couple of days in North Carolina.  I think I’m going to be spending a lot of time in North Carolina.  I think we’re all going to be spending a lot of time in North Carolina. Which we’re thrilled to get to do.  And it’s exciting.  It’s exciting to watch all the great things going on in North Carolina at all kinds of levels, and how important your politics – he is here at all kinds of levels.

Well, I’m just going to tell you just a little bit about my husband.  As he says, folks in Virginia know him – know us pretty well.  But these other 49 states, you all are playing catch-up.  I’m sure you’ve heard that he was a city councilman before he was mayor.  Then lieutenant governor, then governor, and now serving the Senate on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee, Virginia being – Thank you.  Virginia – so I’m used to being very Virginia-centric.  So I’ll say this carefully.  Virginia rivals North Carolina for being one of the most military family states in the nation.  And literally, yes, we do, like North Carolina, have a very, very high population of veterans and folks – active duty military families, and so we do get the essential role that this community plays in our wider nation, and Tim has been very, very proud to serve through his committee work, and through his entire political career to help raise up the needs of – what we need to be doing to support our military, to strengthen it, and to help our military families and our vets when they return home.

I thought I’d tell you just about one thing, because I could talk about lots, but Tim’s one proud moment is that Tim’s first bill that he introduced when he was elected to the Senate – three and a half years ago now, four and a half years ago?  The first bill he introduced and got passed was the Troop Talent Act, which is a bill that helps military members get civilian credit for their military training when they’re looking to transfer back to the civilian world.  He introduced and helped pass that bill because he gets it, from having known and listened to and learned from our military families in Virginia.

That’s the last thing I’ll tell you about my husband before I bring him up here, is that he is a great listener.  He gets that part of our role as we’re campaigning – one of the reasons campaigning is fun is that we do get to travel across the country and hear your concerns, and your ideas, and your suggestions, and take them back to the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.  And now, I give you the next vice president of the United States, my husband, Tim Kaine.”

TIM KAINE: “Hey guys.  Great to be with you.  Thank you.  What a great group.  I am so glad – I am so glad to be here in North Carolina.  You are very important this year.  You’re very important.  And I’m so glad to be here with Anne.  Please have a seat.  When I – when I do a campaign event with Anne, it’s like going on vacation.  This is, like, fantastic.  And the ability to do events last night in Asheville, and then here in Fayetteville today really means a lot to us.  We’re not in North Carolina by accident.  We are here because we are going to win North Carolina.  And that’s why we’re here.  That’s why we’re here.

And what a great group of friends.  I’ve seen folks that I’ve known for a while, and I’ve seen a Richmond neighbor of mine who drove down because he thought it would be easier to see me here than in Richmond these days.  Charlie.  But we’re just glad to have this chance to be here at the Botanical Garden.  This is a beautiful place.  We have a botanical garden in Richmond near us, about a mile away, and I know how central to the life of a community a great educational institution like this is.  So thank you guys for opening up and hosting.

Let me do a couple of thanks, and then I just really want to talk about what’s at stake in the election.  And then I want to get to how do we win it.  So, some thank-yous and some acknowledgments.  Judy didn’t really brag about herself when she came and spoke.  Judy is a 17-year Army vet.  And – yeah, okay.  I know.  This is a proud Army town, with a great Army, and with Pope field, also – a great Army and great Air Force tradition.  I hope you won’t mind Marine parents being up here with a Lejeune connection rather than a Fayetteville connection.

But Judy was 17 years – but then has been, like, one of these great serial entrepreneurs, starting businesses.  Numerous businesses since she left active duty.  And that is just exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do when I introduced my Troop Talent Act – was to enable people when they were in active duty to get the kind of skills and training so that when they get out, they don’t have to flounder around, but instead, all of their skills, all of their talents, all of their leadership can be put to work just like that.  Not only being economically successful, but sharing your talents with the broader community.  Because everybody who is in active duty has a lot of talents to share with the broader community when they move to veteran status.  So, Judy, you’re just an example of the kind of thing I’m working on in the armed services committee.  Give her, and everybody like Judy, like a big round of applause.

We had fun visiting with some elected officials backstage.  I’m one of the few people that have been in local office, state office, federal office, and I really appreciate what everybody brings to the table.  And it doesn’t work unless you work together.  My wife talked about Governor Hunt, his wife Carolyn.  These are dear friends.  I expanded early childhood education dramatically when I was governor, even though we were in a recession.  Even though we were having to cut the budget, this was one thing along with veterans’ services that we expanded.  But I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I not had Jim Hunt come up again and again and make the case, and tell my business community, and tell my legislators of both parties what a great thing early childhood education is.  So thank you guys so much.

I visited went with Linda Coleman, your great candidate for lieutenant governor, who spoke during the pre-program.  Give her a round of applause.  Yep.  Absolutely.  And also, to Mitch Colvin, who’s the Mayor pro tem on the Fayetteville City Council, and a councilman.  Along with other members of the Fayetteville City Council, and the Cumberland County Commission, and your delegation to the North Carolina General Assembly.  It’s not easy to be in politics.  A lot of sacrifices.  Family time chief among them.  So everybody who is doing that job deserves your thanks.  Can you give them a round of applause and say thanks for what you’re doing?  And all our candidates.

And I also met our Sheriff all of the law enforcement folks who are needed to make an event like this go, who keep us safe.  Give them a round of applause, and thank them for the work that they do.  I am so proud to be on this ticket.  I am so proud to be on this ticket.  It is a surprise.  I grew up in an iron working shop.  My dad was an ironworker and welder.  And, you know, we weren’t into politics growing up.  And – they stood with me on the stage in Philadelphia with the balloons falling, seeing me get onto this ticket, and it was just like, could this have happened – I’m proud for a lot of reasons.  Hillary Clinton did call me at 7:32 p.m. on Friday, July 22 to ask if I’d join the ticket.  That was a memorable moment in my life.  I’m not going to forget it.

And of course, when she asked, I was proud to say yes, because Hillary Clinton, as President Obama said during his wonderful speech on the Wednesday night at the convention, is the most qualified person to be nominated to be a national party’s candidate for a very long time, and maybe ever.  And maybe ever. To work with somebody who has that track record, that life of service, of putting kids and families at the center of everything, from her Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago when she was a teenager, all the way through first lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the US, US Senator, Secretary of State, always putting kids and families first.  Sometimes winning, sometimes losing, but never backing down, never backing away, never giving up.  Always pushing forward to try to lighten the burden, and measure our society’s success by the success of our families and kids.

So of course I was proud to say yes when she asked me.  But there was another reason I was proud to say yes, or maybe enthusiastic with an exclamation point.  And I bet everybody out here will get exactly what I’m talking about.  My mom was with me on stage – I’m going to see if I can do this – my mom was with me on stage.  She’s 81.  Balloons were falling everywhere.  And in the middle of that, after we – after Hillary accepted the nomination – we were there together – my mom said, this is the best night of my life.

Now, some of that was because of me.  I don’t think my mom would have been on stage had I not been the nominee.  So, I mean, I get a little credit for it.  But what my mom was really saying is, wow, what a great thing for me to stand on this stage when the Democratic Party is nominating a woman to be president of the United States.  I mean, that’s what she was saying to me.  That’s what she was saying to me.  If you think about – here’s the way we kind of we look in Virginia.  We’re history buffs just like North Carolinians are.  Here’s the way we look at this thing.

A Virginian said in 1776, we’re going to measure the whole stake of this enterprise by equality.  That’s going to be the North Star, that’s going to be the yardstick.  Now, when he said it, he wasn’t living that way.  And society wasn’t living that way.  But it’s like a sailor that – you know, that navigates by the North Star.  You may never get to the North Star, but you set it out there as the fixed point that you’re going to go after.  And so our history has been this – from the statement that equality would be the principle, we’ve had to knock down one barrier after the next, and we have more that we have to knock down.  And the last thing we need to do is go backwards, folks.  The last thing we need.

And you know that in North Carolina.  Just like we know that in Virginia.  But the sentiment my mom was conveying is, from that statement that equality was going to be the goal – that was the yardstick.  That’s what we said about ourselves.  It took 144 years before women even got the right to vote in this country.  What were we thinking when we said equality mattered?  But no, 144 years – so it took us that long to say in 1920 that women get the right to vote.  And now we’re 96 years later, and we have just nominated a woman – we know we haven’t had a woman president.  But in Congress right now, we’re doing the best job we have ever done in women in the federal legislature.  19 percent.  That’s the best job we’ve ever done.

Hold on for this, folks.  19 percent ranks the United States 75th in the world.  Below the global average.  Iraq is 26 percent.  Afghanistan, 28 percent.  Number one: Rwanda, 64 percent.  So for reasons some of which I understand, some of which I don’t, we have made it hard.  We have made it hard for women to be elected to the highest positions in our federal legislature and as president.  But we are about to change that, and that’s why I’m so excited. That’s why I’m so excited.

I have been in elected politics for 22 years, and I got to tell you, my career – I’m 8 and 0 in races, and I’m going to be 9 and 0 after November – but my career in politics as a strong man has been built on a foundation of support by strong women – my mother, my fantastic wife, campaign managers, campaign donors, cabinet secretaries, volunteers.  Women are the majority of voters in this country.  And so I said yes with an exclamation point because I’m one strong man that is excited about supporting a strong woman to be president for the first time.  And I know there’s a lot of strong men in this country who feel exactly the same way.  Just as strong women have supported us, we’re here to support a strong woman to be president of the United States, and that’s why I’m so excited.

You have a strong woman running for the United States Senate.  I see some of these stickers.  You’ve got Deborah Ross, who’s running for the Senate.  She couldn’t be here today.  We have done some campaigning against [sic] her.  Please stand strong for her.  And stand strong for some sanity in the governor’s residence, too, with Roy Cooper coming to be governor of Virginia – coming to be governor of North Carolina.

And then the last thank you I’ll say is just to my wife Anne.  We have been partners.  I say wife, lover, girlfriend, my most astute critic, my most energetic supporter, great mom, great public servant in so many ways.  This whole thing has been an adventure of two.  And things are a lot of fun when you do them as a couple.  We’ve lived.  We’ve laughed.  We’ve cried.  We have memories.  And this is going to be a whole new chapter, I have the feeling.  And so I’m so happy that she’s here with me.  Can you give my wife a big round of applause?  Hey, thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.

So I want to talk just really about two things.  I said I’d talk about why the campaign matters.  I want to talk about two issues and then do a little bit of how we win this thing.  And the two issues I want to talk about are jobs, and I want to talk about military veterans, military families.  I want to talk about two.

Jobs.  Jobs.  You got to boil this down and make it simple:  Donald Trump would be a ‘you’re fired’ president.  Hillary Clinton will be a ‘you’re hired’ president.  Okay?  Is that simple enough?  Is that simple enough?  Let me start with Hillary and the positive.  She’ll be a ‘you’re hired’ president.  She asked me to join her.  I’ve been a mayor, governor, done economic development deals.  I’m really into creating opportunities, creating jobs for folks.  Hillary has a five-point plan that is our five-point plan to start the economy – Judy talked about it – in the first 100 days.  This is going to be priority one, pushing Congress to enact legislation that’ll be the biggest jump-start in jobs since World War II.  And it’s got five pieces to it.

And Hillary even gives you the details.  The other guy just says, ‘Well, we’ll be great, believe me.’  I mean, is there anybody here who believes one word that Donald Trump says?  No.  No.  But Hillary gives you the details.  So I’ll be quick about it.

Point one is investments, investments in the economy of tomorrow.  Infrastructure, let’s build roads, rail, airports, ports, broadband, electricity grid.  I know – I know I’m speaking to your legislators and local officials here.  When you do infrastructure projects, you hire people today, and that’s great.  And then you live off the investment because it raises the platform for your success for decades to come.  That’s number one, investments in advanced manufacturing.  Virginia, we see manufacturing coming back.  North Carolina, too.

It’s different.  It’s a lot of equipment.  Some of the plants don’t have as many workers, but there are advanced manufacturing opportunities.  We got to push them, especially in North Carolina, where you have really built up an expertise in renewable energy, wind and solar, some great projects in this state.  The new manufacturing and the new energy economy of tomorrow, we’ll invest in that.  You’ve got great research institutions here.  As much as a Virginian hates to admit it, I mean, there’s some fantastic universities here that do tons of great research.  We got to invest in research because that spins off economic activity.  So that’s point one.  We’re going to make investments.

Point two:  We’re going to share prosperity.  Profit-sharing plans – let’s make it easier for companies to share the prosperity of their success, not harder.  And let’s make it hard for companies for people at the top to take the money and ship jobs overseas.  No.  Let’s make sure we’re not giving them tax benefits that they can take overseas, but give patriotic companies benefits to keep their patriotic investments right here in this country.  That’s point two, shared prosperity.

That’s the way I grew up.  I grew up in a business household.  Hillary did, too, small business.  She had a family drape and fabric-printing business.  My dad ran a shop with five to seven ironworkers and welders.  And he was management and they were the union.  But he didn’t say, it’s management against the union.  He didn’t say, it’s the boss against the employees.  He said, it’s shared prosperity.  He would teach my brothers and me.  ‘My great welders will put you boys through school.’  And then he would say, ‘And my business skills will put my workers’ kids through school.’  So shared prosperity – things like making sure workers have the rights that they need, and making sure that we pay equal for equal work.  I mean, what a fancy concept that is.  Right?  Shared prosperity.

Point three is we’ve got to do much, much better on education.  Governor Hunt, he knows this.  You start early.  I went to a church sermon once where it said, ‘It’s easier to build a child than repair a man.’  Start early.  It saves a lot of challenges on the back end.  Promotes a lot of success.  You go pre-K to smart curricular work and letting teachers and school districts have the flexibility and creativity they need to do the best job for their students in the way they see fit.  Not a lot of top-down stuff.

We can make – we can make college debt-free in this country.  We can do this.  Other nations do it.  We can, too.  We can do it. And expand – and expand opportunities.  Expand opportunities in a significant way for apprenticeships and the career and technical training like my dad’s workers got.  So that’s the third point, education.

Fourth point is trying to make the whole life/work balance thing work out.  I talked about equal pay for work a little bit.  Secretary Clinton’s got something good to make it easier for people to afford childcare.  Some people are paying 20 to 30 percent of their income for childcare.  We should not have to pay more than about 10 percent of the income for childcare, so a childcare tax credit really helps with this.  And then another thing that really helps is the minimum wage.  We haven’t raised the minimum wage in too long.  And that will help families succeed.

And if I could just take a minute on that.  I know sometimes we talk about raising the minimum wage, and there’s an applause line, and we move on to the next thing.  I’m going to be real plain about why this matters to Hillary and why this should matter to all of us.  In this country right now, what do we tell people growing up?  We tell kids, our children, work hard.  That’s the key to success.  Word hard.  Hard work is the key.  Hard work is the key.  But if you work full-time for minimum wage, and a lot of people do – and about 65 percent of minimum wage workers are women – if you do that and you have one or two dependents, you will be below the poverty level.

So think about that for a minute.  We tell you, work’s important.  We really want you to work hard.  But if we say that, but we have a policy that will put you in the poverty level, if you do that, if you follow it, if you work hard, then our words ring hollow.  We don’t really mean what we say.  If we value work, and if we value workers, and if we value families, then we ought to have policies, like a livable minimum wage, that show we value it, and enable people to live in a decent and dignified way.  In a decent and dignified way.

And then the last piece of the jobs plan that Hillary has is here’s how we’re going to pay for it because you can’t just say it’s smoke and mirrors.  And so she says, we will have to have higher taxes on something to pay for it.  And what we’ll do, as we’ve come out of the recession, there’s been a lot of growth.  But the growth has been kind of at the top.  It’s not been spread.  We haven’t created that economy that works for everybody.  To do the things that will create an economy that works for everybody, we need to go to sort of higher-income individuals, very successful financial institutions, and companies, and have them pay a little bit more, and invest those in the first four priorities.  And guess what?  If we do, they’re going to do better, too.  Because everybody does better where there’s prosperity and opportunity and ladders of success that everybody can climb.  The whole society does better.

Now, that’s a ‘you’re hired’ plan, folks.  Donald Trump has a different plan, and he tends again not to give you too many details.  He just says, ‘Believe me.’  But recently – and I am not going to ask you to believe me.  You know?  Donald Trump says ‘believe me’ all the time.  ‘We’re going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, believe me.’  ‘We’re all going to be rich, believe me.’  ‘We’re going to beat ISIS so fast, believe me.’  I mean, ‘believe me,’ that’s all you can do?  I mean, come on.  You got to tell people how.

So I’m not asking you to believe me on the ‘you’re hired’ versus ‘you’re fired.’  I’m going to tell you what a very savvy independent organization says.  Moody’s Analytics, they’re the best economic analysis firm in the country.  They’re not Democrats; the chief economist, Mark Zandi, was John McCain’s head economist in 2008.  They looked at the Clinton plan.  They looked at the Trump plan.  Here’s what they found.  If you put the Clinton plan in effect, by the end of her first four-year term we will have added more than 10 million jobs to this economy and be in a persistent and strong recovery.  I told you, she’ll be a ‘you’re hired’ president.  She’ll be a ‘you’re hired’ president.

On the other hand, you put the Donald Trump plan into effect, by the end of the first term we will have lost three and a half million jobs, and we will be in a ‘lengthy recession’.  Folks, he’s going to be a ‘you’re fired’ president.  We cannot afford to hand it over to a ‘you’re fired’ guy.   And my prediction is this.  When this campaign is over and people have forgotten everything about Donald Trump’s losing presidential campaign, the two words they will remember about Donald Trump is, ‘You’re fired.’  Right?  That’s what we know about him.  That’s what we know about him.

Now I want to talk about our military, our military families, our vets, our guard and reserve, our DOD civilians, our military contractors.  It’s a big, big, family.  And what Anne said is true.  I mean, with Bragg, with Lejeune, I mean, you have so many assets here.  North Carolina is a state that is so committed to the nation’s military mission, and we are, too.  With the Pentagon, with the biggest Naval base in the world, with Quantico, where all Marine officers train, we’re the same way in Virginia.  And maybe I feel this one a little extra, having a kid in the military.  It’s rare.  There’s only two Senators who do.  I feel this a little bit extra.  I feel this a little bit extra.

Hillary Clinton was on the Armed Services Committee when she was a Senator and I was governor.  And she made working for military families the heart of her work on that committee.  And I’m not on that committee, and I talk to Republicans who say, ‘Hillary, she was a great committee member.  She was fantastic.  Don’t quote me on it; I mean, I can’t say this in front of – but she was fantastic.’  People thought when Hillary came to the Senate, she’d been First Lady, so that was kind of, ah, they thought, maybe she’ll be kind of a celebrity.  No.  No, to the contrary.  She mastered the homework, mastered the details, get down in it, really focus on it.  And she made big strides on military families issues.  She made that a key thing.

And I’ll tell you, a whole lot of things that she’s going to do, our plan for military and veterans – I mean, one of the main things is we’re going to make sure, absolutely, we protect and expand and fortify the GI Bill.  It’s one of the greatest things this nation has ever done.  And my Virginia Senate predecessor, Jim Webb, did the second version of the GI Bill for the Iraq and Afghan war vets that even does some additional benefits, not just for military but military families.  We’re going to make sure that we are preserving that, and we got to – we got to absolutely fight for it.

We know that we have to continue the upgrade of the VA.  When President Obama came into office, the VA was still operating off paper records.  Didn’t even have a computer system that would work that would communicate.  If you were trying to get – as a veteran, if you were trying to get a GI Bill benefit and you would apply, I want to get tuition for this college, you’d have to apply and they’d have to mail it to Buffalo to get approval instead of just put it in and press ‘send’ on the computer and get an answer right away.  It was a completely antiquated system.

And we’ve seen a lot of challenges in the VA – people who it takes too long for them to get their disability approved, it takes too long for them to get a medical appointment.  And Hillary Clinton is absolutely rock-solid that we’ve got to continue and accelerate reforms to the VA.  We’re not backing away from this nation’s commitment to our veterans and the VA system through any kind of risky privatization or anything like that.  We’re going to focus on it.  We’re going to invest in it.  We’re going to improve it because that’s what we have promised, and that’s what we owe.

We’ve got to focus on the realities of the lives that military families lead.  How many in the room are veteran, active, Guard, Reserve, or military family?  Raise your hand.  Okay.  Well, this is darn near half or more of the room.  Military families have a huge challenge.  Here’s one thing we can’t do, really.  We can’t make military service easy.  It’s always going to be hard.  It’s always going to be hard.  But we can make the life of military families a little bit easier.  We could lift their burden a little bit.  And that’s what Hillary and I are set to do.  We want to make sure that we can look at things like paid family leave, minimum wage that I talked about earlier with 65 percent of minimum wage earners being women, focusing on making child care more accessible.  And even think about better ways to take family considerations into account when doing assignments for military deployments.  That’s the kind of thing that we can do.  A lot of – a lot of agencies of our government do it, and we can do that better.

We have to make sure that we’re providing appropriate mental health treatment.  I think for a long time in society – and military is no different.  It’s a microcosm of society.  There was a stigma about seeking mental health treatment in a lot of society.  And maybe  in the military, it’s been a little bit more.  And how heartbreaking is it to see the stories about military or veteran suicides?  How heartbreaking is that or to see the stories that we used to see – we’ve gotten a little bit better about – the Iraq and Afghan war vet and the unemployment rate among that group of people being higher than the national average?  This is about providing that service after the military is done and making sure on mental health and job training we’re doing what we can to support our military and military families.  That’s why I introduced the Troop Talent Act, Judy, as my first bill because I wanted to make sure that we gave people that traction to get into a civilian workforce and just be as successful as you have been and others have been right out of the gate.  I was proud to do that bill and get a lot of it passed as part of the Defense Authorizing Act in 2013.  So there’s a lot we could do.  And Hillary and I are going to do it.  We – this is an issue of passion for us.  It’s an issue of commitment.

Now I want to get over to the other side.  I will say this.  Donald Trump says he’s going to be a good guy for the military.  He says, ‘I’ll be great for the military.’  Donald Trump says, ‘I’ll be great for the vets.’  Can I just break that down for a second with you?  On the military side, on the military side, Donald Trump says, ‘I’m going to be great for the military.’  Donald Trump repeatedly during the Republican debates and since has said, quote, ‘The American military is a disaster. The American military is a disaster.’  This is the guy who wants to be commander-in-chief.  I don’t think in the history of the United States there has been a major party nominee who has talked with such disrespect about the military.  There are two million young men and women who volunteer in a time of war to serve as active Guard and Reserve.  They do it knowing that they could get killed or hurt or so could their friends.  We need a commander-in-chief who will not talk about them with contempt and disrespect but will talk about them with respect and compassion and support.  Anybody who says the American military is a disaster is unfit to be commander-in-chief, unfit.  He’s unfit.

And, folks, and, folks, and, folks, that’s not – that’s not the worst thing he said.  That’s not the worst thing he said.  How about making fun of John McCain for being a POW?  He said, ‘I don’t consider him a hero because he got captured.’  Could you be more thickheaded, insensitive, or ignorant than that?  It just – it’s unbelievable that those words would come out of anybody’s mouth, much less the mouth of somebody who wants to be commander-in-chief or how about the way he took after that Virginia family, the Khan family, who got up at the convention in a very powerful moment challenged him for turning his back on some values, like freedom of religion, and then he started to go after them?  Going after a Gold Star family, I’ve got to believe in North Carolina, that’s viewed the same way it’s viewed in Virginia.  That is not the kind of person that we need in office, absolutely, absolutely.

And let me – and let me make – and let me make a comparison.  The Khan family, they did stay up.  And they challenged Donald Trump.  They challenged him.  The week before in Cleveland, they paraded one person after the next up to challenge Hillary Clinton, families who were grieving because they lost people in the raid in Benghazi.  They put them on stage, and they let them trash Hillary Clinton.  Did Hillary Clinton turn her attention from the campaign trail to direct her anger and her fire at grieving family members, who have every right to grieve?  Of course not.  That’s not what a president does.  It’s not what a president does.  And Donald Trump is not ready to be president.

And on – and how about vets?  What’s his policy on vets?  You know, he says, ‘I’ll be great for the vets,’ but when it comes to the VA, he says he wants to put the VA on a path to privatization.  Now, when that happens, that usually means then the bean counters take over and it becomes less about providing the service and more about saving a few bucks.  We’ve got an obligation.  We’ve got to meet the obligation.  And it can’t be turned into some scheme where we’re going to figure out how to try and save a few bucks.  It’s got to be about the service.

And I’ll tell you something else about Donald Trump and the military.  Last Friday, Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax return, and Anne and I released 10 years of our taxes, 10 years, 10 years.  Now, did – I did get your permission for that, didn’t I?  Okay.  I was just making sure I’m not in trouble for releasing 10 years of our taxes.  Why does that matter?  Well, you know Donald Trump isn’t releasing his taxes.  Every president, even to include Richard Nixon, who wasn’t known as the most ethical and transparent of presidents, in recent history have released taxes.  How does this connect in with this veterans thing?  Here’s the way it connects.  Donald Trump repeatedly through his life has bragged, ‘I use every trick I can to avoid paying taxes whenever I can.’  And there have been a couple of years where because of casino applications that he was putting in, he had to release taxes in the ’80s and ’90s.  And in those years, a couple of them, they showed that he paid absolutely no Federal taxes, none.  So you’re telling me you’re going to be great for the vets, and you’re telling me you’re going to be great for the military.  But during your entire professional life, you bragged.  You bragged about how little you paid in taxes.  What is it that supports the military?  What is it that supports our vets, our military families, our social services, mental health?  It’s patriotic American citizens, who may not love taxes, but they understand that’s part of the social compact.  That’s part of what connects us to each other.  So if you spent your whole life trying to get out of paying anything, you can’t come and parachute in and tell me now you’re going to be great for the military and great for the vets when you have been stiffing them your entire professional life.  That’s why this matters.  That’s why this matters.

So now let’s get to the winning piece.  And I’m going to – I’m going to conclude.  We have got to win this race.  We – it’s either going to be a ‘You’re hired’ president or a ‘You’re fired’ president.  It’s either going to be a kids and family first president or a ‘Me first’ president.  It’s either going to be a bridge-builder president or a trash-talker president.  It’s either going to be somebody who will show you their tax return because you have a right to know, whether you are Democrat or Republican or Independent, or somebody who thinks they can hide that from you.  And if they’re hiding that from you, who knows what else they’re hiding from you.  Folks, don’t get tricked by Trump.  Don’t get tricked by Trump.

So we’ve got to win this race.  And it’s going to be hard.  The polls are looking good right now.  I’d rather be where we are than where the other guys are.  I’ll be honest.  I’ll be honest.  However, it’s a season of surprises.  Primaries worked out differently than people thought.  Pundits proved to be wrong.  The GOP nominated somebody that surprised most of us.  So it’s going to be a season of surprises.  You have to assume that there will be more.  And we live in a political climate now after Citizens United where anybody can just put 100 million bucks in, create some group like Citizens for Freedom, that you don’t know who they are.  They run any ad they want on TV.  They say any negative thing they can.  Nobody can even find out who they are to hold them accountable if it’s not true.  And so that’s what we’re going to see.  It’s going to be tough.  It’s going to be challenging.  Hillary is trying to do something that has never been done in the history of this country.  And that is never easy.  And so I think this thing is going to be hard.  We’re here for a reason.

We think we can win.  But at the end of the day, the only way we’ll win is because of you.  It’s not going to be one more TV ad that’s going to tip this thing.  It’s not going to be one more negative ad that’s going to tip this thing.  It’s going to be person-to-person, volunteering, talking to your neighbor.  People don’t believe what they see on TV anymore.  Maybe that’s smart.  But they do believe a word from a trusted friend or neighbor or somebody at their church or somebody they go to school with or a coworker.  They do believe that.  I hope you will think about it.  I know many of you have already done this, but if you haven’t yet signed up to help the campaign in the closing stretch, if you would just text TOGETHER, TOGETHER, to 47246, you will be swept up in this great volunteer army.  And we will make sure that Hillary wins.

And we also have to have the right attitude about it.  We have to have the right attitude about it.  Participation is sacred.  It’s sacred.  And I’ve got to give you guys some props here in North Carolina.  You’ve got a governor and legislature now that wants to make it harder for people to participate, not easier.  They are rowing backward as fast as they can on things like early voting.  And they are trying to put more hurdles up in the way to make it harder for you to go vote.  And you are not taking that lying down.  No.  You brought a lawsuit against the highest officials in this state, and you told them, ‘You will not take my vote away without a fight.’  And you’ve won that lawsuit up until now.  And, in fact, I used to do civil rights work in Virginia.  For 17 years, I worked on voting rights cases.  The lawsuit in the Fourth Circuit that struck down North Carolina voting restrictions is a pretty incredible piece of writing.  Often a lawsuit like that gets resolved.  A court will say, ‘Well, that restriction gets in people’s way, and it burdens their right to vote.’  It may not have been intended to do that, but that’s what it does.  And so restrictions get struck down for that reason.  It is so rare to see in a court opinion what you saw in the opinion about the North Carolina restrictions.  What the court said, what the court said, is that the highest officials in the state, quote, ‘with surgical precision,’ tried to target and reduce the participation of African Americans in voting.  And so it had to be struck down.  It had to be struck down.

And I saw in the paper this morning, I saw in the paper this morning, the governor has gone up to the Supreme Court and said, ‘No.  Still, we really want to do these restrictions.’  ‘Supreme Court, will you let us restrict the ballot and close down access to people?

I tell you if you meet anybody on this trail who tells you ‘I don’t think my vote matters’ as you’re trying to persuade them to vote for Hillary Clinton and they tell you ‘I don’t think my vote matters,’ you tell them ‘It matters to the other side.’  They are working so hard to keep you from voting.  Don’t let them value your vote more than you value your own vote.  It is important that you turn out.  It is important that you participate.  North Carolina is a key battleground state.  And if you do what you know how to do, if you do what you’ve shown you can do, come November 8, we will make great history and elect Hillary Clinton.  We will elect Deborah Ross to the Senate.  We will elect Roy Cooper governor.  We will elect Democrats up and down the ballot in North Carolina.  You’ll start to turn the direction of this state and march forward to progressive values.  That’s what’s at stake.  I know you can do it.  I know you can do it.

Thank you for having us, and have a great day.  Look forward to being back.”