by Cynthia McCabe | June 21, 2012
California Attorney General Kamala Harris (Photo by Luis Gomez)
LOS ANGELES — AFSCME members lead the fight for working families every day and we must push forward on issues like justice for homeowners struggling with their mortgages and bolstering the Affordable Care Act, California Attorney General Kamala Harris told cheering delegates in an address Thursday.
On the frontlines in their jobs and in their activism, AFSCME members know what’s at stake for the country, Harris said.
“It’s the basic idea that in these United States of America, our economy should work for everyone. It’s the idea that AFSCME and the entire AFL-CIO have always stood for: that from the day you are born ‘til the day you die, no matter who you are or where you come from, every American should have a shot at a good education. At a job that pays the bills. The dignity of homeownership. The security of a safe retirement. And the faith that our child will have an even greater chance than we did.”
AFSCME councils and locals in California, including UDW/Local 3930 and Council 57, were active to get Harris elected in 2010, said Andrea Gordon, Local 1967, in her introduction of Harris. “She has shown that when we vote pro-worker policymakers into office, it can make a big difference for working families.”
Harris issued delegates a rousing call to action.
“I know you did not come to Los Angeles just for this week,” she said. “You came to Los Angeles for the next generation. We’re here not to celebrate. We’re here to activate. And AFSCME, one thing is absolutely clear. It is simply not enough to fight back. We need to fight forward.”
She urged advocacy by the delegates for the Homeowners Bill of Rights which is scheduled to go before the California state Legislature next week. And the re-election of Pres. Barack Obama – whom AFSCME members have endorsed – is paramount, Harris said.
Delegates rose to their feet as she questioned the legitimacy of banks being the ones who are too big to fail.
“I say it’s our middle class that’s too big to fail. I say it’s the American Dream of homeownership that’s too big to fail. A fair shot at a college education and the skills to get a good job. That’s too big to fail. It’s the right to organize and bargain collectively that’s too big to fail. It’s our vision of an inclusive society that’s too big to fail. Marriage equality is too big to fail. The rights of women are too big to fail. Our immigrant communities are too big to fail. Health care for everyone is too big to fail. And brothers and sisters, when we work together, when we pull together, always remember, we are too big to fail.”
See Attorney General Harris’ full remarks here, and watch excerpts below: