“To the people of Cleveland, I do believe the road to victory travels through Cleveland and travels through Ohio.
So I want to thank everyone because it is not always convenient to go and vote, but it is necessary. People are making such an effort and it is making an incredible difference.”
Senator Harris also laid out the details of the Biden-Harris plans specifically for the city of Cleveland, underfunded schools in Ohio, a $15 minimum wage in Ohio, creating wealth in the Black Community through homeownership and better jobs, police reform, healthcare, and addressing COVID. And yes, Ice Cube working with Trump was also discussed.
Senator Harris was scheduled to be in Cleveland this week but she won’t be traveling for the next few days after staffers tested positive for COVID-19. The campaign manager for Biden for President said they learned of the tests’ results Wednesday night and immediately took steps to make it clear that Harris was not in close contact with either of the staffers in the days leading up to their diagnoses. The vice-presidential nominee has tested negative multiple times.
THE KAMALA HARRIS (CLEVELAND) INTERVIEW
Sam Sylk: Senator Harris, how you doing?
Kamala Harris: Very well! How are you, Sam?
Sam Sylk: I’m blessed! I’m blessed! I’m charged up around here. You know?
Kamala Harris: “Oh, I do. You know I hear folks are active and taking to the streets.
Sam Sylk: Early voting is going on man in record numbers. What is your take on that Senator?
Kamala Harris: You know I am just so excited about it. First of all, let me say, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to be in Cleveland today. I plan to be there in person but I’m with you virtually. I’ve been there many times before. The great congresswoman Congresswoman Joyce Beatty has been a real friend and professional friend as well, and so I’m sorry I haven’t been able to be there, but I want you to know that between Marcia Fudge, Joyce Beatty, and the whole delegation that we are turning folks out to vote and it’s because there’s so much at stake in this election. It’s about health care criminal justice reform. It’s about the economy and bringing people jobs. It’s about funding HBCUs. It’s about so many things that are directly relevant to how people live their lives and what they need and deserve from their government.
Sam Sylk: When you hear the names George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, what comes to your mind Senator?
Kamala Harris: Well what comes to my mind is, you know, it’s eight minutes and forty-six seconds of an American man being tortured in front of the American people at the knee of an armed uniformed police officer on his neck, and what we must do and what WE known for generations, the world is now seeing what we’ve known for generations: there two systems of justice in America and we’ve got to make sure that we are speaking truth about it and the the need for reform and accountability and policing. Which is why Joe and I, on our agenda for and our commitment around what we are going to do, it’s going to include a ban on choke holds and carotid holds. George Floyd would be alive today if that were the case. It’s going to about creating a national registry of police officers who have broken the law so that they can be tracked and can’t leave on jurisdiction and go get hired in another jurisdiction. We’re saying we need to decriminalize marijuana and expunge the record of the people who been convicted for marijuana offenses. These are the kinds of things that need to happen to reform our system and talk is not enough we need action and Joe and I are very committed to that action.
Sam Sylk: The current pandemic, what are the plans?
Kamala Harris: Well, first of all, I appreciate you asking, Sam, because the fact is that.. Lets just start with the fact that we have a plan and Donald Trump has not had a plan, has never had a plan… You know what I am saying, and so look, where are we today? Where at, the numbers were were looking at over a hundred a hundred and seventy-five cases 75,000 cases in Ohio and over 5000 people have died because of the pandemic. Nationally, we’re looking at numbers where we’re looking at over eight million people who have contracted it and 217,000 people who have died from it, and so we need a plan. Joe and I have a plan and it’s about a national plan for testing, for contact tracing, for treatments, and God willing for a vaccine as soon as we get it. And on the vaccine piece, it’s really important to know, Joe and I also recognize and talk openly about the racial disparities in terms of the fact that black folks are three times as likely to contract the virus, twice as likely to die from it. What we need to do then in terms of testing and treatment and vaccines, to take those disparities into account to make sure nobody is left out and left behind. That’s why it as part of our plan, you ask for a plan, it include includes a plan of focussing on racial disparities taking those into account so we can make sure nobody is left behind. And you know when you look at the pre-existing condition issue in terms of the issue of treatment, it’s also backing up what we need to do around realizing that Donald Trump is in court trying to get rid of Obamacare which of course President Obama together with Vice President Biden made happen so that 20 million people got health coverage that didn’t. Then we covered people with pre-existing conditions and Donald Trump is in court trying to get rid of that. Why should we care about that? Well, pre-existing conditions include anybody you know who have diabetes, anybody you know who has high blood pressure, right? What we need to do to make sure that an insurance company can’t reject them when they’re looking for coverage so they can get Healthcare. Joe Biden is trying to make sure that 1. We protect that but that we also expand it. That we lower Medicare eligibility to age 60. Donald Trump meanwhile is trying to get rid of the whole thing. He has been so obsessed with trying to get rid of anything Barack Obama and Joe Biden created. You know what that’s why people are taking to the streets and over these next 17 days we’re going to do everything we can to urge people to vote, vote early, and vote safely, and let’s have our voices be heard and change the course of of what has been happening.
Sam Sylk: Would you consider, if these numbers don’t go down, would you consider a lockdown again?
Kamala Harris: You know I don’t think it would have to come to that, but what we do need.. You know, see here is the problem, we have had a complete failure of leadership in Donald Trump and we have had a complete lack of leadership in terms of what we need to say people should have… wear masks and that is just an extension of “Love Thy Neighbor.” It’s about saying that we need to make sure the people socially distance and not have rallies where you’re bringing in thousands of people together suggesting they don’t need to wear masks and having them packed into a place. It’s about leadership Joe Biden has been saying from the very beginning that we need to have a plan and also that we need to make sure that people are being responsible and as an extension of the love of each other and community. Donald Trump has not done that, and Joe Biden will.
Sam Sylk: Senator, I have a question from Instagram, “What is your take on minimum wage?” Here in Ohio it’s $8.55, of course you know Ohio, California are different, so I think California is at $15. What is your take?
Kamala Harris: I believe we need to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour. So does Joe Biden. But I’m going to tell you something, I also recognize that folks, nobody aspires to a minimum wage job, and so part of the plan for Joe and me is to say we need to create more jobs that pay $30-40 an hour… One of the things I love about Joe, we are all about making sure we are going to grow good paying union jobs. We are all about saying we going to protect workers ability to collective bargaining, and we’re also going to invest billions of dollars in the infrastructure of our country: roads and bridges, and that’s going to be about millions of jobs. We’re going to Triple Title 1 funding for public schools so many of the schools in Cleveland and Columbus and all over the state are part are Title 1 schools that’s you know they don’t get funded as they should because the tax base of the community is lower than other areas, but that’s not fair to the children of those communities, right? So, Joe and I are taking that into account. But it’s all about saying that we understand the connection between all of these and how well people are doing economically. So for example, Ohio has a history of redlining, and we know that that has left a lot of folks out of the ability to have home ownership which is one of the greatest sources in an intergenerational wealth. Joe and our plan is for a $15,000 tax credit for first-time homeowners to to help them with down payment and closing cost which is all about helping people just get through the door, to do what they want to do, to take care of their families and to have that kind of security that comes with home ownership.
Sam Sylk: Senator, I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with Ice Cube all over the news and met with the Trump Administration and he says that the Democrats pretty much told him, “Let’s wait until after the election.” Is that to be true, and what is your take with Ice Cube?
Kamala Harris: Well here’s the thing, listen, what I have to say is this, Black folks have a lot at stake in this election. It’s about health care which we have talked about, when we know that we are three times as likely to get this disease, twice as likely to die from it. When we know, it is an issue I’ve worked on for years, maternal mortality. Black maternal mortality when we know black women are three to four times more likely to die in connection with childbirth than other women. Black women are three times more likely have Lupus than other women. So, Joe and I are focused on those issues as a relates to healthcare. Let’s talk about the fact that black families own 1/10 of the wealth of white families in America. Joe and I have a plan that is about what I’ve already shared with you about home ownership, but also 150 billion dollars going into low interest loans and access to capital for small businesses with a focus on black-owned and minority-owned businesses. Why? Because we know that has always been one of the great sources of economic health and well-being, an opportunity in our community. Joe and I have a plan that’s about reform not only on the criminal justice system but also with a specific emphasis on police reform…No more Brianna Taylors. No more George Floyds. And so these are some of the examples of our commitment based on the fact that it’s just the right thing to do and frankly it’s long overdue and um in that way, I do believe that we have within our power in these next 18 days the opportunity to do everything to change the course, and Joe and I are committed to earning the vote of everyone. We do not assume that anybody supposed to vote for us. But I do urge people to look at the difference and to know that the difference is severe. It is stark. And that’s why you know folks like Marcia Fudge and Joyce Beatty and so many others are supporting our agenda and these commitments that we are making.
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Sam Sylk: Senator Harris, I appreciate the time and this conversation and on a lighter note what did you say to the fly that was on Mike Pence head the other night?
Kamala Harris: (Laughing) Oh, I’m not gone go there! You don’t want me to start singing “Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me,” Do You? We are going to move on. But I will tell you, I will tell you, that it’s so good to be with you, and to the people of Cleveland and to your to your listeners, I just want to say thank you because I do believe the road to victory travels through Cleveland and travels through Ohio. So I want to thank everyone cuz I know it it is not always convenient to go and vote, but it is necessary and people are making such an effort and it is making an incredible difference.
Sam Sylk: Senator, thank you so much and hopefully we will see you soon in Ohio.
Kamala Harris: I look forward. You too. Take care.