For Immediate Release: February 23, 2018
Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]
Senator Sanders, Local Residents to Rally in Support of Randy Bryce for Congress
RACINE, WI – On Saturday, February 24, Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce will host a rally in Racine with local elected officials, residents and Senator Bernie Sanders. The rally will be in support of Bryce’s run for the First Congressional District in Wisconsin, against Speaker Paul Ryan. The rally will be livestreamed beginning at 10:45AM CT. Bryce’s remarks as prepared are below.
Today’s speakers, in order of appearance, are former State Rep. Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin Working Families State Director Marina Dimitrijevic, Alderman John Tate II, State Rep. Greta Neubaeur, State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, local resident and educator Alice Erven, DACA recipient Cendi Trujillo Tena, Randy Bryce, and Bernie Sanders.
***EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY***
Thank you all so much for coming out today.
It’s really just kind of out of this world to me that I’m standing up here.
This time last year I was hanging off the side of the Northwestern Mutual building, doing construction with my fellow ironworkers.
So as nervous as I may be right now, I just keep reminding myself that this is a lot better than working 40 stories off the ground in -5 degrees.
It was actually on that construction site that I first got a call from the Sanders campaign in 2016.
They were calling to ask if there were any job actions where Senator Sanders could be helpful.
And that just kind of blew me away.
This was a presidential candidate who was willing to walk a picket line.
Senator Sanders started a movement that year, one that I’m proud to be a part of.
He made clear that we don’t have to settle for what’s been going on in Washington, DC.
We don’t have to settle for elected officials that say the same tired lines over and over, never giving us a straight answer, and never presenting new ideas.
And we shouldn’t settle for that. Because you know what? Our country is not working for working people, right now.
The rich have never been richer and the middle class has never been smaller.
Right now, the majority of our representatives in Congress are millionaires.
When I was growing up, the majority of our congressmen were veterans —- but now, it’s millionaires.
And it’s clear that this Congress has no idea what it’s like to be a middle class family today.
That’s why I’m running.
Because I’ve struggled.
And I’m not ashamed to say that, because you know what? I was working myself to death the entire time.
Right out of high school, I enlisted in the Army.
When I came home, I worked as an outreach coordinator for homeless vets.
And when the government decided to stop funding that program, I got an honest job building up Southeastern Wisconsin as ironworker.
And you know what I got in return for all that hard work? For playing by the rules?
I got to lie in bed every night worrying that I wouldn’t be able to give my son Ben everything needs.
I worried that the weather would be bad, and we wouldn’t work 40 hours that week.
I worried that we’d hit another recession and people would stop building.
I worried that the cancer that bankrupted me once already, would come back, and I wouldn’t be able to work at all.
I worried that my mom who has M.S. or that my dad who has Alzheimer’s would lose their Medicare because politicians like Paul Ryan were trying to take it away.
So worrying and working, and working some more, has been the last 20 years of my life.
And that’s the life of pretty much everyone I know here in Southeastern Wisconsin.
But you know what Paul Ryan has been doing for the last twenty years?
He’s been in D.C.
And he might have gone there, twenty years ago, as a good guy who I just happened to disagree with, but two decades in DC have changed him.
Think about it – he’s been talking to lobbyists, billionaires and special interests every day for almost 20 years now. That changes a person.
He is not representing us anymore.
And I know that for a couple reasons.
First, you can’t represent people you don’t talk to.
Paul Ryan hasn’t had a town hall in this District in 2 years – and he doesn’t plan to!
He’s flat out said that he won’t be hosting any more public events in the district.
And then there’s this healthcare bill he passed back in May — which thankfully was defeated in the Senate.
This bill would have repealed protections for pre-existing conditions, caused 23 million Americans to be without health insurance, and increased health care costs for seniors.
The only people it would have helped? Pharmaceutical and health insurance executives.
Because that’s who Paul Ryan is worrying about now. He’s thinking about the CEOs and the lobbyists that are in his office every day and at his fundraisers every night.
That’s why he passed this tax scam bill.
Now he claims he passed it for the middle class – for people like you and me.
But then, why do our tax cuts expire, while the corporations’ don’t?
And why do billionaires like Charles Koch get a 1.4 billion dollar tax break and the high school secretary gets a $1.50?
And why is he proposing to cut programs that support the middle class, like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, in order to pay for these tax cuts?
So, I think it’s time for a change.
I think the First District needs someone who will not only defend our healthcare and our retirement — but who will also win more rights for working people.
We need someone who will fight to raise the minimum wage to $15/ hr, so that no one working full-time has to live in poverty.
We need someone who will pass Medicare for All, so that we aren’t paying for health insurance every month that has a deductible that’s too high to actually use.
We need someone who will help pass the Butch Lewis Act, so that the pensions that working people having been paying into their entire lives are secure.
We need more funding to combat the opioid crisis, so that people who are addicted because of the greed of drug companies can get back on their feet.
We need free college for working class kids and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, so that the American Dream doesn’t die.
We need someone who will take action when our students are attacked at their school, rather than just saying the same old lines.
I know that’s a long list, but I think I’m the guy that can get these things done.
I know personally how important they are for working families. I know the difference they would make.
So, I’m never going to stop fighting for them, no matter how hard it is, because nothing in DC is as hard as what families are going through back here in Wisconsin.
And, no one will ever buy me off because I’m not taking a cent from corporate PACs.
I also think we can get these things done because of all of you here today.
Whatever you want to call it – a wave or a resistance or just being fed up – working people have had enough and they’re standing up together.
We’re not going to let someone tell us that we can’t afford Medicare, but that we can afford billion dollar tax cuts for the Kochs.
We’re not going to reelect someone who isn’t even brave enough to stand in a room and take our questions.
And we are sure as hell not going to listen to anyone say that an ironworker can’t be a Congressman.
We have found our voice.
And I know for me, Senator Sanders was a big part of that.
So, I am so excited to finally introduce Senator Bernie Sanders.
About Randy Bryce
Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public school like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.