I’m here today to tell you a story of hope.
A story of why we are stronger together.
It’s the story of a young boy with physical and severe learning disabilities.
A child for whom reading and writing were almost impossible.
A child thought to be – as the term was used in the early 1960’s – “mentally retarded,” as late as the fourth grade.
A boy who could not tie his shoe or button his shirt, until the fifth grade.
Someone who knew the harsh words of bullies in the playground and discrimination in the classroom.
But that boy had great teachers.
And he had a mother who believed deeply in giving him opportunities for success.
He had a support system that believed we are stronger together when we lift up those who fall behind.
And that boy was lifted up.
He learned his strengths.
He overcame his difficulties and went on to be successful in college and law school.
Then earning the right to be the first learning impaired person to take the essay portion of the bar exam orally, in three different states.
And today, that boy, now grown up is standing before you – as the governor of the state of Connecticut – addressing the Democratic National Convention.
See this is my story.
A story of why we are stronger together.
It’s an American story.
Our communities are bound by the shared understanding that we are stronger together.
That we need to lift up our brothers and sisters, and ignore the shouts and taunts of bullies amongst us.
That is one reason why I am a Democrat.
And that is why I am proud to support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States!
Like Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, I believe that we must instill hope in every American.
It doesn’t matter their race – or their gender – or who they love – or where their parents were born – or their religion – or what learning abilities they have.
Every child – every American – deserves the opportunity to succeed.
That’s what we stand for as Democratic governors.
We stand for solving problems and bringing hope to more Americans.
Hope for fairer wages, hope for better schools, and hope for more time to spend with the families they love.
We’re proud to count among our alumni former Governor Bill Clinton.
And we’re proud to count among our alumni former Governor Tim Kaine who, as Governor of Virginia, led his state through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, while creating jobs in the process.
And today, I am here to tell you that the middle class is getting stronger thanks to the work of our Democratic governors.
In Washington, D.C., Republicans will block any innovative idea that has the scarlet letter ‘D’ for Democrat next to it.
But in the states run by Democratic governors, we’re about solving problems.
Everyday we work to create jobs – improve access to quality education – and expand opportunities for more Americans.
That’s exactly what we’ve done in Connecticut:
· We’ve added 100,000 jobs – while raising our minimum wage
· We passed criminal justice reform that gives non-violent offenders a second chance
· We’ve lowered our prison population by thousands and thousands of individuals, while we cut our crime rate to the lowest in 48 years
· After the Sandy Hook School tragedy, we passed common sense gun safety laws including universal background checks
· We moved towards equal pay by making compensation more transparent
· And we were the first state in the nation, five years ago, to pass paid sick leave – and guess what?
Not only are workers protecting their health-but also they’re protecting the health of the people they serve – and overwhelmingly the businesses they work for approve of paid sick leave.
But it’s not just Connecticut.
Democratic governors across the country are leading the way:
· In New York and Delaware, we’ve raised the minimum wage
· In Rhode Island and Montana, we’ve taken action to fight for equal pay
· In Oregon and California, we’ve passed paid sick leave.
· Across the map, we’ve passed Medicaid expansion.
· And, of course, we’ve made historic investments in education in many states and right here in Pennsylvania under Governor Tom Wolf.
Democratic governors – the Democratic Party – are focused on the issues that matter to working families.
And that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton will focus on as our next president.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump who has insulted anyone who doesn’t agree with him or doesn’t look like him.
The LGBT community and people with disabilities.
You name ’em, Donald Trump has bullied them.
I know something about bullies.
And I know why we must stand up to them.
If Donald Trump’s words are bad, his actions are worse, just look at his vice presidential choice: Governor Mike Pence.
With the Trump-Pence ticket, it’s like a contest to see who can discriminate the most.
Pence rejected $80 million in federal money that would have funded pre-k for 4,000 low-income children.
He signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses- even, in some cases, after a miscarriage
He signed another law that would discriminate against people based on who they love and how they express that.
This law cost Indiana’s economy an estimated $60 million dollars in lost business.
And in another state, North Carolina, a similar law has caused the NBA, to move the All-Star game out of the state.
Governor Pence turned his back on refugee children and their parents.
The first family of refugees he rejected are now welcomed residents in Connecticut.
The Trump-Pence ticket brings the worst of the Republican gubernatorial record to the national stage.
And it shows why we need to fight back at a local level.
Governors work where the rubber meets the road – where we drive the innovative policies that can move across the nation.
Democratic governors are critical to winning this battle at the state level.
That’s why the DGA exists: We’re the only organization focused on electing Democratic governors and supporting their policies.
We’re fighting for those policies today.
And we’re fighting for the future – by focusing on winning back governor’s seats before redistricting in the year 2020.
We know how the Republicans rigged the map in 2010.
That’s why we need strong Democratic governors to fight for fair maps and the policies we all believe in.
Together we can – and will – help lift up every American so that they can live the American Dream.
Because we, as Democrats, believe we are stronger together.