House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Democrats to “turn Ohio blue” in a passionate speech at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual Legacy Dinner in Columbus Friday night.
Pelosi spent the early portions of her speech touting the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and the legislation new members are pushing, including the Equality Act, which passed Friday morning.
“Today is not just a victory, though, for the LGBTQ community. That would be important enough to have done that. But it’s also a victory for the right of every American to live and love openly. It was a victory for America,” she said of the bill.
On the issue of health care, Pelosi called it the Democratic Party’s “first principle” and said the party’s goal is “health care for all Americans.”
“House Democrats are taking bold action honoring this fundamental belief: that health care must be a right, not a privilege, and it is a right for every American,” Pelosi said.
The latter half of her speech, however, took on a more ominous tone when she recalled the words of Thomas Paine during the American Revolution and told the crowd that “we are in a battle to save our democracy.”
“We are working to restore the American people’s confidence in our democracy itself, a democracy that works for hard-working Americans. And here’s the thing—I want to be as hopeful as possible—this next election and actually the months leading up to it are really important to us because we’re not just engaged in a political competition. We are in a battle to save our democracy,” Pelosi said.
“So, my friends, our nation is at a crossroads—for the future of our children and the democracy that generations of Americans have fought to defend and expand. In the darkest hours of the Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote: ‘The times have found us,’” she continued. “We don’t place ourselves in the category of our founders or of Abraham Lincoln, but we do know the urgency of now in terms of what the challenge is to our Constitution and to our democracy. And it is up to us to be strategic and courageous to respond.”
Pelosi, turning her attention to President Donald Trump, called the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution the “beauty” and the “heart” of the document.
“The Congress of the United States is Article One, spelling out the powers of Congress. And those powers are powers of oversight of the other branches, of the executive branch. The power to investigate. The power to hold the executive accountable,” Pelosi said.
“We have shown that we will legislate, but we will also investigate to defend our democracy and hold this president and this administration accountable,” she continued, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
“It will just be about facts. We will get the truth to the American people. We will not allow the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the checks and balances of our Constitution itself,” Pelosi added.
She concluded her speech by calling on Ohio Democrats to “make the decision to win Ohio in 2020.”
“We cannot wait. We cannot rest. We have to make the decision. Winning is a decision. We have to make the decision to win Ohio in 2020,” she said.
“No Democrat would ever say we’re not going to fight it out in Ohio,” Pelosi concluded her address. “Ohio is an all-American state. It’s a state that everybody wants to win, and to win you have to fight. So we’re prepared to turn Ohio blue. Are you ready to send more Ohio Democrats to Washington? Are you ready to defend and expand our magnificent majority in the House? Are you ready to elect a new president—a Democratic president—of the United States?”
Mandi Merritt, Republican National Committee spokeswoman for Ohio, told The Ohio Star that Pelosi is a “symbol of how out-of-touch the Democratic Party really is.”
“While Ohioans are thriving in President Trump’s economy where they can count on more jobs, better wages and more money in their pockets, Pelosi and her California values are nothing but a reminder of the past,” Merritt said.
Pelosi’s full address to the Ohio Democratic Party can be watched below:
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Nancy Pelosi. Background Photo “Nancy Pelosi Speech” by WSYX ABC 6.