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Garcetti: "I'm just your average Mexican-American, Jewish-Italian"

2016-07-28T19:25:09-07:00

July 28, 2016

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave his first speech to a national convention, he was one of several prominent Southern Californians who spoke on the final day of the DNC in Philadelphia. He talked about his immigrant roots, and America's crumbling infrastructure -- and how Hillary Clinton's policies would help American cities.

He spoke out of primetime, so here is his entire speech, with the transcript below:

Good evening. Buenas noches. It's great to be here from Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a city with such a huge, thriving Latino population that we expect Donald Trump to build a wall around us. I am a proud American. As I travel around the country, from the Midwest where my wife is from, to the south, where I became a Naval officer -- to towns across the southwest I visited during this campaign-- I heard Americans anxious about their future. And after last week's convention in Cleveland, I can understand why.

There, instead of ideas, it was insults. Instead of policy, it was polarization. Instead of hope, it was hatred. As a mayor, I am here to tell you, America’s cities don't have time for theatrics. America's cities have urgent problems to solve. That is why local leaders across America support Hillary Clinton and that is why we understand that she will help us do the urgent work of America.

In Los Angeles, we look at America’s crumbling infrastructure, and we are fixing it. Putting more than 500,000 people and $50-billion to work rebuilding and repairing our roads, our port, our airport and our infrastructure. In Los Angeles, we saw too many Americans living in poverty, so we became the biggest city in America to raise the minimum wage to $15, inspiring other cities and states to follow.

In Los Angeles, we saw too many lives lost to gun violence, so we banned high-capacity magazines and we are taking illegal guns off our streets.

In Los Angeles, we saw too many high school dropouts, too many graduates in debt, so we are making community college free.

We didn't do any of this by finding a common enemy. We found a common purpose. America doesn't need a political pyromaniac for president. Donald Trump has no vision for our country and no genuine answer to our challenges. His voice is loud. His language is coarse. His politics has a darkness that would not only stop but reverse the march of progress toward a greater, more prosperous, more equal America we can and we must become.

Elect Donald Trump and get empty promises and no plans for our country. Elect Hillary Clinton and get the biggest investment in infrastructure since World War II. Elect Hillary Clinton and raise the minimum wage across our country. Elect Hillary Clinton and reduce gun violence on our streets. Elect Hillary Clinton and make debt-free college available to everybody. We have done it in L.A., we have done it as Democrats and local leaders across American cities. Now let's do it for our entire country.

You see, that is Hillary Clinton’s vision, a united America working together, and it is that vision that makes it possible for me to be here with you tonight. I am just your average Mexican-American, Jewish-Italian, but my ancestors, my forbearers faced with war and prosecution, they crossed oceans and rivers to come to this improbable, miraculous democracy. My grandfather, Salvador, as a baby was carried over the border in his mother's arms during the Mexican revolution. My other grandfather, Harry was the son of Russian Jews flew in -- fleeing prosecution. They and their wives, Juanita and Julia, a meatpacker and a public school teacher, made their lives here, and after Pearl Harbor one of my grandfather's answered his nation's call and manufactured uniforms for GI’s. The other put that uniform on, fought for the only country he knew, crossed an ocean never knowing if he would come home, and earned his citizenship as a result.

Well today, their grandson is the mayor of the largest city in the largest state in our union, humbled to be standing before you tonight. America works best when every strand is woven into our national fabric. Some of us make the uniforms. Some of us wear the uniforms. But each of us has a role, and that is the great work that lies ahead, to build a nation that is stronger than the one we inherited.

When we mock immigrants and the disabled, when we mock Indians and women, we mock our own history. This in a nation where Navajo code-talkers, and women on assembly lines, and Japanese-American GI’s whose families were in internment camps won a war with a president who couldn't walk.

That is the America I believe in and that is the America where Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Hermanos y hermanas, juntos somos más fuertes.We are stronger together. Thank you.

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