Remarks by Vice President Harris to Political Science Students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay, what are your questions? What’s happening? how do you think about life

Student: I’m really nervous right now. (Laugh.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What’s your name?

Student: Noah. Nice to meet you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Noah. (Inaudible.) Well, listen, I — you know, I’ve been traveling all over the country, and a lot of the work I’ve been doing lately after all the COVID restrictions were lifted was meeting up with students . You are where it’s at. I’m telling you, you’re where it’s at.

STUDENT: (unintelligible.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, you’re very – you’re very kind, but I want you to know this: I need your guidance and we need your guidance. OK?

If you look at what’s going on in our country right now, there’s so much fundamental to whether we’re going to stand up for our democracy, for the principles that we were founded on, which were about liberty and liberty.

I don’t have to tell you – we’ve come out of almost two years of a pandemic where we were literally telling people to isolate and what that means when people are feeling alone.

And you know, when people feel alone, it can be very debilitating. And the strength of our nation has always been: One out of many; that we think we have much more in common than what separates us.

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And part of your leadership that I ask of you is to remind people of communities and the whole and the fact that we’re all in it together. It is so important.

And one of the other issues that I would like to ask you to really move forward on is to remind everyone you know, including those who are active because they’re past school, about the importance of the climate crisis.

You will pay the price for what we do or don’t do on this matter.

I just met with a group of people and I was talking about a conversation I had last night with the FEMA Administrator — the head of FEMA — about what’s going on in Puerto Rico, how extreme weather is devastating the island became.

And we’re seeing extreme weather in my home state of California — wildfires. My brother-in-law is a firefighter.

Let me tell you – right? – what is going on with the people who are evacuating entire communities because of these wildfires. We used to talk about “wildfire season”. Now it’s all year round.

You look at hurricanes and floods.

So what do we have to do – right? – it has to be about: Let’s save this planet, these precious resources that this planet has and that it gives us to sustain life.

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And I count on you to remind people that — let’s not accept wrong choices, right? Investing in a clean energy economy is about creating jobs. It’s about making sure that we too – that all of you and your children and grandchildren can breathe clean air and drink clean water.

The work we need to do is work with our partners around the world because — hey, I run the Space Council. Let me tell you something: I talk to astronauts who are in space from time to time when I talk to them. And the last group, because I was out in Houston, at the Johnson Space Center, and then I actually went to the Artemis launch in Florida. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as we planned; we delayed it.

But I ask astronauts when I talk to them — some of them (inaudible) in space — and I say, “Tell me what changed your perspective on that after you were in space.” And almost to one, they say me: “You are in space and you look at the earth and you realize how delicate and fragile it is.” Right?

So, on this topic of the climate crisis, in addition to any other topic that you might bring up in relation to the work of your government that you might think about, the work of each of us – right? — as you, as members of a democracy, reflect on what we need to do to address some of these issues and forego the unnecessary conflict and partisanship, and it’s really about saying, ‘Hey, let’s stick together because we are all together.” It doesn’t matter who you voted for last time or who you vote for next time. If we don’t come together on this issue, we will all pay the price.

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So anyway, I just wanted to come over and say that I’m really proud of you guys, that you guys just started your freshman year, save for one person — (Laughter) — and just keep going. It’s an exciting time. You guys meet and sit next to each other who will end up being friends for life I tell you.

In my first year, I met people that I would eventually – you know, we are – I would sponsor their children. Right? People you will know all your life.

So enjoy this experience. And your big brains are just like a sponge. So just suck it all up. Ask any questions. And only lead. Just lead – because we need you. OK? Good. Thank you all. (Applause.)

END



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