The California senator is the second Democratic presidential candidate to visit Greensboro this year.
California senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris visited Smith High School in Greensboro on Sunday afternoon and fired up voters by making a full-throated case against Trump. Earlier in the day, Harris visited two locations in Durham.
Harris greeted a crowd of hundreds in the high school’s gym and spoke for half an hour about the importance of “commonsense” gun legislation, while addressing climate change and equal pay for women.
“My mother was the kind of parent that if you ever came home complaining about something,” Harris said during her opening statement, “she would look at you with a straight face, maybe one hand on her hip and she would say, ‘Well, what you gonna do about it?’ So I decided to run for president of the United States.”
Several politicians including state Sen. Gladys Robinson, Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson and state Rep. Derwin Montgomery warmed up the crowd before Harris took the stage.
Harris is the second 2020 presidential candidate to visit Greensboro this year. Beto O’Rourke hosted a rally at Natty Greene’s in April.
During the next half hour, Harris made direct references to President Trump including his slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“All of us were very clear that he was talking about going back to something,” Harris said. “Which begs the question: Back to exactly what? Back before the Voting Rights Act? Back before the Civil Rights Act? Back before the Fair Housing Act? Back before a federal minimum wage? Back before Roe v. Wade? Well we’re not going back!”
Several voters in the audience wore “Harris 2020” shirts and held up “Kamala Harris for the People” signs as she spoke. Still, some showed up just to hear the candidate speak in person.
“I wanted to get a feel for her energy,” said Becky Kinkade who drove from Hillsborough to attend the event. “She’s the forerunner for me. I think it’s time for a woman in the White House. I like her policies. There’s so much that has to change.”
Linda Manning from Greensboro also attended the event to see Harris in action.
“It’s time to start dwindling down,” Manning said about the Democratic choices for president. “They’re sort of all together right now.”
Manning said for her, upholding rule of law is vitally important in who she chooses to be the next president.
“Will that be upheld?” she asked. “Because right now it doesn’t look like it’s being upheld. We need someone who can put thing in order again.”
Harris mentioned Trump’s promise to help the working class, including farmers, but the presidential hopeful said that Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act only helped the top 1 percent and that, coupled with the president’s recent trade war with China, has farmers struggling.
“In Iowa, I’m meeting with farmers who are looking at bankruptcy because of this so-called trade policy,” Harris said. “They’ve got soybeans rotting in bins which they grew based on a market they cultivated for decades to sell those soybeans to China, but now that market is cut off.”
If elected, Harris said she would implement a tax credit of up to $6,000 per year for families who make less than $100,000 per year that could be taken home in amounts of $500 per month.
“He made a lot of promises and he betrayed a lot of people,” Harris continued. “It is time to turn the page. And to do that, we will successfully prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and we’ve got a big long rap sheet off which to work…. The bottom line is this: Dude’s gotta go.”
On her “rap sheet,” Harris mentioned Trump’s tax act, the human rights violations at the US-Mexico border and his lack of action in the wake of recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso.
“Of course, he didn’t pull the trigger,” Harris said. “But he’s certainly been tweeting out the ammunition.”
If elected, Harris made the promise to give Congress 100 days to bring legislation to her desk for universal background checks and a renewal ofa ban on assault weapons.
“And if they do not,” Harris said, “I am prepared to take executive action to put in place a comprehensive background check requirement, to also require the ATF to take the licenses of gun dealers who violate the law and by executive action, to ban the importation of assault weapons into our country.”
Harris also spoke about the need to pay teachers more, as well as the importance of equal pay for women.
“There are only two groups of people raising our children,” Harris said. “Parents… and teachers. And we are not paying them their value.”
On equal pay, Harris simply stated that “it’s no longer a debatable point.”
“Instead of requiring that working woman to prove that she’s not being paid equal to people she works with, we’re gonna shift the burden to the corporations to prove that they are paying people equally for equal work,” Harris said. “If they do not, they will receive a fine… that’ll get their attention.”
On climate change, Harris said she would reenter the Paris Climate Agreement and implement the Green New Deal.
“We will agree that the climate crisis is real,” she said. “It represents an existential crisis to our species and we as human beings are causing the problem and we as human beings can stop it if we have leadership that is so inclined,” she said.
At the end of her speech, Harris spoke to voters about the urgency of change and the impact of the current administration.
“Fight we will, and fight we must,” Harris said in her closing statement. “Knowing that this is a fight that is born out of optimism, this is a fight that is born out of knowing and believing and having faith in what can be unburdened by what has been. This is a fight that is not only for the soul of country, this is a fight born out of love for country. And Greensboro, this is a fight we’re gonna win.”