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VP Kamala Harris urged Hispanic leaders in Chicago to stand up to extremists

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday urged members of the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights group to unite against extremists when she returned to Chicago to help mobilize Democratic primary voters.

“Unidos, let us stand together in the fight to institute paid family and medical leave nationwide, to pass pay equity, affordable child care, stand in the fight to renew the assault weapons ban, to restore Roe v. Wade, pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and finally pass immigration reform,” Harris said to applause at the UnidosUS 2023 annual conference in McCormick Place.

“Let’s stand together, knowing when we fight, we win,” he said.

Harris’ trip to Chicago comes as the vice president continues a month-long series of events to galvanize key Democratic groups, including Hispanic and Black voters.

The blitz includes addresses at the Delta Sigma Theta conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orlando, Florida, and a stop at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention in Chicago this month.

Harris plans to travel to Boston Saturday for the NAACP National Convention and return to Chicago on Aug. 11 for the Everytown for Gun Safety event.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference in McCormick Place.

During a brief 17-minute speech, the vice president touted President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts to lower the cost of insulin to $35 and give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices.

“All of this is part of our shared blueprint of what America can do,” Harris said. “This is a Bidenmic. A plan to invest in America and build a future where everyone can truly thrive.”

Biden on June 28 used Chicago to launch a field of economics dubbed “Bidenomics” – counting on an economy that has improved more than a year since Election Day. The president said his plans included “smart investing” in America, educating and empowering workers to grow the middle class and promoting competition to lower costs and help small businesses.

Harris called on Hispanic leaders to stand up to extremists who he said “have a movement to attack hard-earned freedoms and are doing it state by state as part of their national agenda across our nation.”

He cited new Florida laws limiting social services to undocumented, giving more money to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ migrant relocation program and canceling driver’s licenses issued to undocumented people by other states. This also requires the hospital to inquire about the patient’s immigration status.

The vice president also called reports that children and pregnant women had been forced back into the Rio Grande River “inhumane, outrageous, and un-American.” Harris also marked the cancellation of Roe v. Wade, voting rights restrictions, the US Supreme Court affirmative action decision, and the GOP’s refusal to pass gun safety laws as reasons to continue to mobilize Democratic support.

“I know going forward that this group of leaders will always lead the people of our country to come together, will always reject those who have tried and divided us,” Harris said. “That we will never be distracted by attempts to divide us and that we will remain focused on our commitment to unity.”

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at McCormick Place on Monday.

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at McCormick Place Monday.

Monday marked the vice president’s eighth trip to Illinois since taking office. Harris was last in Chicago on July 17 to celebrate Pastor Jesse Jackson the day he officially stepped down as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

After the conference, Harris attended a fundraiser at Desiree Rogers’ home on the Gold Coast, with proceeds going to the Biden Action Fund to benefit the president’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, Mayor Brandon Johnson, Rep. King Krishnamoorthi, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham attended a particularly packed private fundraiser, according to a group report.

Vice President Kamala Harris walks on stage at the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference in McCormick Place on Monday.

Vice President Kamala Harris walks onstage at the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference in McCormick Place Monday.

“A lot of people here are the reason why there is Barack Obama,” Harris told the audience, according to group reports. “We’re back at it again because our job isn’t done, and we have work to do.”

US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also traveled to Chicago Monday to highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs through the Inflation Reduction Act. Becerra, who is also the keynote speaker at the conference, visited Mount Sinai Hospital with US Senator Dick Durbin Monday morning for a roundtable discussion.

The vice president also increased his travel schedule last year ahead of midterm elections, as part of a strategy to capitalize on the reaction to the lifting of restrictions on Roe v. voting. Wade and the GOP.

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