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RALEIGH, NC — Cal Cunningham delivered remarks at the League of Conservation Voters’ Green Tie Awards this evening, emphasizing the stakes of the election, like protecting health care for 1.7 million North Carolinians and combating COVID-19.
Read Cal’s full remarks below.
Good evening. It’s an honor to be back with you for the Green Tie event that I’ve enjoyed for many years.
Your work has been so important to our state and it’s been important to me personally since serving on the LCV board. And I want to thank all the fellow North Carolinians tuning in for allowing me to be a part of this event.
There is a lot we have to talk about tonight, because there is a lot at stake in this election. We can all agree that this is by far the most important election in our lifetime.
But before we get into the issues that most affect this campaign, I want you to hear something directly from me.
I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused in my personal life and I also apologize to all of you.
And I hope each of you watching at home accept this sincere apology and that we will continue to work together to change the direction of our country and strengthen our state.
Right now, we are facing some very serious challenges as a nation and as a state, as communities and as families, and we all need to work together.
Look at the world around us. Look at our state.
A global pandemic unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes that’s taken thousands of lives in North Carolina and left tens of thousands more sick.
An economic recession that’s left more than 1 million in our state out of work and hundreds of thousands without health insurance, and too many living in fear of losing their homes.
And as we combat this crisis, 1.7 million North Carolinians living with pre-existing conditions are fearful that Republicans will be successful in their efforts to take health care protections away.
The list goes on and on. These are the issues we care about.
This campaign, our campaign, is about something much bigger than just me.
It’s about replacing a Senator who doesn’t stand up and fight for working families — who caves in to Mitch McConnell and the corporate interests in Washington time and time again. And because Thom Tillis knows that he is losing and we are winning, he has now resorted to trying to make this campaign about something other than the issues.
But we know, I know, this campaign is about your hopes and dreams, your desire for your kids to safely attend school or your drive to re-open your business. That’s why we fight and that’s what I’m fighting for.
This campaign is about the fact that many children all across the state of North Carolina still can’t go to school because Washington refuses to put plans and guidance in place based on science to deal with a global pandemic.
And we’re up against Senator Thom Tillis who has been too weak to stand up to this Administration in light of clear failures to respond to the crisis.
This campaign is about fighting for 1.7 million North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions — that’s 1.7 million North Carolinians who could lose their health care because Thom Tillis will not stop until he eliminates the Affordable Care Act, even though he has no plan to replace it.
It’s about finally expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, which Thom Tillis blocked as Speaker of the House, denying coverage to hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
This campaign is about fighting to ensure that North Carolinians have health insurance that covers prescription drugs.
And we’re up against one of the top recipients of Big Pharma cash in Senator Thom Tillis, who has opposed even bipartisan efforts to lower the costs of your prescriptions.
This campaign is about economic relief and stability for families struggling in our state, including the more than one million North Carolinians who are out of work.
And because of Thom Tillis, our state has one of the stingiest unemployment benefits in the country. And in Washington, he failed to extend jobless relief.
It’s about the effects of climate change — which we’ve seen first-hand in North Carolina, in the historic storms and flooding that have ravaged our state.
And this room knows better than most what we’re up against in our efforts to fight the climate crisis — a Senator who has taken over $500,000 from the oil and gas industry, while advocating for drilling off our coast.
These are the things that matter to North Carolinians in this election.
I urge you to look at the folks around us at this moment because we need to win this election for them — for each other.
And if we want to keep our families safe and healthy we have to think about this election as our one and our only opportunity to course correct – for them.
These are the issues I have heard you raise with me in conversation after conversation across our great state and they’re the ones I will continue to talk about, day in and day out — that I am fighting for, day in and day out.
I will not get side-tracked, and I hope you won’t either. The stakes are too high in this election.
Hundreds of thousands of people across this state have already mailed in their ballots, and in just eight days, early vote sites are gonna open across our state, and voters will begin to vote in-person.
It’s on all of us to organize our communities and get folks out to the polls.
Together, with your help, we will put this seat back to work for the people of North Carolina.
And I will be fighting each and every day to earn the votes of North Carolinians — and not taking a single vote for granted.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak tonight.
God bless you and God bless our great state.