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Clinton Praised By Mayor Riley, ILA President Kenneth Riley
11/4/2015 3:33:03 PM

(l-r) Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands with ILA Local 1422 President Ken Riley while Charleston Mayor Joe Riley addresses the crowd at the International Longshoreman Hall during the Labor Union’s endorsement announcement October 31, 2015. Photo: Barbara Kinney

The crowd cheers on Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton during her speech after receiving an endorsement from the Labor Union on October 31, 2015 at the Local 1422 International Longshoreman Hall on Morrison Drive. Photo: Barbara Kinney

Bakari Sellers (left) looks on while Hillary Clinton (right) meets with backpack journalists from Sander-Clyde Elementary school at the Charleston Branch NAACP Annual Banquet October 30, 2015. Photo: Barbara Kinney

(l-r) Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton applauds Lucille Whipper as she receives The Trailblazer Award presented by Charletson Branch President Dot Scott at the Charleston Branch NAACP Annual Banquet October 30, 2015. Photo: Barbara Kinney
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton attended an organizing event with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and International Longshoreman Association Local 1422 President Ken Riley. Clinton proudly accepted the union's endorsement, and is thankful for the ILA's role in the maritime industry to bolster both the local and national economy.
The following is a condensed version of her remarks at ILA:
“I really am just delighted to be here in Charleston with all of you, and to be introduced by two leaders.  I don’t need to tell you what a great mayor Joe Riley has been for Charleston, but I do want to tell you that across America, he is viewed as one of the greatest mayors ever in our country, often called “America’s mayor.”     And as he leaves office, I think we all understand what a difference he’s made and what he will continue to do, because he has a project of passion – the International African American Museum, to be built right here in Charleston.     
“And I have no doubt that it will be yet another extraordinary accomplishment in Joe Riley’s long and distinguished life and career.  And I also want to thank Ken Riley, the president of ILA Local 1422.  I think that what Ken was telling me before we came on bears repeating:  He was born and raised right here in Charleston, lives on the same block, and is committed to his members and to this community.  And I think we need more leaders everywhere in our country who have that same level of caring and concern to build the economy so that it provides good, middle-class jobs for hardworking people like the ILA does.     
“And what better evidence could you have than having heard from Georgette, who talked about what having a job with decent pay and decent benefits meant to her personally.  I just thank her so much for coming up and telling her story, because it should remind all of us that the most important way that we can help each other pursue our own dreams and futures is to get the economy producing good-paying jobs with good benefits that are fair and just to those people who are working for a living.   
“I’ve got to tell you, I have a lot of love for South Carolina.  I’ve come here numerous times over the past, made some good friends, seen some beautiful sights.  My first job out of law school was working for the Children’s Defense Fund, as Mayor Riley was saying, started and run by a phenomenal South Carolinian – Marian Wright Edelman from Bennettsville.    

"And what she understood is that we needed an advocacy group that would help every kid get ahead, not just kids who already have all the benefits of privilege, but every kid. She knew that from her own upbringing, and how important it was for her parents to make sure that she and her siblings were well educated and well cared for.  And she’s a friend and she’s a mentor, but the first place she sent me after I took the job was right here in South Carolina. 
“Last night I had the great privilege of speaking at the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner, the 98th year that the NAACP has been right here in Charleston.  And I was so moved by the tribute that was made to the survivors of the terrible massacre at Mother Emanuel, and to the victims, as family members came forward and put a lighted candle on the table in the middle of the great banquet hall.  I want to thank the people of Charleston for showing such grace and resilience in the face of such hatred, and I appreciate the way this community came together and spoke out about what the real values of us living together should be.  That was a very special spirit, and I think it took America by the hand and helped many people across our country walk through the grief and bewilderment of what happened here.

“I’m here at this union headquarters because I believe strongly that the American labor movement, starting at the turn of the last century – 19th to 20th century, and moving through the 20th century – helped to build the middle class; it helped to provide the economic engine that raised incomes and raised hopes and lifted people out of poverty and gave them a chance to have a better life for themselves and their families.  And I want to pay tribute to that.
“I know that it’s tough times in lots of places – for us to remember that it was unions that brought fair working conditions, better wages, that created what is an American and important human accomplishment, namely bargaining, having power in your workplace, to stand up for yourselves and your fellow workers.     And this union and others like it have made America a stronger, more prosperous and more just and equitable country. 
“I’m grateful for that, but I also see what’s happening as there is a concerted effort to undermine and eliminate the good work that unions have done.  The defining economic challenge of our time is to raise incomes for working people, get them get them to reflect the hard work that people put in. 
“I want you to remember what President Obama faced when he came into office, the very first day, and how hard he had to work and how hard the American people had to work to dig us out of that big ditch we were in.
“So we’re standing now, but we’re not yet running.  We’ve recovered 13 million jobs, but wages have not recovered.  The average worker in America is still behind because the price of everything else has gone up.  And there are a lot of things we have to do to build on the progress that President Obama made, and I intent to do that.     And in the list of policies that I will promote as your president stands a strong commitment to supporting unions and the right to organize.     And I will support collective bargaining. 
“That’s one of the reasons that I stand with the workers over at Boeing, who are being asked to stand up for themselves.     They are fighting for the right to organize free from intimidation and harassment, because those rights are central to building the middle class.  And we need to stand up to attacks on workers’ rights.
“Now, I know that here in this state, there is a big effort, led from the top but going throughout your government, to dismantle collective bargaining rights.  You hear it all the time:  South Carolina doesn’t need unions.  I’ve got to tell you, you still have a lot of really poor people in South Carolina who need good jobs with rising wages and safe working conditions.     And yes, I know South Carolina is a so-called right to work state, but you still should have the right to have somebody looking out for your best interests when it comes to your job.   
“I also have on that list that we’re going to raise that minimum wage because it is a poverty wage that keeps people behind and down.     And that is important to me for many reasons.  I don’t think anybody in America who works full-time should still be living in poverty or trying to raise their kids in poverty.     And two-thirds – two-thirds of all minimum wage workers are women.  A lot of them, supporting themselves or single parents supporting their kids.  And we’ve got to raise the federal minimum wage, because that should provide the benchmark by which states have to be measured.  And we have to do away with something called the tipped wage.  You ever hear of that?  This is a provision in the minimum wage law that permits businesses to pay workers, mostly waitresses, bartenders, women working in hair salons – they can pay them as low as $2.13 an hour.  Because the theory is they’re going to make it up in tips.  Every study has shown that it’s only in rare cases that that actually happens.  Because what often happens is that the money gets diverted; it doesn’t end up in the worker’s pocket, even though that’s what it was intended for.  And so we have to do away with that.  

Everybody should have a decent wage if they are willing to work for a living.
“The bottom line is the facts speak for themselves.  The economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House.     And just look at our last two Democratic presidents.  I know both of them.     America creates more jobs, unemployment is lower, deficits are smaller, and although my Republican friends hate it when I say this, recessions happen four times more likely when you have a Republican in the White House.     
“So I am focused on the economy.  I am not running for my husband’s third term or for Barack Obama’s third term; I’m running for my first term, but I’m going to do what works to raise wages and (inaudible).     
“While we’re at it, let’s turn South Carolina blue.  What do you think?     Oh, all in good time.  All in good time.   
“So we’ve got to stand up for the most fundamental of our rights, and we’ve got to do everything we can, including if it takes a constitutional amendment, to reverse Citizens United, which is a corrupting, pernicious influence on our elections.     And I also support comprehensive immigration reform.  I’m going to keep working for that. 
“I am also adamant that we need to fix the problems in our VA system, but don’t let the Republicans try to privatize it and rip away the good parts of VA.     Just like we have to defend Social Security and Medicare from their schemes to privatize it and end it as we know it.  We’re not going to let that happen.  
“Now, I am thrilled to be here and I need your help, and I know that we’ve got a primary coming up which will be very important.  And I hope each and every one of you will get involved in my campaign.  If there are questions you have, please go to and read what I am proposing in a wealth of areas that I think are important.  

And then volunteer some time.  Be part of this because I want to run on an agenda that will actually tell voters what I will do when I get in office.  I want you to know that. Because as Joe Riley and I were just talking about, as hard as a campaign is, the hard work starts when you’ve been elected.  I want to be ready the day after that election, when we do, Joe, finally shatter that high and hard glass ceiling.     So that I can go to work for you, I can fight for you, and together we will make sure America’s best days are ahead of us.”

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