Remarks by the First Lady at a Grassroots Campaign Event for Democratic Candidate for Governor, Anthony Brown -- Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore War Memorial Building
5:02 P.M. EST
MRS. OBAMA: You guys fired up? (Applause.) This looks like a good crowd ready to get this done. Hello, everyone. I am honored to be here. (Applause.)
First of all, I am so proud to be here today at this powerful memorial honoring so many people who have served our country so bravely. And I’m thrilled to show my support for someone with his own outstanding record of service to this country, our friend, the next Governor of Maryland, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. (Applause.) We got to get this done.
Before I get -- before I go in, I want to start by recognizing the many other outstanding Maryland leaders we have here today. I want to thank Congressman Cummings for hosting us here today -- yes, indeed -- (applause) -- as well as Senators Cardin and Mikulski. (Applause.) We have my dear friend, Governor Martin O’Malley -- (applause) -- Representatives John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Steny Hoyer, Donna Edwards. (Applause.) Of course, your Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (Applause.) City Council President Jack Young. (Applause.) And of course, your next Lieutenant Governor, Ken Ulman. (Applause.)
But most of all, I am here because I want to thank all of you, truly.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Michelle! (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: You all keep us lifted up. Because, like me, I know you all are fired up and ready to go and ready to get this done. And I know that, like me, you all are here today for one simple reason: You’re here because you know that this election isn’t just about who’s up on this stage. This election is about you. It’s about what’s going on in your lives and in your families and in your communities.
You’re here because when you kiss your kids goodbye each morning, you want to send them to a good school; the kind of schools with good teachers who are going to push them and inspire them, and put them on track to college and good jobs. (Applause.)
You’re here because you believe that when you’ve worked your heart out putting in 40, 50 hours a week, you should make a decent wage, be able to raise a family on it. (Applause.) If you’re a woman, you believe you should get equal pay for your work. (Applause.)
You’re here because you know that things are starting to get better. You’ve heard the numbers. Under this President, our businesses have created more than 10 million new jobs since 2010. This is the longest uninterrupted run of private sector job growth in our nation’s history. (Applause.) And you’re here because you want to keep heading in the right direction.
But most of all, you’re here because you know that when it comes to your schools and your jobs and your paychecks, so many of these decisions are made by your governor. And that’s why we’re here today for Anthony -- because we have seen with our own eyes what he has done for this state.
Anthony has led the efforts to implement our new health care law, and he’s helped expand health care coverage to nearly 400,000 folks here in the state of Maryland. We’ve seen that with our own eyes. (Applause.) Anthony has worked hard to improve services and benefits for our veterans here in this state, because like me and I know like all of you, Anthony believes that we should serve our veterans as well as they have served this country. (Applause.)
Anthony has been fighting to invest in education. Nothing is more important than education. (Applause.) He’s worked to invest in infrastructure because he wants to create jobs in every corner of this state. And he wants every child to have a good school no matter where they live or how much money their parents make. (Applause.) Because in the end, that’s really what Anthony is all about. He’s about creating opportunity. He’s about helping others -- that’s what he’s spent his life doing, serving this state and this country.
So we all know why Anthony is in this. We all know who he stands for -- he stands for you. He stands for your families. So we need to do everything we can to vote for Anthony Brown as the next Governor of Maryland. We’ve got to get this done. (Applause.)
Now, tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow is the day. And we know this won’t be easy. But let me tell you, nothing we have done has been easy. We know a little bit about things not being easy. We know there is too much money in politics. We know that special interests have way too much influence. But, Maryland, Baltimore, this is what I want you to understand tomorrow: they had plenty of money and plenty of influence back in 2006 and 2010, and Anthony and Martin O’Malley still won those elections. (Applause.) You want to know why they won? They won because you showed up and you voted. That’s exactly why they won.
You see, at the end of the day, the folks running those special interest groups, the folks pouring millions of dollars into those elections -- see, here’s the thing -- they each just have one vote, and so do each of us. And those votes are what decides elections here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
So every single one of those votes matters. Because this election is going to be incredibly close. I want you to think back to Anthony’s first race for lieutenant governor back in 2006 -- take this in, because this is important. The outcome of that election was decided by about 60,000 votes. So if just 60,000 people had voted for that opponent instead, you would have had a different governor and lieutenant governor. And while that might sound like a lot, when you break that number down, that’s just 30 votes per precinct. You understand how tight that is? That’s 30 votes.
So if there is anyone in this state who thinks their vote doesn’t matter, if anyone is thinking of sitting this election out, I just want you to think of those margins. I mean, just look around this room alone. Think about how many precincts all of the folks just in this room could swing for Anthony if we get ourselves and everyone we know out to the polls tomorrow. That is the power that you all have right now, right here today. (Applause.)
So right now, I want you all to make a plan -- because voting can’t just happen. You need a plan. Decide when you’re going to do it; write it down, where you need to go. Be sure to call folks tonight. Remind them to vote tomorrow -- 30 votes per precinct. Make sure they have a plan to get to the polls, and don’t take no for an answer.
I want you to think about who’s going to babysit, who’s going to pick who up, who needs a ride. That’s the kind of planning you need to do. (Applause.) Because we can’t miss anyone. And remind people, voting couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is show up tomorrow and bring everyone you know with you. Bring your neighbors, your friends, that cousin on the couch. (Applause.) Bring the folks from church -- bring them. Join the millions of people across this country making their voices heard. Don’t be left out.
We’ve got one day. Because here’s what you’ve got to understand: If we stay home tomorrow, we’re just letting other folks decide the outcome for us. See, and if we do that, we know exactly what will happen. We will see less support for our kids’ schools. We’ll see more folks trying to interfere in women’s private decisions about our bodies and our health care. (Applause.) We’ll see more special breaks for those at the top instead of hardworking folks.
So, Maryland, I want to be very clear: If you want to keep on creating good jobs all across this state; if you believe that folks who are working full time shouldn’t have to live in poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet; if you think every child here in Maryland should have the education they need from preschool to college to fulfill their God-given potential, then you need to get out and vote for Anthony Brown tomorrow -- tomorrow. (Applause.)
Because in the end, we have to remember, that’s really what’s at stake in this election. Think about this -- it’s the kind of world we want to leave for our kids and our grandkids. See, that’s why I’m in this -- for our children. Because those kids are counting on us to stand up for them.
And we know these kids. These are our kids, and they’re everywhere all over this state. One young woman is one of my mentees, Rashema Melson, who I met here in Washington. Rashema’s father was murdered when she was a baby, and for years her family was homeless. Of course, there were days when she didn’t even have clean clothes to wear to school. But Rashema, she still showed up every morning ready for school. She threw herself into every class, often waking up in the middle of the night to do her homework because that’s the only time it was quiet in the homeless shelter where she lived.
But here’s the thing about Rashema -- by senior year, Rashema had earned herself a 4.0 GPA. (Applause.) She graduated as the valedictorian of her class. And right now, she is on full scholarship at Georgetown University. (Applause.)
And as I travel across the country, I meet so many kids like Rashema -- kids who are working two or three jobs to save up for college. Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, and are fighting so hard to make it in this country. These are our kids -- kids who are out there on their own, waking up early, staying up late studying as hard as they can because they know that’s the only way out.
These kids have every reason to give up, but they don’t because they are so hungry to succeed, they are so desperate to lift themselves up. See, and that’s why me and Barack, we do what we do every day -- because those kids never give up, and neither can we. (Applause.)
So let me say -- something, Maryland, Baltimore -- we need to be energized for them. We need to be inspired for them. We need to get out and vote tomorrow so that they can have opportunities they need to build the future they deserve. (Applause.)
And here’s what I know: I know we can do this. If everyone here and around the state, if we all step up and we bring others along with us, then I know that we can keep on making that change we believe in. I know we can elect Anthony Brown as Governor of Maryland. And I know that together, we can build a future worthy of all our children.
Thank you all. God bless. Get it done tomorrow. (Applause.)
5:16 P.M. EST