WASHINGTON — Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) will highlight American division and discord on issues like immigration and the economy in the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address.
“It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics. But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us. They are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection,” Kennedy plans to say, according to excerpt released early on Tuesday evening.
The excerpts indicate that he will be delivering his speech from Fall River, Mass., as he refers to it as a “proud American city, built by immigrants.”
“Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city,” according to the excerpts.
He plans to continue, “It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union. This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.”
He will emphasize economic concerns, particularly as Democrats hope to reclaim the support of a wider berth of working- and middle-class voters in this year’s elections.
“We choose the living wage, paid leave, and affordable child care your family needs to survive,” Kennedy plans to say. “We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, and good education you can afford. We choose a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction. We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices and brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right.”
He also will refer to Trump’s behavior, saying in the speech, “Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.”
Kennedy is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy.