SCDP Chair Jaime Harrison’s DemDebate Opening Remarks
“My fellow Democrats… WELCOME to South Carolina, the home of the First in the South Democratic Presidential Primary. I am Jaime Harrison- Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
“I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Charleston this weekend and that you have experienced some good southern hospitality and hopefully even better southern food… now, some of you have already told me that you gained 5 lbs from all of the shrimp and grits, but I’m not going to call any names … but we hope to see you in Charleston again soon to pick up that other 5.
“But seriously, it has been an honor and a pleasure to have you in South Carolina this weekend. South Carolina is my home.. it is a great state and in just this past year we have had a lifetime of experiences… From the senseless shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston to the murder of nine beautiful souls just across the street at Mother Emanuel to the lowering of the confederate flag to destruction caused by a 1000 year flood.. SC has experienced some things this year. But my friends we are a resilient people…reflected in our State’s motto Dum Spiro Spero… “While I breathe… I hope”… it is a sentiment reflected by the courage of the Mother Emanuel families… some of them who are here with us tonight.
“While I breathe… I hope.” My friends this should also be the motto of this Democratic Party. Here in SC … the Republicans have taken control of the legislature, all statewide offices, and 8 of 9 federal offices. 250,000 people don’t have healthcare because Nikki Haley has refused to allow Medicaid expansion and 1 in four children live in poverty. As a party who believes in fighting for the least of these… this could be depressing. But when I became Chair of this great party… I couldn’t sit back and whimper about where we are… but I had to roll up my sleeves and focus on where we needed to be. We are fighting every day to rebuild this party from the ground up. Thanks to assistance from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the vision of former Chair Howard Dean, we have launched a 46 county strategy focused on the infrastructure needed to educate, recruit and win. The heart of that strategy is our new initiative the James E. Clyburn Political Fellowship- this year we will train 40 young people across the state to run for office and run their county party operations.
“My friends, Democratic success in the south is critical if we ever want to see Nancy Pelosi become speaker again and Jim Clyburn return as the House Majority Whip… but we need your help. We need you to not write us off, but make a long-term investment- the development of a Democratic Southern Strategy. My charge to the next Democratic Nominee and future President of the United States who will walk on this stage shortyly… invest in the future of party…. invest in the South… invest in state parties… and invest in the great people of South Carolina.
Again… Welcome and enjoy tonight’s debate!”