Vice President Harris’ Remarks to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Political Science Students

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wis.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: OK, so what are your questions? What’s going on? How do you view life?

STUDENT: Really nervous right now. (Laugh.)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: What is your name?

STUDENT: Noah. Delighted to meet you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Noah. (Inaudible.) Well, listen, I – you know, I’ve been traveling across the country, and a lot of the work that I’ve been doing lately, now that all the COVID restrictions have been lifted, has been meeting students. You are where it is. I tell you, you are where it is.

STUDENT: (Inaudible.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, you’re very – you’re very nice, but here’s what I want you to know: I need your leadership, and we need you to lead. OK?

When you look at what is happening in our country right now, there are so many things that are so fundamental to whether we are going to defend our democracy, the principles on which we were founded, which is freedom and liberty.

I don’t need to tell you guys – we’ve come out of almost two years of a pandemic where we’ve literally told people to self-isolate, and what that means in terms of feeling lonely.

And, you know, when people are feeling lonely, it can be very discouraging. And the strength of our nation has always been: among many, one; that we think we have much more in common than what separates us.

And part of your leadership that I ask of you is to remind people of the communities and the whole and the fact that we’re all in this together. It’s so important.

And one of the other things I’m going to ask you to really lead on is to remind everyone you know, including those who are active in terms of having already passed school, the importance of the climate crisis .

You are going to pay the price for what we are doing or not doing on this issue.

I was just meeting a bunch of people, talking about a conversation I had last night with the administrator of FEMA – the head of FEMA – about what’s going on in Puerto Rico, how the island has been devastated by extreme weather conditions.

And we see extreme weather in my home state of California – wildfires. My brother-in-law is a firefighter.

Let me tell you – right? – what is happening with people, evacuating entire communities because of these wildfires. We were talking about the “wildfire season”. Now it’s all year round.

You watch hurricanes and floods.

And so what we have to do – right? — it must be: Let’s save this planet, these precious resources that this planet has and gives us to sustain life.

And I’m going to count on you to remind people of the fact that — let’s not accept false choices, shall we? Investing in a clean energy economy is creating jobs. It’s about making sure that we, too — that all of you, and your children and grandchildren, can breathe clean air and drink clean water.

The job that we have to do is to work with our partners around the world, because – hey, I lead the Space Council. Let me tell you something: I occasionally talk to astronauts who are in space when I talk to them. And the last group, because I was in Houston, at the Johnson Space Center, and then I went to the Artemis launch in Florida. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as we had planned. we delayed it.

But I ask astronauts when I talk to them – some of them (inaudible) in space – and I say to them, “Tell me what, after being in space, changed your point of view at this subject.” And almost at one, they say to me: “You are in space looking at the Earth and you realize how delicate and fragile it is.” Right?

So on this issue of the climate crisis, in addition to all the other issues that you might raise and think of in the context of the work of your government, the work of all of us, right? – as members of a democracy, how do you think about what we need to do in a way that addresses some of these issues and eliminates unnecessary conflict and, you know, partisanship, and that’s really to say, “Hey, let’s unite on this, because we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter who you voted for last time or who you vote for next time. If we don’t unite on this question, we are all going to pay the price.

So anyway, I just wanted to drop by to tell you that I’m really proud of you for starting your freshman year, except for one person — (laughs) — and moving on. It’s an exciting time. You meet and sit next to each other and you’re going to end up being friends for life, I’m telling you.

My first year, I met people that I ended up – you know, we ended up being – I would be the godfather of their children. Right? People you will know all your life.

So enjoy this experience. And your big brain is like a sponge right now. So absorb it all. Ask all questions. And just lead. Just head over – because we need you. OK? OK. Thank you all. (Applause.)

END

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