John Perez, the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly, addressed delegates and guests at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: Good evening Democrats! I am so honored to join you tonight. Certainly, this close to the election much of our attention is focused on the nuts and bolts of victory—how we’ll prevail in the swing districts and battleground states. But this convention gives us the chance to discuss something much more important than how or where we fight. It gives us the chance to reflect on the question of why we fight. And the answer to that fundamental question can be summed up in one word—opportunity. Opportunity is why we fight. Across the country, there are parents who want nothing more than the opportunity to have a job, and the ability to put food on the family table. We fight for them. In too many states, even some folks who have a job wake up every morning in fear that they will lose that job simply for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We fight for them. On our nation’s campuses, students are seeking the opportunity to go to college, earn a degree, and find a career that will unleash their potential. We fight for them. Women are fighting for the opportunity that comes with equal pay for equal work, and the respect that comes with having control of their medical decisions. We fight for them. Inmigrantes de todo el mundo llegan a los Estados Unidos buscando una oportunidad para darles una mejor vida a sus hijos. Nosotros luchamos por ellos. Yes, we fight for them. And we fight for President Obama. And we know President Obama fights for us. President Obama has fought to renew opportunities for Americans every moment of his time in office, to protect the opportunities that already exist, and create new opportunities for all Americans. When the jobs of autoworkers, were threatened in 2009, some said “Let Detroit fail.” But president Obama said failure is not an option. And today, American autoworkers can sleep securely, knowing their jobs and the opportunities for a brighter future exist because the president fought for them. President Obama has reformed student loans, cut out the banks and lowered the cost of education for millions of students. And he’s fighting for new investments to extend that opportunity to millions more. He repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” giving LGBT Americans the opportunity to proudly and openly serve our nation in uniform. And he’s standing up for the right of LGBT Americans to say, “I do.” He has fought for policies to unleash the opportunities that come with 21st century jobs that will remake our economy and restore prosperity for the middle class. President Obama is leading us through a challenging era by recognizing that the strength of America is measured in the opportunities everyone has to work hard and succeed. That is the spirit of our party, and the guiding principle of President Obama. This election is our opportunity to rededicate ourselves to that commitment. Our pathway to victory is to fight for everyone to have the opportunity to live for their American dream. To fight for our proud national tradition of ensuring that our children will always enjoy more opportunities than their parents had. To fight to ensure that every person has the opportunities that come with being treated with dignity, respect, and equality in the eyes of the law. We fight to restore opportunity across this country, because as Democrats, we understand the poignancy, the power and the truth of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation that “America is another name for opportunity.” Opportunity is why we fight for our country. Opportunity is what our president fights for. And in 61 days, opportunity is why President Obama will win a second term. But we have a lot of work to do between now and then, so let’s get to work! Thank you.
Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016. More by Matt Comer