During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Representative Andy Kim (D-NJ) called on the Senate to take up H.R. 1 and argued that “dark money and special interests eroded our pillars and caused many…to feel that our government is no longer focused on serving the people.”
Transcript as Follows:
“My name is Andy Kim, and I represent New Jersey’s 3rd District.
I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, as a national security adviser in Afghanistan to the White House working under both Republicans and Democrats.
As a son of immigrants who never worked in partisan politics before, I never would I have imagined that I would serve in Congress.
I was chosen by my neighbors in New Jersey to serve them. They asked me to restore a sense of civility and public service back into our government. To recraft a government that will work for the people with substance and integrity.
It is for these reasons that I co-sponsored and voted for H.R. 1 – the For the People Act that seeks to heal our democracy.
We see with our own eyes the challenges before us. The problems we face as a nation are great. The solutions we seek are complicated.
In my time here in Congress so far, I certainly see that the divisions here are real and run deep to the bone, but I have also seen the genuine passion that so many people on both sides of the aisle have for service.
To me, that is what the For the People Act is about – and that is why I voted for it.
Our nation needs a government of service.
It was this sense of service that founded our nation and built the extraordinary institutions of democracy that we have been entrusted to protect. That is the oath that we swore.
But as we look at the stagnation and gridlock, we must be honest with ourselves that these institutions have been weakened. That we do not have the quality of public service that the American people deserve.
The tide of dark money and special interests eroded our pillars and caused many in this country, my neighbors included, to feel that our government is no longer focused on serving the people.
I felt that too. As a father to two baby boys I worry about what kind of world they will inherit, and I want to do everything humanly possible to give them one worthy of their joy and love.
We cannot deliver for our children if we don’t heal the problems we face and create a government that can deliver what the people need.
A government for the people requires a government of the people.
We must help more Americans to participate in their democracy. We need to work to remove barriers to voting, encourage more Americans to step up and run for office, urge them to vote and to engage with their elected representatives.
We need to stop gerrymandering from diluting the voice of the people, to make our system fairer and more just.
We need a government the understands that the core unit of our democracy is the citizen, not the dollar sign.
H.R. 1 represents a bold effort to do just that.
Just because we passed H.R. 1 through the House, does not mean the work is done.
We go into this with our eyes wide open, fully aware of the challenges ahead.
But I am encouraged when I think of the hundreds of people that showed up at my last town hall.
I told my constituents that they are my bosses, whether they voted for me or not, and I will serve them all with every fiber of my body for as long as they give me the honor of representing them.
It is a reminder that when we show up for the people – Democrats and Republicans – instead of dark money donors, our government can work at its best.
H.R. 1 reminds us that our democracy doesn’t exist just here in Washington. It exists with each and every one of us.
H.R. 1 reminds us that our democracy can never be taken for granted. But that working together we can guide it and work to create a more perfect, representative union.
And H.R. 1 reminds us that this extraordinary energy in our nation provides a new baseline of civil engagement that will foster a new era of public service.
That is what we seek. That is what we want. That is what we need.
We have a precious chance to seize the change we were sent here to make and restore faith in our democracy.
The time is now to act.
I call on the Senate to take up this bill and deliver what the American people deserve.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett