Atlanta, GA – Tonight, Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and U.S. Senate candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock delivered remarks about his historic candidacy to unite all Georgians at his campaign headquarters, focusing on his fight for health care and his deep gratitude for the support Georgia voters have shown his campaign. Warnock’s full remarks are below.
In the closing days of the race, Warnock spoke with Georgians from across the state about the importance of expanding health care and ensuring protections for pre-existing conditions for 1.8 million Georgians. Since launching his campaign, Warnock has made dozens of stops across Georgia, including events in Atlanta, Albany, Athens, Americus, Augusta, Brunswick, Camilla, Carrollton, Columbus, Cuthbert, Dalton, Douglasville, Dublin, Fayetteville, Fort Valley, Jonesboro, LaGrange, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Macon, Marietta, Norcross, Pooler, Powder Springs, Rome, Savannah, Statesboro, Stockbridge, Thomasville, Toccoa, Valdosta, and Union City.
Thank you so very much, Georgia. What a great night! Tonight, I stand here grateful for your support. Honored by your trust. Energized by the growing movement for change all across this state.
Something special and transformational is happening in Georgia. The people – everyday people, ordinary people – are rising up and demanding change. They’ve had about enough of Washington politicians who move so seamlessly between Washington backrooms and corporate boardrooms that it’s hard to tell one from the other. Well, I think the ultra wealthy and well connected already have enough representatives in Washington. Ordinary people want somebody who is ready and willing to stand up for them. Well, if you need somebody, “Here am I. Send me.” If you need somebody who will defend healthcare and not defund healthcare; if you need somebody who knows that it’s wrong to call people essential workers and not pay them an essential wage, not offer them essential benefits; if you need somebody who, in honor of John Lewis, will pass voting rights in the senate so that every voice is heard. If you need a voice crying out in the Wilderness of Washington, “here am I, send me.”
I’ve been standing up for everyday people, ordinary people, decent hard-working people, some at the very bottom, my entire life and I’m not about to stop now.
I understand the struggles of ordinary people. As someone who grew up in public housing, I know what it’s like to face an uncertain future. I’m one of 11 children in my family. I’m the first college graduate. We were short on money but long on love. Long on faith. My parents taught me the value of hard work. My mother is from Waycross, Georgia. Growing up there as a teenager in the 1950’s, she lived on the underside of segregation, spent her summers picking cotton and tobacco. But the other day, she got to pick her youngest son to be the next United States senator from the great State of Georgia.
My dad was an army veteran and a preacher. But he spent most of his days working hard with his hands. A small businessman, he used to pick up old junk cars that other people were throwing away and load them on the back of a truck. But on Sunday morning, he preached to people who themselves felt thrown away.
My parents and my community poured a whole lot of love in me. And, with their encouragement and affirmation, I went to Morehouse College on a “full faith scholarship.” I didn’t have enough money really for the first semester. But I had grit, a strong work ethic, a sense of determination and personal responsibility. But that’s not all I had. Somebody gave me a Pell grant, some low interest student loans. Tonight, I’m running for kids all over this state who like me have big dreams and all they need is a little help. When we invest in them, we invest in us!
I know because the kid from Kayton Homes Housing Projects now serves from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s pulpit. And I’ve spent these last 15 years there trying to fight for what’s right, getting into what my parishioner John Lewis called “good trouble.”
Pray tell, how do you know what someone will do once they are in office? Look at what they were doing before they ran for office. I was standing up for Medicaid expansion before I was running. I was standing up for working families before I was running. I was trying to facilitate the launch and development of small businesses before I was running. I was pushing for common sense criminal justice reform before I was running. I was registering voters and educating voters and mobilizing voters before I was running. And it has never mattered much to me who I’d have to run against because I’ve always been clear about who I’m running for! I know what this is about! This campaign and this movement about:
The people who are struggling to afford healthcare and those who are worried about losing it in the middle of a pandemic.
The folks in Southwest Georgia and all across rural Georgia whose hospitals are closing in the middle of a pandemic and an economic turndown unlike anything we’ve seen since the great depression, devastating their healthcare and taking away jobs.
The small businesses that are hanging on by a thread while Washington plays politics with their relief. The Shake Shacks and the LA Lakers of the world find themselves at the front of the line getting handouts they don’t need while these truly small businesses can’t get the relief they must have.
The farmers I’ve met who are wondering how they became the casualties of somebody else’s trade war. The families of the nearly 8,000 Georgians who have died from COVID-19 and the people who are still waiting for a coherent national strategy to fight the virus rather than allow it to rage and to get our people safely back to work and our children safely back in school.
The way for the people to go back to work is for Washington to get to work. I’m ready to get to work! And we are getting closer.
Right now, we know that there is going to be a runoff election for this seat on January 5th. And while we don’t know who I will face, there are a few things we do know.
We know that both Senator Loeffler and Congressman Collins want to take away your healthcare. And you don’t have to take my word for it. They’ve already told you so. They want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. They both support tax giveaways for the wealthiest corporations and people. And they both have failed to get Georgia families and small businesses the relief they’ve been waiting for months to receive.
So, over the next two months, you’re going to see the petty and personal attacks that have become too much a part of the culture of politics. They are going to try to distract us and divide us by making us afraid of each other. And here’s why.
People who lack vision traffic in division. They cannot lead us so they will seek to divide us. I submit to you that we are all we’ve got. So while they try to tear me down, I am going to be doing everything I can to lift the people of Georgia up. Because we are all we’ve got!
So, thank you for voting and calling and texting and passing out signs and organizing – thank you, Georgia, for pushing me one step closer to the Senate because when I go there, you will go with me. Your concerns will go with me. Your issues will go with me. But I need you to keep it up for sixty two more days!
Let us stick together, push through this dark night into the daybreak of a brand new season. I know it’s dark and dreary. There is a weariness that weighs on your soul and the soul of the nation. But hold on. The Bible tells us that “the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness cannot overcome it.”
We can beat this pandemic, informed by science, anchored in our faith. We can make healthcare more affordable. We suffer not from a lack of resources but from a poverty of purpose, a lack of political will and moral imagination.We can get the cost of prescription drugs down and wages and employment up and hope and possibility up. We can give every child a chance to soar like me. We can fly again if we stick together. Don’t give in to the voices of cynicism and hate and fear. We are better than that. If we are to fly again, we must fly together.
About Reverend Warnock
Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah. Fifteen years ago, he was chosen to serve as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is only the fifth Senior Pastor in the history of the church and the youngest pastor ever selected to serve in that position. Reverend Warnock believes his service does not stop at the church door, and has been an advocate to expand health care coverage and to ensure hardworking Georgians can make a living wage. As Senator, Reverend Warnock will bring to Washington the concerns of struggling Georgia families who wonder why no one is looking out for them, and focus on fighting for quality, affordable health care, for the dignity of working people who are paid too little as our government works more for Wall Street, and to make sure every voice is heard.
Title and affiliation are provided for identification purposes only.