Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris made her final election push in Metro Detroit today.
It was the perfect, quintessential fall day as Harris—dressed in all black, donning an American flag pin atop a tan coat—got to work with boots on the ground. After landing at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, her extensive motorcade—replete with Secret Service and police— cleared portions of the freeway as she traveled to the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, 17100 W. 12 Mile Road in Southfield. This comes on the heels of a visit from the U.S. Pres. Barack Obama and presidential nominee Joe Biden at a drive-thru rally at Belle Isle last weekend.
Harris attended the Southfield event with Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D., Mich.) and Democratic Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow. Peters, in a re-election bid, was supported by Harris.
The 120 people in attendance gathered—some socially distanced— in the parking lot of Sheet Metal Workers Local 80.
“You all have been asked, and I have been asked, why should I vote?” Harris told the impassioned audience. “I believe there are three reasons why people should vote. One is we have to deal with the fact that we must honor the ancestors; let’s honor the ancestors.”
Harris, standing in front of a white pickup truck awash with deep blue “Michigan for Biden Harris” signs, unwaveringly said that the second reason to vote is that, “Everything is at stake,” she said, citing equal pay for equal work and boosting funding for eligible schools in need.
The third reason for voting? Empowerment.
As she’s traversed the country, Harris said the powers that be have made it hard for people to vote. “Why are so many powerful people going through such an effort to make it so difficult and confusing for us to vote? I think we know the answer: It’s because they know our power,” she said.
“They know our power. They know when we vote things change. … We will not be sidelined in this election,” she said.
Harris, who spoke over 15 minutes, said that Biden understands that America’s economy stands on the shoulders of American families.
“When Joe is asked how is the economy doing, Joe asks, ‘Tell me how our working people are doing? How are working families doing?’ That’s why Joe is not passing any taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year. Joe said, ‘You’re not going to bring down middle class taxes.”
Mother and daughter Southfield residents Lauren Roebuck and Marlo Roebuck attended the event to show support.
“I am here today to be a part of the community and make sure that we get Biden and Harris in the presidency tonight,” Marlo Roebuck said. “I am hoping for a safe night…and just for equality and for people to have basic human rights.”
Lauren Roebuck agreed.
“We’re here for unity over division. I’m here for my daughter, my Black son, my niece, my nephews and for their future,” she said.
Beverly Hills resident Elin Betanzo, who campaigned earlier in the day, said that she is “doing everything” she can to get Democrats elected.
“[To] create a better world for my kids,” she said. “I want my children to grow up in a country where everyone can be proud. …protect our environment, our earth for our future.”
She added that seeing Harris in person, and feeling the crowd’s energy, was important.
“It makes it all real,” Betanzo said.
The thought of Trump’s win in Michigan four years ago still hangs heavy in the minds and hearts of many Democrat Metro Detroiters today. And with the polls closing at 8 p.m., Harris, on her second stop in Detroit to Greater Grace Temple, didn’t waste any time. Neither did the church’s pastor, Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, who led chants before the modest crowd during her final pit stop.
“Let’s get it done,” Ellis said as attendees, including church congregants [some dressed in their Sunday best], shouted back in agreement. One woman in attendance carried an oversize American flag, several feet tall.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist greeted Harris with an elbow bump before introducing her to the crowd.
“We have the next vice president of the United State who decided she needed to come back to Seven Mile because she knew this election could be won by voters like you,” Gilchrist said to the crowd’s thunderous applause in response.
“I know if you are out here you are a leader in your family, community, in your neighborhood and I just want to thank you,” Harris said, greeting the crowd. “The decision about who will be the next president of the United States—you are going to make.”
Harris added that in the last presidential election, the outcome was decided, on average, by two votes per precinct in the election.
“If each of us just pulled out another two people to make sure they voted today that could determine who will be the next president,” she implored the crowd.
Harris added that in voting for the president, so many decisions come after that, like whether America is going to maintain the Affordable Care Act [ACA], which brought healthcare to over 20 million people who didn’t have [it],” she said, adding that Biden and Obama pushed the ACA through to protect people with preexisting conditions. “The other choice for president is trying to get rid of it; it’s in court right now. …These are the kinds of decisions in front of voters right now; very clear decisions. And so I’m here to thank you all. To ask you to remind folks to come and vote. Let’s walk with our feet to the polls and get this thing going. Thank you, Detroit.”
“Kamala, Kamala, Kamala,” Ellis chanted as people clapped at the end.
“This is our vote,” Harris responded, to which someone in the crowd shouted, “Say it again.”
“We’ll meet you in D.C.,” Ellis said.