The following are Mike Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for the Emily’s List Ignite Change New York Luncheon in New York City on September 24, 2018.
Thank you, Stephanie Schriock – and thank you for your leadership of Emily’s List, which really has done so much to advance the rights of women in America.
It’s only right that we are having a fundraiser for a group dedicated to electing women the same week the Senate is expected to hold a hearing about a Supreme Court nominee who has been accused of illegal sexual misconduct.
I believe that Dr. Blasey Ford and Anita Hill are absolutely right when they say: Before the Senate holds a vote, time should be taken to conduct a nonpartisan and professional investigation into the allegations. That is all the more true as additional accusations and questions are raised. But until a thorough investigation occurs, the only Senate vote that would respect women and the rule of law is: No.
For many of us, however, there is already enough evidence to oppose this nomination. The Constitution gives to the President the authority to nominate judges. But it also gives the Senate the authority to reject them. I believe the Senate should use that veto authority in only exceptional circumstances. But given that Judge Kavanaugh has cast doubt on the validity of Roe v. Wade and given his extremist reading of the Second Amendment I believe that this is one of those cases.
As many of you know, I have long been active in supporting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. When I was elected mayor, one of the first things we did was make sure that all city hospitals teach OB-GYN residents reproductive care, including how to safely perform abortions – something we did amid much criticism. We also increased access to emergency contraception, which helped us dramatically reduce unwanted pregnancies, particularly among teens. At the same time, women’s health and choice have been an important part of my foundation’s focus.
To me, it’s very simple: A woman’s right to choose is a fundamental American right – and it is the law of the land. Yet it remains under attack by some politicians.
Well, it’s hard to believe that things wouldn’t be a lot different if more women held public office – and that’s why Emily’s List is such an important organization today. I’ve been glad to support Emily’s List over the years – and this year, the stakes are higher than ever.
Thanks to so many women who have courageously spoken out, the “Me Too” movement has shone a spotlight on sexual assault, abuse, and harassment – that, disgracefully, society has tolerated for a very long time. Those brave women deserve our respect and support.
But that’s not enough. Because the fact is: empowering women also requires electing women to office.
As much as women are changing America for the better culturally, women are still vastly under-represented politically. In fact, women still make up only 20 percent of Congress. This November is our chance to start changing that.
A record number of women have been nominated for Congress and I’m glad to say many of them are “gun sense” candidates, like Lucy McBath from Georgia, who is with us today, and who has worked closely with Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization I helped found. But winning primaries is only half the battle.
We’re here today because we want not just to nominate, but to elect, a record number of women to Congress. Now, as many of you know, I’m an independent, and I’ve never been a partisan person. But two years ago I gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention – arguing that the Republican candidate was unsuited for the job. Unfortunately, I have been proven correct.
And yet Republicans in Congress have refused to stand up to this administration. They have shown about as much courage as the cowardly lion. And that’s being unfair to the cowardly lion.
Republicans have had two years to show they could govern responsibly – and they failed, miserably. Instead, they’ve pandered to the extreme right wing of the party – and that includes trying to shutdown Planned Parenthood, an organization that I have long funded and supported.
There are only 43 days until the election. I’ve committed $80 million to help Democrats this cycle – with much of that going to help flip the House. And I’m partnering with Emily’s List to help female candidates across the country get elected to Congress. I will be putting more money into supporting women candidates this cycle than any individual ever has before because if we’re going to win, it’s going to be women that get us there. And I want to do my part.
We’ve got to begin getting our country back on track. And that starts with us going to the polls, and getting our friends and family to go, and donating and volunteering and getting involved.
This is an all-hands-on-deck situation. We have to exercise our rights as Americans – so that the America we know and love continues to its forward march toward a more perfect union.
We can do it – together.