Thanks so much for coming! For those of you who don't know me yet, my name is Joyce Knott, and I'm running for the fifth congressional seat in the US House of Representatives!
I'd like to extend a special welcome to members of the press---- and a warm hearted thanks to my supporters who took time out of their busy day to be with me for this. Let me tell you, my supporters have been so devoted to me, they keep me going.
I'm so pleased to be endorsed by the Working Families Party.
The South Carolina WFP has become the independent voice for South Carolina's working families. I know many Americans have gotten so tired of the partisan vitriol, they've just tuned it out. We're all tired of the lies, the spin, and the plain mean-ness that comes into our homes in the guise of news. We're tired of the two sides acting more like squabbling children than people who ought to be working together to create jobs and address the many serious challenges facing our nation today. This year, congressional approval ratings dipped to the lowest point in history.
It's easy to tell ourselves that all politicians are alike.
Easy,---- but irresponsible. Because saying they're all alike and not paying attention gives free reign to corporations and special interest groups to use Washington as a private playground.
This endorsement shows the voter that I've been vetted.
I decided to run so I could speak up for Americans who can't afford their own lobbyist or super-pac---Americans whose voices are being wiped out by an avalanche of money. My opponent has demonstrated that he stands with billionaire donors like Howard Rich and the Koch brothers. The Working Families Party looks at all candidates -- Democrats and Republicans -- and only supports the ones who fight for ordinary working class and middle class families. As such, I'm pleased to accept their endorsement.
I'll appear on your ballot twice. Once as a Democrat, and once as the Working Families Party candidate.
I understand what it's like to go to work every day, all year long to make a better life for my family and those around us.
I have worked, seems like about all of my entire life. I worked in the summers during high school, worked during the holidays and even had a weekend job taking care of a child through two years of high school. Work to me was part of life. I wanted to work. I gave up my trip to the beach after graduation so that I could start to work on my first real job, Whitlock's Furniture. That job had every facet of a small business, owned by a family. The lessons that I learned were invaluable. In the evenings, I continued my education attending Spartanburg Technical School with my interest in Business Law, Accounting, and the usual business courses. A professor recommended me to the company Hystron Fibers, one of the first foreign owned companies to build and bring jobs to Spartanburg. I was hired and from then on I began my path breaking ground for women in jobs once held just by men.
That was just the beginning of long wonderful journey in the business world as a woman. Later, Ron and I decided as a family that we could make it work if I continued working throughout our son's years of growing up. Our son has the same work ethic we do.
For over twenty-four years I have worked with my husband in our own small business. I know from life experiences what it takes to work and try to save only to experience the horrible eight years of the Bush administration. Those years just about ran our family business into the ground.
I believe hard work should pay off. But things have changed in America. It seems like the middle class is falling further and further behind.
So I decided it was time for me to take a stand.
If elected, I will stand with the working people of South Carolina. I have deep roots in South Carolina, with family members just like yours. My uncles were farmers, electricians, policemen, servicemen, business men, and carpenters. So, I understand about labor and working for a living. My role models were strong and never minded a long hard day's work.
But it's difficult to work hard toward a better life when you don't have a job. Here's the problem: there aren't enough jobs. If there were, our citizens would work.
My opponent has said that the only reason anyone is unemployed is that Americans won't look for a job as long as they get an unemployment check. I don't agree with him. That's not the America I know.
The same old song and dance coming from the other side about tax cuts for the wealthy creating jobs is getting old. History has now proven that trickle-down economics don't work. It's a fairy tale. It's a joke and the joke is on us. These so-called job-creators are too tight fisted to let anything trickle out of their grasp. Rather than investing in America, they stashed their tax breaks in offshore accounts---- then they shipped our jobs overseas.
It has been ten years since wealthiest among us got the huge tax cuts that have been so detrimental to our nation. It is time for those tax cuts to be ended and let the middle class keep theirs.
And it's time for congress to finally pass a jobs bill!
Families are under more stress than ever. I have taken on this challenge---and running for congress isn't easy--- to keep opportunistic politicians from completely ruining our nation by deliberately tearing down, chipping away, and defunding the programs that we as a society have decided we expect to be there for us and for our children and grandchildren, now and in the future.
If elected, I will stand with seniors. I know what it means to have used up your savings and be getting to the age when you thought you would be retiring. When I was in the 11th grade, my mother went to work for a small family owned business in downtown Spartanburg and retired from the same company at the age of 80. Until the business closed she continued keeping their books. That company didn't offer any retirement benefits, so she lives on Social Security. She depends on that check. She also depends on Medicare.
My opponent wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
I will fight to preserve it and shore it up.
My opponent refuses to say he's against privatizing the Social Security system.
I will do everything I can to ensure that money is there for us when we need it.
If elected, I will stand with our active military, our returning warriors, and military families.
As a former Army wife who lived on military bases both here and abroad, I am grateful and humbled by the service women and men who work and sacrifice to protect our nation. The recent military has been all volunteers, each of whom made the individual decision to leave their homeland to defend us all.
Veteran's benefits will be a priority. Today's military serves longer, has less family leave, faces more day to day danger, and must worry about families back home. I will work to strengthen the VA to make sure that veterans from the past wars are getting all the benefits that they deserve while we keep an eye on the horizon and plan to take care of future generations of soldiers back home. I will always fight for their rights.
I will make sure the Fifth congressional district has the best constituent services in the country. Military families, in particular, should know they can turn to their congressperson for help if they run into any trouble with the VA or other government bureaucracy. I promise to continue that tradition.
If elected I will stand with women. Women everywhere are realizing now more than ever before that policy can shape their lives for better or for worse. The decisions made by a few people in Columbia and Washington can impact our bodies, our families, our communities, and our bottom line. There's a concerted effort among Republican legislators on the state and national levels to undermine women's healthcare.
That's not only bad news, it's insulting. Do they think they know better than we do about our own bodies? Women are like snowflakes. How can our healthcare decisions be made by people who don't even know us?
Women know we are capable of making decisions and taking leadership. The men who know and love us know that, too.
I hope to have the honor of serving you all in congress.
But it won't be easy.
My opponent has an unlimited amount of money to spend getting his message out.
He's taken money from the infamous Koch brothers, who pour money into the campaigns of politicians who just happen to support their business interests.
I know this is a David and Goliath story.
A friend of mine told me the definition of courage is doing what you know to be right even when it's hard. When it looked like no one else would stand up to the moneys interests, I took a huge leap.
This is a tough race. Every volunteer, every dollar, every vote will count.
I may not have a mountain of campaign cash, but I know what's what and what's right and I will represent YOU instead of the moneyed interests.