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DNCC Chair Antonio Villaraigosa; A convention not just of symbolism, but of substance

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CHARLOTTE -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee, addressed the crowd Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. He praised the convention as one with tremendous diversity and also one that recognizes equal justice under the law.

Here are his full remarks:

To our wonderful hosts in Charlotte: There’s no hospitality quite like Southern hospitality!

I’m proud to be mayor of the great City of Los Angeles, the city of America’s hope and promise. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to hold the gavel at this historic convention, where tonight Barack Obama will accept our party’s nomination for a second term as president of the United States!

This has been the most diverse, most inclusive convention ever held—a convention not just of symbolism, but of substance. For the first time, a major party platform recognizes marriage equality as a basic human right!

This is a reflection of who we are as a party and who we can be as a nation, because as Democrats, as Americans, whenever we’ve opened up our party and our country, whenever we’ve opened up doors for more of our people, whenever we’ve deepened our democracy and renewed our commitment to equal justice under the law, we’ve grown stronger as a nation.

Last week in Tampa, we were promised hard truths. And they were right about one thing: The truth was hard to find.

They didn’t talk about their plan to cut taxes for millionaires by raising taxes on middle-class families with kids—on your family—by $2,000.

Or their plan to replace the guarantee of Medicare with a voucher that might not cover the cost of care and could force seniors to pay up to $6,400 more a year.

Or their plan to deny a woman control over her basic health decisions.

They didn’t share their plan, because they know it’s not a plan the American people want. Americans don’t want to go backward. We want to go forward.

That’s what President Obama’s plan will do, by investing in education and manufacturing, bringing clean energy jobs to our shores, ending wars abroad and doing some nation building here at home.

Some of our Republican friends may not have agreed with everything they’ve heard here in Charlotte, but at least they heard the facts. They heard solutions. They heard an honest description of the choice we face.

And tonight they will hear from a president who is fighting for all of us. He fought for the student who’s trying to pay for college. For the small-business owner striving for a piece of the American dream. For the men and women in uniform who are fighting for us. And he fought for the DREAMers—young people brought here as children through no fault of their own.

Instead of supporting their dream, Governor Romney wants to make their lives so miserable, so oppressive, so intolerable that they would leave behind the life they’ve built and “self-deport.”

But we believe we’re a better country than that. And thanks to President Obama, as we keep on fighting for the DREAM Act, they can remain in the country they love.

In Los Angeles, we know our communities are stronger for their diversity. From Westwood to Wilmington, from Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks, we may come from different backgrounds, we may speak different languages, we may worship in different ways, but all of us—no matter our accent or ancestry—are pursuing the same American dream.

It’s the dream that brought my grandfather from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, to Los Angeles a century ago with little money, even less English, but an unshakable faith in the relationship between work and reward.

It’s the dream that allowed his grandson, a child of Boyle Heights, to graduate from UCLA, to work for farmworkers and teachers, to become speaker of the California State Assembly and mayor of Los Angeles.

I know how I got here. I worked hard. And I grew up in an America where hard work paid off. That’s the promise of this country. And this week, we came to Charlotte to restore that promise.

While this convention ends tonight, our work does not. In the days and weeks ahead we’re going to register more voters, knock on more doors and get out more votes. And we’re going to send Barack Obama back to the White House!”

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