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Congressman Jim McGovern Speaks with Blue Mass Group at DNC

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Q. and A. FULL TEXT:

Q: As a progressive who’s strongly supported Hillary Clinton, how would you bring more Bernie supporters into the fold?

A: What I tried to say today is that our work is not done and certainly the people who support Bernie Sanders know the work is not done. We have this incredibly progressive platform, thanks in large part to Bernie Sanders supporters.

In the past, platforms at Democratic conventions haven’t mattered much. We need to make sure that this means something. And that means getting your representatives to sign on the dotted line and say that when these issues come up before Congress, you’re going to vote for them.

I think if it wasn’t for Bernie’s campaign, I don’t think that Hillary Clinton’s positions on some issues would be as progressive as they are. She’s publicly against the TPP. You know what, we need to make sure that in the lame duck session of Congress there’s not an attempt to bring it up.

We need to work together to make sure that all these values that we talked about here today, that we actually abide by them.

I talked about my first political experience with George McGovern. How he’s my gold standard. I think for a lot of people, Bernie Sanders is their gold standard. I think there are a number of Bernie Sanders supporters we’ll still need to persuade. We can’t just assume that everybody’s going to come on board.

I think that in the end we’re going to be successful because I think the choice in this election is so clear. I think we have to focus on issues that matter to people and we can’t ignore these voices.

Just because Hillary is the nominee doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with Bernie or Bernie supporters. If we talk about being united, that means it’s a two-way street. I need you and you need me and we’re going to have to work together.

I’m optimistic. As I said this morning, there are days when I wake up with a cold sweat and think about the possibility that a bigot like Donald Trump might be president. But I believe in the goodness of this country. That people won’t embrace that kind of bigotry. I really do believe that love trumps hate. I’m not going to take that for granted and I’m going to work like hell in the next few months.

Q: What did you see in Hillary early on that others may have missed?

A: I’ve known Hillary for 20 years and I’ve always thought of her as a trailblazer.

When I first got elected to Congress 20 years ago, I thought of her not only as the first First Lady I’ve worked with, but she was also one of the first major figures in Washington recognize the importance of early childcare.

She held the first White House conference on early childhood development. We’re so far behind so many other places in the world in terms of understanding that education begins at birth, not when you’re in kindergarten.

She was the first person to come out for universal healthcare. Before Obamacare there was Hillarycare. I think she laid the groundwork and I think she’s committed to universal healthcare. In the platform is this embrace of a public option and we gotta make sure we fight for that.

I also do a lot of work on hunger and food insecurity in the United States and around the world. When she was Secretary of State, right before she was sworn in, I met with her. What I thought was going to be a 10-minute meeting ended up being an hour-plus meeting in which I felt that she really cared and wanted to do something and she did.

She initiated this program called Feed the Future which is now feeding millions of people around the world and empowering small farmers and particularly women farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world, really making a difference. And to me, that’s America at it’s greatest.

We all talk about national security and I believe that championing issues like ending hunger and extreme poverty will do more to enhance national security than all the drones and all the bombs and military hardware that we send all over the world.

I like her. I respect her. I think she’s a good person. In elections, you gotta make choices. I’ve never been against Bernie, I’m just for Hillary. But I’m glad Bernie ran and I think that it not only moved our party in the direction it needs to go, I also think he energized a lot of young voters and made her a better candidate. I think she has a better chance of winning having gone through this primary.

Q: Is there any hope for the House?

A: I think we have a lot of seats in play in the House. Winning the House back is gone from an impossibility to a possibility. It’s still an uphill climb, but it’s possible and you’re hearing a lot of pundits say that. And I think we can win the Senate back. If we win the House and Senate back and we get Hillary as president, we’re going to be able to actually do some things. Not just in small, incremental ways, but in bigger ways.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

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HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!

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