Vice President Joe Biden was in Cincinnati Thursday morning to deliver remarks to the National Urban League’s Annual Conference held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati through Sunday. The vice president arrived Wednesday evening following a speech he delivered in Las Vegas, Nevada, the day before to the NACCP National Convention and at a rally for Congressional candidate Erin Bilbray .
Vice President Biden delivered remarks to an audience hungry for his message: Let’s invest in infrastructure and a skilled workforce. Always a little quirky and maybe a little unscripted. the silver-haired former Senator and possible candidate for president in 2016 made the audience laugh and he made them think, as he told them voting rights are under attack, and painted a bright picture of good-paying jobs that can be created if only American understands the importance, value and benefit from paying for and building infrastructure, which America need to stay competitive.
And for African-Americans, who dominated those attending the conference in Cincinnati this week, good paying jobs have been hard to come by for decades. In the 1960s, the poverty rate for African-Americans was just under 42 percent, he noted, as he then proceeded to list various modern day professions and the salaries they pay that families can live and grow on.
He reminded those in attendance this morning that in 2014, 83 attempts to limit access to the ballot in 29 states should be a warning that what used to be bipartisan issues—especially voting rights—no longer is. He called the ruse of voter fraud just that, a fiction that persists. He shared the good news that 54 percent of American companies who have manufacturing operations in China have either moved those jobs back onshore or are thinking about “insourcing” them. “They are coming back home,” he said to an audience of several thousand who came from different states to attend this week’s conference.
Engineers, Vice President Biden, noted, say it will take about $3.6 trillion between now and 2020 to update America’s aging infrastructure. One billion dollars, he said, translates into about 30,000 middle class jobs, 14 percent of which will be captured by African-Americans. And to do these jobs and others, American needs a skilled workforce. Products and service made and delivered just five years ago, he said, now need a new set of skills to produce them. Even if robots are used, someone needs the training to program the robots. From IT jobs to health service jobs to traditional vocations like electricians, plumbers and welders, Americans need to step up their game to show the world the best workforce in the world lives here.
“Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck,” Biden said his father always told him. “It’s about a place in the community, a sense of who you are.” For the vice president, “It’s all about dignity.”
“I can do that,” he said, should be what American workers tell themselves about the jobs of this century. If kids can make their smart phones sing, he said, they can learn new skills, too.
He concluded his remarks, saying, “The American people are not divided. Our political system is broken and that’s what’s divided us.”
State Senator Nina Turner, the endorsed Democrat running to unseat incumbent Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, gave the keynote address at the National Council of Urban League Guild’s Leadership Luncheon. Sen. Turner will encourage attendees to continue their important work toward making American a more equitable nation, with an emphasis on ensuring access to the ballot and increased economic opportunity, advance guidance said.
For her work in advocating for voting rights and social justice, Senator Turner will receive the “Women of Power” Award at a ceremony hosted by CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller during the conference on Saturday. The awards are presented to influential women in the civil rights, government, entertainment, journalism, sports and corporate sectors.Vice President Joe Biden was in Cincinnati Thursday morning to deliver remarks to the National Urban League’s Annual Conference held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati through Sunday.
Exclusive videos from the event are included below.