The following is a full rough draft transcript of the speech that Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett intends to give on the boardwalk this evening as President Donald J. Trump prepares to take the state in Wildwood.
(Bennett is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in Congressional District 2):
“Good Afternoon my sisters, brothers, neighbors and all allies that have gathered with us today. Thank you for showing up and showing out to lift your collective voices. Today is so much bigger than any of us could possibly imagine. We will no longer accept being silenced. After being deeply betrayed by our Congressman Jeff Van Drew, he has the audacity to not only flaunt that deep rooted betrayal in our faces. He has brought Hate into our district to campaign with and for him.
“He has brought a president that seeks to divide the hard working families of this great district. He has brought a man that wreaked havoc on the livelihood of so many hard working people of this district with his failed casinos in Atlantic City. Today, United with neighbors and allies, we have a message for the Democrat turned Republican congressman Jeff Van Drew. Our message to you congressman is that HATE is NOT welcomed here in CD 2. Misogyny is NOT welcome here in CD 2, Racism and Homophobia is NOT welcome here Congressman. Denying women the right to govern their own bodies is not welcome here congressman. Turning some of your constituents into ‘other’ is not welcome here. You will NOT divide and conquer us with dog whistles and stereotypical accusations. We are here today to Stand UP for hard working families who are more concerned with earning a living wage, having access to good health care and feeding their families and living with dignity than we are with you winning the next election Congressman.
“It is privilege to have MLK III with us today, just 2 weeks ago at the AC Women’s March we remembered one of your father’s Soldiers sir. We honored and remembered Fannie Lou Hamer who came through Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City during the 1964 DNC and went before the Credentials Committee to get the Mississippi Freedom Party seated. The committee refused and said well maybe we’ll seat a couple of you. Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer said no, if you seat one of us you seat ALL of us. MLK, III your father once said, ‘We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.’ Today we send a message to Congressman Jeff Van Drew: if you will not defend those who put you in office Then WE the people will defend each other. You can call us names if you choose. If demanding that the working people of your district deserve access to quality health care is a radical idea, then label me a radical. If access to clean water and the right to earn a living wage is a far left progressive idea, then go ahead and label me a far out left progressive. If being willing to bring our community together to guarantee a future where children get a quality public education and we engage in meaningful dialogue with our neighbors even when we disagree is an out this world idea, then label me the out of the world Freeholder. If acknowledging that Climate Change is quite real in a district that suffers from its devastating effects and the fact that we as Americans are bearing witness to the dismantling of the greatest Democracy in the world makes me cuckoo for cocoa puffs, then I will need a big bowl for my cereal.
“There’s one thing I know for sure dear neighbors and assembled allies: The Power of the People shall always be GREATER than the People in Power.”