Murphy Rallies Florida Democrats to Defeat Trump, Pass Progressive Agenda

ORLANDO, FL — Governor Phil Murphy delivered an impassioned speech at the Florida Democratic Party’s 2019 Convention on Saturday in Orlando, calling on the state’s Democrats to rally together to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Serving as the keynote speaker at the convention’s General Session, Governor Murphy also spoke to the many key issues common to both the Garden State and the Sunshine State, from reducing gun violence to addressing climate change to expanding opportunities for the middle class and working families. 

“The most important political imperative for the Democratic Party and the country is ensuring that Donald Trump is defeated in 2020, and the simple fact is that Trump cannot win without Florida,” said Governor Murphy. “I want to thank Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo for her kind invitation to address the convention and applaud the hundreds of grassroots activists who attended the event and who are fighting hard every day to hold this President accountable and elect Democrats. I saw the same kind of energy recently at our own New Jersey Democratic State Committee Conference, and that passion for change is exactly what we need to win elections this year and in 2020.” 

Governor Murphy’s full prepared remarks are below: 

Good afternoon, and thank you all very much for that tremendous welcome.

Thank you, Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, for your introduction. 

You know, there is a misconception that, in politics, it’s all about who you know, not what you do. Terrie, for one, has turned that thinking on its head. She started at the grassroots as a volunteer.

She has helped water the grassroots as a precinct and county leader. And, it is this ground-up thinking and activism that is going to turn Florida blue once again.

And, to you and Executive Director Juan Peñalosa, I thank you for the invitation to be with you and to feel the enthusiasm you are building here in the Sunshine State.

I must recognize Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is working hard to keep the Republicans in the Cabinet honest in Tallahassee.

And, I must give a huge shout out to my dear friend Andrew Gillum, who I was so proud to support last year.

Now, I know we’re all disappointed that 2018 didn’t work out for Andrew as it should have. But I know we haven’t seen or heard the last of him. And, as I prepare to take over the leadership of the Democratic Governors Association in 2020 — in a year when 11 governorships are on the line — the leadership he continues to show, and his example, will move our entire party forward.

Let’s be perfectly clear about what the next 13 months are going to be like here in Florida.

We know the Republicans are going to do anything and everything to try to reclaim the two Congressional seats you all took back from them last year.

President Trump is going to make this ground-zero for his misinformation campaign for reelection. And, you know that he’s already enlisted Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, and many others who sold their souls to be his loyal deputies.

And, at every step of the way, they are going to deploy every disingenuous and insidious trick in the book — just as they did last year, and in 2016 — to disenfranchise and mislead voters.

There’s a very simple logic for this — we know, and they know, that Donald Trump cannot win without Florida. And when we take out Donald Trump, it’s only a matter of time before Rick Scott and Marco Rubio fall, too.

So, the calendar may still say 2019, but let’s make no mistake, it’s 2020. 

It’s 2020 now. And the long road back … not just for Florida, but for our nation … from the Trump-Scott-Rubio special interest agenda … from the lies … from the sheer incompetence and arrogance of this administration … starts in this room, it starts now, and it starts with all of us.

Now, I may live more than 1,000 miles away, but in so many ways the issues we care about are the same.

We all share in the knowledge that protecting the right of every American — whether they live in Florida, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, or elsewhere — to affordable and effective health care will be the defining issue of the next year.

We all also know that the only thing currently standing in the way of the utter destruction of the Affordable Care Act and our hopes of building upon its success is a Democratic majority in the House.

A Democratic president will end that threat for good.

We all share a concern for the direction of our environment and to taking on the very real and very immediate challenge of global climate change. 

In Florida and New Jersey we know the storms that our states will face because of warming oceans will be stronger and less predictable. We know a warming ocean will irreversibly impact our coasts, our inland waterways, our agricultural industries and our tourism, our native plants and animals, and the very future we will hand to our kids.

We all also share a growing reality that every attempt to disenfranchise our voters — attempts that all too often fall along racial lines — is a direct assault on the democratic process and on our democracy.

Before I was governor, I served proudly as a member of the national board of the NAACP. 

I cannot see, for the life of me, how the way the Republicans in Tallahassee are, with a straight face, claiming that the bureaucratic maze they created to stymie progress in the wake of the overwhelming passage of Amendment 4 is anything but racially motivated stonewalling.

More than five million Floridians — white, black, Latino, Asian, people of every background — said it was time to give nearly 1.5 million of their fellow residents the right to have a say in the future of this state you share.

Maybe someone forgot to remind the Republicans that the poll tax was outlawed in 1964.

In New Jersey we admire your leadership, and we’re committed to opening the doors of our democracy wide for the people our state. This is not about partisan politics, this is an issue of social justice. It’s about ensuring that everyone has a say in the future of their communities. It’s about common sense.

It’s about our common humanity and simple dignity.

And, we share a deep desire to protect our communities from the heartbreaking scourge of gun violence. In the days after the tragedy in Parkland, I got to know Fred Guttenberg, whose beautiful daughter, Jaime, was senselessly murdered.

And fight we have. I have proudly made New Jersey a national leader in the effort to stem gun violence. We’ve taken on the gun lobby — and won. We’ve passed the tough laws the Republican leaders in Congress, and the Republican politicians in Florida, are too afraid to pass, lest they disrupt their gun lobby money machine.

And, supporting us at every step has been Fred. He presented me with a picture of Jaime, and it sits proudly in my office in Trenton. I walk past it every morning. 

Seeing her picture inspires me to keep fighting. It steels my commitment to save one more family from the nightmare that Fred and his family, and so many others in Parkland, right here in Orlando, and across our nation, will never be able to wake up from.

We will win this fight. We will win it for every victim and survivor. We will win it for their families. And, we will win it together.

These are just three issues that speak not just to every Floridian, but to every New Jerseyan, and to every American. 

We can add so much more to this list. Securing core civil rights for our LGBTQ+ community comes to mind. Standing up for our immigrant families does too. 

Ours has always been the big tent. Yes, it can get raucous under our tent. We don’t always agree — but find me two people who do.  We share a common vision for a future — a future that we know is more secure and more fair when we work together.

As a party, we can’t be satisfied with only winning in the places where we can run up the score. The true measure of our party is how well we grow and make inroads in traditionally “red” places. I come from the school that you fight for every vote wherever it may be. And you must reach out to those voters who share your values but who otherwise may not realize they have a real choice.

You proved it last year by bringing 1.2 million more voters to vote for Andrew than had voted for the Democratic candidate for governor in 2014.

You proved it through Nikki’s win.

And you proved it by flipping two House seats. We proved it New Jersey by flipping four, but I’m not one to brag.

But this is the thing. You know it’s not enough to only speak only to the voters in Palm Beach, or Miami Dade, when there are voters in the Panhandle or the southern Gulf Coast who want the very same things for their children and families and communities as we do, but just haven’t heard our voices.

Because of your commitment, from Terrie on down to that certain volunteer walking door-to-door for the very first time, you’re going to make sure they are no longer left out of our tent.

Please allow me to share one more insight.

In New Jersey we’re building a stronger and fairer state that works for everyone.

There can be no false choice — it’s stronger and fairer, not stronger or fairer. 

Stronger, with an economy that’s growing and doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Fairer, by closing the income inequality gap, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, providing a better minimum wage, and strengthening public schools to give every child a shot at a brighter future.

It’s this obvious, you don’t make social progress without economic progress, and vice versa, you don’t make economic progress without social progress.

I am an unapologetic capitalist. But, the price we pay for the unlimited upside of the American Dream should not be in an unlimited downside for those who are struggling to realize their dreams.

In New Jersey our successes are proving that you can grow our economy and make progress for working families. In Florida, with Democrats leading the way, that can be your success story too,

Donald Trump’s disastrous presidency has put America on a perilous path.  

It’s time we get back on course. It’s time we reclaim the values that truly made our country great and which will again.

I think back to when I was 10 years old…our family didn’t have much, but my parents knew that if I worked hard, I could have a better life than they did. I thank God I did — but I do not believe that a 10 year old in Florida or New Jersey today, growing up in a family hanging on by their fingertips, is being given that same chance.

Our job is to give them that chance once again.

I am an optimist. The silver lining of what happened in November 2016 is that there is a new fire and a new fervor among our party — and we see it in the numbers and feel it in the enthusiasm here today. 

And if we do this right, and do this together, we can harness this energy and do great things for our communities, today and every single day leading up to next November 3.

2020 starts here. It starts now. And, it starts with every single one of us.

Thank you!

For any additional information contact Philip Swibinski at 201-864-0600 or