San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and local union leaders to celebrate the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law and what it will mean for the San Francisco Bay Area. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Larry. I accept your kind words on behalf of all of the House Democrats, whose courage and determination made the passage of this legislation possible.
Personally, I’m so honored to be here at the Joe Mazzola Training Center. I knew your grandfather. He was one of the first people who endorsed me when I ran for Congress 34 years ago –
– leading the Building Trades in my support. So I, every time I come here, I think of him. And I worked with your father, Larry Mazzola, for many years – and thank him for his leadership. And now, to see you, Larry Mazzola, Jr. and Steve Mazzola, here carrying on that tradition for working families in our country. Thank you for your leadership of this union, but also for what you do for families. And that’s what it’s all about.
I’m pleased to be here also with Rudy Gonzalez, the Secretary-Treasurer of San Francisco Building Trades, Rudy Gonzalez. And again, we have a very special guest here today, Meg-Anne Pryor – and I’ll introduce her later, but she’s an Apprenticeship Coordinator of the Operating Engineers, Local 3, Meg-Anne. She’s our real VIP today, but I’m sure my colleagues will agree.
But, I’m very honored that we [have] so many of the people who made this legislation possible here with us today. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo from San Mateo – well, more than San Mateo County.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, whom I have the honor of representing San Francisco with.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, right from across the bridge.
And Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, who is on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
So, he was really very much there in the shaping of all of this.
This is about good-paying jobs for America’s working families. It’s about clean air, clean water for our children. It’s about quality of life improvement for families, so they don’t have to spend so much time on the road because of the investments in mass transit, the investments in roads and bridges to make them safer and to facilitate, facilitate transportation. For moving people from home, to work, to school. For moving products to market in a much more efficient way, especially in our agricultural community, which is so important in California.
The list goes on and on. And it’s really – has some good things about saving the planet. We do much more in our next – the bill we just passed the other day, in the reconciliation. But, this is a running start on not only our hopes riding on what’s in the bill in mass transit and the rest, but also the running start that is to protect the planet.
It’s a tribute to President Biden. It was his vision. He came in with this big vision, and he accomplished this much over a trillion dollars working in a bipartisan fashion. But, he did say: ‘I will not confine my vision for America to this one bill.’ And hence, we have the legislation that he signed last week, last Monday, but also the reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better.
Now, what’s exciting about that – I’ll make this point before I yield to Congresswoman Eshoo – and that is that in that legislation, we Build Back Better because it’s about equity. Both of these are about fairness and equity and justice in how we build our infrastructure in our country. No longer will we be separating neighborhoods, but unifying them. No longer will women and people of color be cut out of what happens next because this leg – legislation facilitates of. So, it’s Building Back Better because it’s building back in a more unifying way, more just – and again, honoring [the] vision of President Biden. He deserves so much credit for both of these legislations on top of the Rescue package that we passed earlier in the year.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Eshoo, for setting the stage for us and giving us an idea of the magnitude of what this means to California, to the San Francisco Bay Area.
As we proceed – and before we hear from our other colleagues, I want to, as I said, introduce our very special person here today. Our VIP. I’m pleased to yield to Meg-Anne Pryor to speak about the infrastructure investments and what it means to America’s working families. She’s a trailblazer. She’s the first Black woman District Apprentice Coordinator of Operating Engineers in Local 3 Union history.
And, that’s an applause line.
She has been personally effective in helping connect hundreds of workers to jobs and opportunity, to sharing her experience with others. And, she understands the power of apprenticeship. Daughter of Bayview, who worked there as an apprenticeship and a journey woman. We saw the apprenticeship program here at the Joe Mazzola Training Center. We’ll hear from Meg-Anne Pryor as to her experience. We’re so proud of you, Meg-Anne. Thank you for joining us today. We’re honored by your presence.
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Thank you very much, Meg-Anne. I can reference family, and I see Harrison for the cheering session here, and my granddaughter is here, and Rudy’s daughter is here. With us is Zoe. Zoe is here. And Bella – where is Bella? Bella is there. And, Harrison is here. Again, about family and the next generation.
And, what’s exciting about what we’re doing with the two bills is to enable women and dads, moms and dads, to be in the workforce, with our universal pre-K and child care, home health care and like that. It’s going to have many more women and women of color in the workforce. We’re very, very proud of that.
And now, you’re going to hear, in a very special way, from three of our other Members: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. They will come to the podium. I will say: they’re all absolute leaders in the Congress of the United States. But, in the interest of time, I want you to hear from them. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of the East Bay.
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That’s why the President calls this bill the ‘Blue Collar Workers’ Bill.’
And, it’s now my honor and privilege to introduce the leader of many of the blue collar workers in our community. Rudy Gonzalez was acknowledged earlier. Rudy is the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building Trades Council. Formerly, he was head of San Francisco Labor Council, so we’ve worked together for many years. I’m particularly honored that he brought Zoe today as we prepare for the future. Again, with Bella, her mom Christine and Harrison – a family affair – Whitney, and, and just thanking you and Meg-Anne for showing us the future.
With that, Mr. President, Rudy Gonzalez –
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Alexa, Harrison, Zoe, Bella – come up here for a photo for the future, and – the future-future.
What the distinguished Secretary-Treasurer said about the PRO Act is very important, because the right to collective bargaining is essential to respecting our workforce in our country. In addition to that, though, I want to acknowledge that in the Rescue package – the first bill that was passed and signed, in March, by President Biden, the Rescue package – that bill had their pension plan, the pension legislation in there, to honor the work, the lifetime work of our, of our workers.
So, we’ve had a very pro-union agenda, because that is pro-American. We do believe that the middle class is the backbone of our democracy, and that the middle class has a union label on it in our country.
I just want to say one more thing to Steve and to Larry Jr., and that is: in this bill, there’s something about the children that is so important. It’s getting the lead out of the pipes. And that has caused such a problem for children, their ability to learn and grow and the rest.
And this is – for us, it was not just an issue, it was a moral responsibility. And it is something that you all now are going to be able to correct so much because of the resources that are in the legislation. Get the lead out For The Children.
With that – alright, Harrison!
So with that, on this subject, we’d like to take some questions if you have some questions on this subject? Okay, well, thank you all very much. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
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