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Transcript of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's remarks at the Democratic National Convention

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 10:18 p.m. MDT

"And it starts with education. Twenty years ago, Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn't help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn't one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.

"In my city of San Antonio, we get that. So we're working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can't be pro-business unless you're pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren't charity. They're a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We're investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.

"And it's paying off. Last year the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the nation's top performing local economy. And we're only getting started. Opportunity today, prosperity tomorrow.

"Now, like many of you, I watched last week's Republican convention. They told a few stories of individual success. We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.

"Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. 'Start a business,' he said. But how? 'Borrow money if you have to from your parents,' he told them. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it.

"We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that's exactly what they're promising us.

"The Romney-Ryan budget doesn't just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training.

"It doesn't just pummel the middle class — it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, 'No.' When it comes to respecting women's rights, Mitt Romney says, 'No.' When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, 'No.' When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, 'No.'

"Actually, Mitt Romney said, 'Yes,' and now he says, 'No.' Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain't pretty. So here's what we're going to say to Mitt Romney. We're going to say, 'No.'

"Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead. We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.

"Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will too. Folks, we've heard that before. First they called it 'trickle-down.' Then 'supply-side.' Now it's 'Romney-Ryan.' Or is it 'Ryan-Romney'? Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price.

"Mitt Romney just doesn't get it. But Barack Obama gets it. He understands that when we invest in people we're investing in our shared prosperity. And when we neglect that responsibility, we risk our promise as a nation. Just a few years ago, families that had never asked for anything found themselves at risk of losing everything. And the dream my grandmother held, that work would be rewarded, that the middle class would be there, if not for her, then for her children — that dream was being crushed.

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