Cedar Rapids flood victim speaks at DNC in Denver

Katherine Marcano, a young woman from Cedar Rapids, was given a speaking slot this evening at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  The text of her remarks are below. Here’s a bit more about Marcano:  she was among a group of flood victims who met with Barack Obama on July 31, 2008 when Obama visited Cedar Rapids.  This is the first Radio Iowa story. (The story features a picture of Marcano speaking with Obama.)  This is a longer story, about the angst of the flood victims who met with Obama. At the bottom is an mp3 of the first half hour of the conversation where Marcano talks more specifically about her experience in June and July.

Katherine Marcano’s Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

"I am here today because I dared to believe, to hope, against all the odds. It’s not easy growing up in poverty; it’s not easy going to bed hungry or going to school with inappropriate shoes. It’s not easy having to hold more than one job, just to make ends meet. It’s not easy not having access to health care when you need it.

"This is the greatest country in the world. Yet people like me and my younger sister Barbara are going through real hard times. Barbara has cerebral palsy and is developmentally disabled and in a wheelchair. I took her under my wing because my mother has heart problems and is physically unable to take care of my sister’s needs. Now, I go to school and work nights at a company that cares about me.

"But it’s still hard when I have to take my sister Barbara to school, to her medical appointments and I have to fight for the services and resources she needs. I am determined to do well and get a degree and a different pay grade so I can live a better life and provide for my family. But I am tired and overwhelmed, stuck in a system that tells me there is not enough funding for disabled kids like my sister. I am told we have to wait, we have to be patient. But I am running out of patience. And I am done waiting.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a change. It’s time to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Barack Obama understands the needs of real families like mine. He understands that access to health care isn’t a luxury for the few, but a necessity for all of us. He understands that higher education isn’t just for the privileged few, but also for people like me who are fighting to get ahead.

"Under President Obama, we’ll have tax cuts for working families and an increase in the minimum wage. We’ll have bankruptcy protections for families who are hit with unexpected medical bills. We’ll have a credit card bill of rights for consumers, so credit card companies can’t raise interest rates without notice. And we’ll reward companies for keeping jobs here in America, not for shipping them overseas.

"Barack Obama understands that we all have a stake in each other. That our whole country moves ahead when we all move ahead together. I ask each and every one of you: see Barack Obama with my eyes. Feel him with my heart. And support Barack Obama for President of the United States for the change we need."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.