Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Rally and Unity March at the Spokane Convention Center Monday.
McMorris-Rodgers called for unity following a "tense election cycle."
"There are a lot of people who don’t want unity. I have challenged my staff to step up and change the culture on capitol hill so that we can be part of the healing process," the congresswoman said.
Her speech was interrupted near the end by people chanting "Save our health care," some booing the congresswoman, drowning out the end of her speech.
Eastern Washington University student Brad Brown tweeted out video of that moment.
On Tuesday, McMorris Rodgers Press Secretary released the follow statement:
“The Martin Luther King Jr., Day Rally and Unity March was about unifying around the core values that we, as Americans, all share, which is why the Congresswoman was honored to be invited to speak and share her thoughts on unity. The Congresswoman looks forward to keeping the lines of communication open when discussing how to ensure a smooth and stable transition out of Obamacare to put in place a 21st Century health care system.”
The text of McMorris-Rodgers' full speech in Spokane can be found below:
Thank you, all, for being here today. I’m honored to join you as an advocate and as a friend. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a moment for us to reflect on a man who changed the course of history. MLK taught us to dream of a better tomorrow, to respect our neighbors, and to love one another, and his legacy has been on my heart, especially coming out of such a tense election cycle. I’ve been a lot of thinking lately about everything that is going on in our country. The word I keep coming back to is “unity.” With such a tense election cycle, it’s been on my heart how divided we are as a nation, and how as a nation, we can heal.
You know, I look at how far our nation has come and all the things we have accomplished. The other day I got into an elevator and said “good morning” to the man next me, and he smiled and said, “God is good!” And I said, “Amen!” Because you know what– we have so much to be thankful for; God is good, and we are blessed.
And sometimes, it’s easy to forget how lucky we are to be here and that we are here for a reason– a purpose. I think if we woke up every morning and challenged ourselves to say “This day is going to be a good day” and believed in our hearts that everyone is doing the best they can at that moment in time then we would finally be a country that could heal. One that could be considered a great nation, and a benevolent one.
And I believe that unity and healing — must first start within. Now… that’s a pretty tall order, and especially for me… well…working in politics can be tough. There are a lot of people who don’t want unity. I have challenged my staff to step up and change the culture on capitol hill so that we can be part of the healing process.
We have this system of values called SERVE. Our motto is, “Have Fun While We SERVE,” and SERVE stands for:
Responsibly Own It
These are our values, so that we have fun while we SERVE. And at our all staff meetings every week, we talk about how we are living these values. Because, when it comes down to changing the culture, it’s really up to us. It’s our neighborhoods, our blocks, our communities. Every man, woman, and child in this country should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter their background or walk of life. Unfortunately, more needs to be done to address racial division in America. We may not always agree with one another, but we can all come together and find common ground to create change and progress here in Eastern Washington. We can pledge to be better neighbors and to build up our communities when anger and fear threaten to divide us and tear us down. It’s all up to us. I know that as your elected official– and advocate–and friend– I am up to the challenge of changing the culture, and that everyday, and especially today, I have written it on my heart that I will work to unify our country and especially our communities here in Eastern Washington.
Which reminds me of a quote: “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.” Our core beliefs are what unite us and help us travel far. So thank you for being here. I am thankful for all of you–for your leadership, your thoughtfulness, your passion, and your vision and your courage to make every day a good day– one where we are living our values that we want to see take hold. The man in the elevator was right: God is good. Thank you.