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Democrats Cast Wide for Response to Trump Address

Kentucky governor, immigration activist frame minority party debate

Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to the president's address to Congress Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to the president's address to Congress Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday and immigration activist Astrid Silva will deliver the Spanish language response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday.

Beshear, Kentucky’s governor from 2007 to 2015, presided over one of the 2010 health care law’s successes as he implemented the law smoothly, a marked contrast to the debacle of the roll out. During his tenure, Beshear expanded affordable health care access by expanding Medicaid and shepherding the insurance exchanges on the state’s own health website. His administration is credited with lowering the state’s uninsured rate from more than 20 percent to 7.5 percent.

At a time when Democrats are trying to drum up all the positive attention for the law that they can to fight against Republicans’ plans to repeal it, Beshear is a logical choice to deliver their party’s response to Trump.

“American families desperately need our president to put his full attention on creating opportunity and good-paying jobs and preserving their right to affordable health care and a quality education,” Beshear said in a statement. “Real leaders don’t spread derision and division — they build partnerships and offer solutions instead of ideology and blame.”

Silva is an immigrant whose family moved from Mexico to Nevada when she was five years old. She came to the United States undocumented but a chance encounter with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2009 led her to become a leading advocate for passage of the DREAM Act, legislation to grant legal status for children of undocumented immigrations that has failed to advance through Congress.

Astrid Silva of Nevada, pictured with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, will deliver the Spanish language response to Trump's address. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Silva, pictured with Reid, will deliver the Spanish language response to Trump’s address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Later. Silva went on to help form DREAM Big Vegas, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about issues facing DREAMers and their families. Silva’s relationship with Reid led to a lot of local and national attention for her work. She was one of the headline speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this past summer.

The Spanish language response to presidential addresses typically focuses on immigration, but the topic is especially relevant now with Trump having campaigned on building a border wall and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.

“President Trump would have people believe that all immigrants are criminals and that refugees are terrorists,” Silva said. “But like my family, the vast majority of immigrants and refugees came to this country escaping poverty and conflict, looking for a better life and the opportunity to reach the American Dream. … It is more important than ever that we show the American people the real faces of immigrants and that we push back on President Trump and Republicans’ plan and vision for America.”

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