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WATCH: ABC News’ Democratic debate kicks off

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WATCH: ABC News’ Democratic debate kicks off

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WATCH: ABC News’ Democratic debate kicks off

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Transcript for ABC News’ Democratic debate kicks off

Everyone please welcome the president of ABC news’ James Gholston and I. Good evening everyone I’m thank you pulled straight. Pam am while consider Texas southern University City. And he. You can freely and it’s in this drama. Historic night tonight at on time scolds them and president of ABC news. Pat we are thrilled to welcome all of you. He and to join Univision and the DNC tonight to present. This democratic presidential debates am I’d like to start by thanking don’t Austen Lane. And the entire entertainment TSE. Time. And all of the students there feel great hospitality so intense tacit these policy Reese had a great time hand. I am. So just like some Bradley fellow Ohio as a nation grapples. With issues ranging from the economy to health care. Bryson justice. An immigration and and gun violence. I am. There are more than 3000. People in this whole tonight we can he rules. Had their millions launching a hunger across the common trait. A million small. Strain in this debate around the world I am and we had all led to host such consequential event in the run up to election guide. As I tonight. We have the great privilege of hearing from the ten leading democratic candidates. On the site installation the first time and helping the American people. Make informed decisions of the polls and we look in full to life police informative and insightful debate. I am so let’s get stuff today. Pat with a message from some on all of you here at CS do you know well. IBC’s and I’m Michael Strahan knew his trial had. Everybody I’m sorry I can’t be there but. But it won’t let you guys know how prod proud I am to be AT SU tiger you have to have some. The university gave me a chance offered me a scholarship. If you only scholarship I was actually offered by the way in the university took care of me. And maybe the person I am today sole key issue you joining the illustrious list of institutions but I don’t hold the president to debate. And I got to say university we know something about debates past two years he won eight BCU national speech and debate trophy will be cool. That’s right. I’m so honored or proud to be a part of the issue is rich history to please join me and local mean key issues president doctor Austen Lane. Go tigers. Have to. Good evening. Good evening we transform this place this is a great scene great scene on behalf of our students. Our faculty staff or board of regents on alumni across the glow welcome to the heart and soul of Houston. Beat Texas southern unit. We are beyond thrilled to serve as the host this historic you vet. One that adds to the incredible legacy of this 92 year old institution. As much as I’d like to talk about the issues rich history which includes the likes of Barbara Jordan. A. Mickey Leland. And our very own is not volunteers used line is Michael Strahan would they be city. But. What talk a little bit about the future and how tier issue is positioned to help shape that future. Many people don’t realize it the issue was designated by the legislature. As they special purpose institution. Urban programming. And today our diverse degree programs reflect that purpose and we are preparing our students for careers that will change the world. In the decades to come. For instance or Department of Transportation. It’s a great program that we have a directly links with metro and autonomous vehicle. One of the first universities actually launch that on our campus and it goes up and down on historic tiger walk to great. Great great thing that we have the research they’re taking place there is phenomenal. I want to talk a little bit about. The college of pharmacy and health sciences. Our students their and faculty are conducting groundbreaking preclinical drug research. To fight against cancer. Thanks so while the largest public grants it to the issue has ever received that’s a big deal for runs great doubt promising. Last November a TSU celebrated the success of almost two dozen judges including. God. Including eight. Female African Americans who were newly elected right here in hands counting. All of home are graduates of our Thurgood Marshall school Malone. And a lot of knoller and four great debate tonight on this stage food right here tears do we are home to one of the most celebrated. Award winning university debate teams. One that consistently wins national and international honors we’re so proud of them. So as the largest historically black college and university and Texas. In the second largest say to you in the United States. Right. Tissue ranks high on the number of degrees awarded to African Americans across a wide range of programs. At the same time we are seeing a vibrant growing diversity within our student population. Not only across racial lines but across the globe as students from countries around the world. Seek T yes you as their education choice. So does no surprise that the issue was chosen the hostess prestigious event. Indeed our students are faculty staff and alumni Reppas and any future. The future that is shaped by our historic beginnings. In a future that is on limited in this potential. So thanks to each and every one of view for coming out tonight and go tigers. We’re fortunate to have great partnerships miert since we’re on the heart and soul of Houston I want to introduce you to our mayor Sylvester turner a big round ball. Okay. Okay. Hello and I’m mayors of us to turn. Okay. Let me welcome everyone to Houston Tex is the nation’s most diverse city. In the United States of America. Where wine and four residents is foreign born. And more than a high dividend body languages are spoken right here in Houston. We are melting pot of global family and we a bed of laureate because of our diversity. If I owned it and this city president LBJ taught school here. Mickey Leland and Barbara jardin to a bowl one in and they braves right here in this prom in his city. And Jess last year lack congress sick time zip yet Garcia. Was either. Elected as want to know that came out right here in the state of Texas. Jaw tighten. Leland and Garcia. Among many other great Americans also graduated odd Todd right he at Texas Southern University. Where we are tonight. And we I was so proud to be right here and the heart. Up Houston Texas right here and that’s right as we referred to third war. Visit they very diverse student body right here at Texas southern. With a professional staff that equal as any place any place in the United States of America. And we are so proud to be on the campus of deck this the university but this debate. We have the energy capital of the world the home of the lodges medical center in the world. And the Prado. And the greater love that man made space set up right here in Houston Texas. We take up big challenges. Climate change and disaster recovery challenged both what Candace straight and infrastructure. But over the last two years we are committed to rebuilding I was city stronger and more resilient and more sustainable. When I became mayor I said I did not want to be the mayor of two cities that have been have nots and then I was sitting. We have focused no lifting every neighborhood. And through complete community’s part equity for all we I helping each one and all about what you. To buy a pap but the future of up you do they rightfully deserved. And finally we know that we cannot let our diversity divide us we reckon that diversity is outlets strip. We’re also inclusive. And we cities that build relationships. And not walls. The in. Or a. We don’t care if we don’t care what you come from we want to know how you can help move this city forward. We are boldly moving this city until the future because we are Houston Texas if you can drink. You can achieve it right here in I was city and so we say tonight. In July this debate you I in Houston Texas have you want to know whether this country is going to when he won it five years from now. Look right media at this city abuse them. Boom and next. Next. Next please. Those days tonight picked Chad up at Texas democratic body none other than get right pedal boats. Thank you mr. mayor. Yemeni loves. I love — a few the Houston Texas. Welcome to Houston in the deep blue colony of Harris county and yeah. He bit futile war plan. I am the proud chair. Of the Texas Democratic Party and we are the biggest battleground. State in the country. That is why we are hosting this democratic debate. Each and every one of you all are part of the historic change that is happening right here in Texas. And changes come in changes common. Because it passed to come because those dates still mourns. The lives lost. In El Paso and made little bits up. Change is coming because Republicans would yeah have you believe. At gun violence is inevitable. We all know that it is not. Republican. Republic. All of today. To pass laws that would stop the shooting the killing and the mainly tomorrow. But they refused to listen to anybody except for the NRA. Drew admitted families. Do not have access to couldn’t predict critical health care. We believe as Democrats that health care the fundamental human right and not a privilege only for those who came out of we cannot. And changes coming. Because we cannot allow. Donald Trump. To continue to pare Fram leagues apart. If they could make. To lock up our children in cages. To treat them like prisoners just because. Just because there are fleeing for bylines. Changes coming. Because America is better than that. Camilo. We are demanding change. There is a saying in Spanish that growth. Nor may they are not up. Not a month long government Bowen AI. And in east Texas we say. What the jelly jar in the lower shelves with a little people can get to it. We all. All our families deserve a fair trial today. Texas in Texas many families fear for their future. For their loved ones and for the lives for their lives. Democrats are fighting to change all of that. We believe that in this great country we are here to help our neighbors we welcome. We embrace. And we overcome. When god. Put us in this world. She. Gave with the charge. Chief that. That when you leave this world. Leave it better than what it was when you came to it well we have to do that. Texas Democrats. Texas. Is the biggest battleground state in the country we are ready for 20/20. Let’s take back the Texas house. Let’s send more Democrats to congress. Let’s picked out. John Florida. Our moment. This is our opportunity Texas Dudley are depending upon us and we will succeed. When other parts of Texas democratize. Good night. And remove. Let me bring up. The chair of the Democratic National Committee our friend America’s friend. Chairman Tom minutes. Evening Democrats. Thank you know mayor Jan thank you Brad Osgood now a Mr. President thank you for your hospitality I love this university. Be our lives it’s great to be here in the aunt Greta. Host city of Houston that one of our nation’s pre evidence. HBC news I want it. Moving forward. If this great university. This remarkable place and I want SAS special thanks to our members of congress who are here. You know all the graduates Barbara Jordan and others who have been here but we also have our members of congress. My friend Al Green graduate. This great. S special thanks. Two loads Sheila Jackson Lee. Thank you so much. Congresswoman Jackson leave for all you’ve done I’d like to ask all the members of congress. To standout who are here tonight I want to thank all of them who are here. Please stand. And we’ll. Will be glad to four really be that she had better luck at all. Joaquin Castro. And Henrik well out. Thank you what you’re doing if there are other members of congress do you think you as well through what you’re doing. Thank you for delivering floor America in the United States House of Representatives thank you for holding this president. That it palatable. It’s great to be in this battleground stated let me reiterate this entire day. Around my friend. Don’t take my word for it look at the numbers. Democrats made huge gains here in 28 Jane. Flipping to congressional seats electing the first to let dean has to represent Texas. Well planned out seats to states senate seats. We shattered democratic mid term turnout record. He meant in. Those deep red district. 800000. More Latinos voted in 28 scene then into money poured teen nearly double. Remember my friends. The latest robot though this blessed are those. Right here in Harris County under the able leadership of your remarkable party chair we made record breaking gains in voter participation. It’s one. 2018. In fact one to eighteen was up. The first time in history that more than one million Harris County voters cast a mid term ballot. I’ve ever. After a few years ago when I was suing taxes left and right from the civil rights division did you a world full employment act for civil rights lawyers. People are count not Texas Democrats. Now thanks to the leadership but Democrats like feel bad billion about self and others we are on the verge of taking back the majority. Nine seats folks nine seats is what we have to went and. Her redistricting. So our progress is unmistakable. And the pathway forward is equally unmistakable. When we invest in every year. Every county we will continue to make progress in turn Texas blue and into money too money we have even more opportunities. John Cornyn has a lower approval rating then Ted Cruz. That deep bench of candidates. As you know. You know the few years ago this is a true story there was a poll that said that congress was the last popular. Then traffic jams and root canals. I’ve been asked many. Died Conan is worsening debt and stuck in the traffic jam on the federal root canal. There’s no reason why we’re CN this massive tax at this Republicans. Why and is there at this time accidents you know why. Because they no longer want to defend the indefensible. They understand. We are indeed Adam laurel fork in the road. Everything we care about is that state just look at the issue. Of gun violence. But no one knows this dark reality. Better than the victims and their families. Who are here tonight could you raise your hand if you are here tonight. The victim or family member who’s experienced gun violence thank you everyone for your courage. Thank you for speaking out thank you we will never forget you we will keep fighting for you this is an epidemic in this country. It’s taking lives shattering family sharing communities across this country. Including as you well know right here in Texas. We have reached a point where we talk about last month’s last mass shooting in Texas and the question you gotta ask. Is which one. El Paso or Odessa Midland. When we talk about. When we talk about the mass shooting in Aurora. We must now ask the question. Aurora Colorado. Or Aurora Illinois. When we talk about the mass shooting in Orlando. We have to ask the question. What’s one. The 12016. Or the 12070. Gun deaths have reached their highest point in nearly half a century. In fact Americans are now more likely to be killed by guns than in car accidents. That is unconscionable. And yet that after the most recent match shooting here this Republican governor of this state. Loosen the gun laws in Texas he wants more guns in schools and homes and places aboard ship. Governor Abbott shame on you. That’s disgraceful. Speaker Pelosi. Congresswoman Jackson Lee and all of our other congress members thank you are doing your job on gunfire. And to Moscow next but don’t act it’s time to do your job. They’re sitting on your desk the NRA and Mitch McConnell want us to give up and shut up. But we will not give up and we will never shut out. We’ll never be silence and we will vote out anyone who stands in our way it won’t. Violence is not the only issue where this president’s inaction. It’s costing us lives. This president has every use them in the book. But you Philadelphia’s. He’s comically. Ineffective. Everything he touches he makes worse. He makes matters worse on health care he made matters worse on the empire. Airman on the economy on foreign policy. Maybe he ought to stop tweeting and start working. Frequently a major hurricane was headed toward the East Coast and Donald drop wireless. And that made me think about frankly what happened right here in Texas roughly two years ago. And it made me think officials go and let us. A paramedic. A dreamer. Who worked nonstop for six days in the wake of hurricane hardy to save. American lives. He was brought here when he was just six years old. That made me think. Along so these again. A dreamer who made the ultimate sacrifice trying to rescue people here in Houston. Alone still deals that India. And folks it reminded me that for every horrific act of this president. There are thousands. Of helpers. On the darkest nights you see the brightest stars these helpers looking up at their neighbors. They are what’s best about America and they make me. Chronically optimistic about our future folks we have the most dangerous president in American history but I come do you would unrelenting optimism. You know what makes me so optimistic. Our incredible field of candidates for president the most of. Her steal the American history we have a plot cooked up a penny. That united saw. Every single. Candidate on this stage was to make sure that we have access to affordable healthcare for all not just the wealthy do they know that if you have more than one is that what the ten million people with a preexisting condition. Ought to be held to keep your health care they understand that the secretary of education I don’t believe in public education but he understands that. After six weeks they understand that our immigrant tradition did our best tradition. They understand the climate change is real they understand that that we do want to release to us we do want honest that’s what. Our candidates stand for those are values and I am so proud to be here tonight with you and I hope you’ll join us tonight with these candidates where they. I will share their. Now he’s with you and we will go. And thank you are not. A and students didn’t. Performed by TSU student Gabriela Lindsay. Me. And you lose C. Me a. Wards so. We are. And that’s long. Ask being mean. Whose goods to name’s Sandra. This. Moon. A snag. Rule either. I absolutely mind. Moose so again. I’m staying and seeing me and yeah. Man up. Grew Steve. A game and school oh. This man. Wu then a and I.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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