Pregnant Minnesota Labor Party Candidate Gives Convention Speech While in Labor

Minnesota State Senate candidate Erin Maye Quade gave a speech while in active labor during the Senate District 57 Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) convention to decide party endorsements on April 23.

Video filmed by Karrah Marie Cheruiyot shows Maye Quade’s speech on Saturday, during which she paused due to contractions. Her opponent, Justin Emmerich, had won the coin flip and spoke first. This provoked outrage from Cheruiyot, who admonished Emmerich at the end of Maye Quade’s speech for not letting her go first.

Maye Quade left the event in Rosemount, Minnesota, after she lost the first round of voting and was taken to an area hospital, Fox 9 reported.

Emmerich, the party, and event organizers drew criticism online from those who said the convention should have been postponed and Maye Quade given accommodations.

According to the Senate District 57 DFL Party, Maye Quade requested to withdraw on April 23 and Emmerich went on to win the DFL endorsement.

Senate District 57 DFL said in a statement on Facebook: “Going into our convention on April 23, we learned that Erin Maye Quade was in labor but wanted to be present and move forward with the endorsement process that day …. Erin asked that we move the Senate endorsement as early in the convention process as possible, which was acceptable to everyone in that meeting.”

The statement also said: “When Erin ultimately requested to withdraw from the endorsement process, we did not second-guess her decision. Plus, for reasons of fairness, DFL convention chairs cannot unilaterally close or delay the endorsement process. If a delegate had wanted to postpone the endorsement, they could have made a motion for postponement, which the convention would have then voted on. No such motion was made.”

According to a statement obtained by Fox 9, Emmerich congratulated Maye Quade and her wife on their child, said he had agreed to all accommodations, and said that he “would have agreed” to “suspend the convention in order to hold it at a later date” if there had been a formal request.

Storyful has reached out to both Erin Maye Quade and Justin Emmerich for statements on the matter. Credit: Karrah Marie Cheruiyot via Storyful

Video transcript

ERIN MAYE QUADE: So they broke the news that I'm in labor. Yeah?

- Yeah.

ERIN MAYE QUADE: So y'all going to bear with me? Yeah? All right. Is this on? Can you hear me?

- No.

ERIN MAYE QUADE: Now you can hear me. Delegates, I'm so excited to be here with you today. Are you ready?

- Yeah.

ERIN MAYE QUADE: Delegates, are you ready?

KARRAH MARIE CHERUIYOT: Yes.

ERIN MAYE QUADE: I'm Erin May Quade. I am ready. I am here to earn your endorsement. I am ready to work, and I am ready to win in November.

I was born and raised in this community. I am from and of this community. I've lived here my whole life. Every experience I seek to bring to this role was shaped in this community.

My passion for politics was carved in East View High School government honors class, where my teacher was one of the first people to encourage me to speak up for what I believe in. My ability to form human connection and share was built in a Greenleaf Elementary School classroom, and my passion and drive were carved at a middle school swimming pool and softball field, including this one-- remember that-- where I hit my first home run at this school's softball field.

There is no greater honor than continuing to serve the community that raised me and instilled my values in me. And it's the love that I have for this community that has really gotten me through some hard times. And I do want to take a minute to just acknowledge the collective pain and trauma we have been through in the last few years.

The climate crisis that is displacing millions of Americans and killing millions of Americans every year in wildfires and floods, freezing temperatures, and health care crises and record high temperatures. But the recently public murders of Black Americans, including George Floyd which was yet another painful reminder for some of us in this community about the devastating effect of systemic racism. And for some of us was an awakening to what's been happening for too long in our country.

This pandemic that has driven division killed more than a million Americans, left millions more with chronic disabilities, without parents, and laid bare the inadequacy of so many of our systems-- our child care system, our cherished elder care system, our health care system, our housing system, our economy which is still in the grips of corporate greed and power. And we had an insurrection, where we saw hundreds of Americans try to take away our power and overturn our democracy. That is a lot.

But, delegates, I want to tell you that I see our way through this. I have so much faith in our ability to meet the challenges placed before us head on. These combining concurrent crises have presented us with the unique opportunity to truly address our root causes and solve problems at their core and bring a change about in our lives instead of trying to tinker on the edges.

For the last 12 years, I have been organizing in this community and across the state, digging in deep on the issues that get us out of bed in the morning or keep us awake at night, organizing, building coalitions, writing policy, working alongside community, and getting things done. So believe me when I tell you this is our moment to build our future together, to unlock the powerful, life-affirming, transformative kind of politics that means we can help achieve safe and sustainable communities, create economic opportunity and prosperity, and safeguard our civil and human rights and strengthen our human and public infrastructure. Excuse me.

- Oh, no.

[CHEERING]

ERIN MAYE QUADE: I'm good. OK. We know that every issue that impacts our ability to thrive in this state is human made, which means that humans are uniquely qualified to solve them. I am ready to build that bright future together. Delegates, are you ready to build that future together? Are you ready to build power together?

[APPLAUSE]

Delegates, this work will not be easy, because we are not in easy times. Here is what we are up against politics of fear and division, narratives that seek to divide us along race, class, gender, geography, that tell us to turn away from one another or be scared of one another. We reject those false narratives. Right delegates? We reject those false narratives.

This is about more than the senate seat. This is about building momentum and returning every elected leader to office that shares our vision-- Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Representative Angie Craig, Keith Ellison, Steve Simon, Julie Blaha, who we love, Representative Bierman, and John Huot. We have to return every person who shares our vision to elected office.

This is about building the momentum that moves us toward that brighter future, a future where all Minnesotans can thrive. It will require a multiracial, multi-generational coalition that embodies the lived experiences of Minnesotans. Delegate, the work ahead requires leaders who know how to center the expertise of those most impacted, connect our movements to public policy, and know how to do the deep work of building alongside community.

The work ahead will require leaders who understand how to connect the deeply personal issues we face to the systemic issues. For me, it was the personal stories of loved ones whose families were shot and killed by guns that led me to fight to pass gun violence prevention measures in the house and lead a sit-in on the House floor when Republicans tried to look away. It was the story of a terminally-ill veteran whose wife could not stay in her home, when he passed, that led me to change the law, work across the aisle, work with the counties, work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure that she could stay in that house. And pass a bill through a Republican-controlled House and Senate that had languished for five years.

It was meeting the mom of a disabled child who launched me headfirst into fighting for disability justice, so disabled Minnesotans have equitable education, access to housing, and are no longer forced to work for a sub-minimum wage. Delegate, it takes work to build deep relationships. It takes the requirement of knowing the intricacies of how to work through the legislature and own your decisions, work with community, balance the decisions and come down to them yes or no vote.

This is the deep work, the heart-wired work that is required of all of us. I have done none of this work alone. Whether it's building the largest reproductive justice and health rights justice coalition in the state, or founding the people of color legislators caucus, or working with the childhood hunger caucus, this is work that is done in coalition. So, delegates, are you ready?

- Yeah.

ERIN MAYE QUADE: Are you ready to build a bright future? Are you ready to tackle climate change and gun violence, fully fund our public schools, pass universal health care for every Minnesotan, protect and defend our sacred democracy? Are you ready?

I am ready. We have the vision to build our communities, and we have the power to do it together. Together, we can create systems that support us and remove barriers to providing a great life for our families. So can I count on your support, delegates?

[CHEERING]

Thank you so much. I'm Erin May Quade. I hope I earn your support.

[APPLAUSE]

- Mom, I need [INAUDIBLE].

KARRAH MARIE CHERUIYOT: I realize I may get in trouble for saying this, but something really important just happened, and something really disgusting just happened. We have a woman in active labor. Justin Emmerich's won the coin flip, and he could not wait 10 minutes--

- Oh my god.

KARRAH MARIE CHERUIYOT: --to let this woman go first.

[CROWD GROANS]

I will leave. I understand.

- You are in--

KARRAH MARIE CHERUIYOT: I understand. Just thinking women's rights.

- That statement was out of order.

KARRAH MARIE CHERUIYOT: I understand.

- However, we have reached the deadline for submitting questions to the Q&A.

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