Candidates speak out about biggest setbacks

The candidates got personal when they spoke about their biggest setback and resiliency at the Democratic debate.
9:15 | 09/13/19

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Transcript for Candidates speak out about biggest setbacks
No president can succeed without resilience every president confronts crises. Defeats and mistakes. Someone ask each of you what's the most significant professional setback he's had to face. Did you recover from it and what did you learn from kicker guards said faith sees best in the dark. Right after I go elected my wife and daughter killed in an automobile accident in line. And mine my two sons of badly injured and I just been lectured not sworn. And I lost my faith for awhile. I came back and then later when my son Bo Kimble Iraq and with the terminal disease and a year later a year and a half later. Losing him was like losing part of my soul but the fact is that I learned that the way you deal with it as you do with finding purpose. Purpose in what you do. I've known but I wanted to be sent second great I wanted to be it public school teacher got a scholarship and then at nineteen that got married dropped out of school. It took a minimum wage job thought my dream was over I get a chance. Down the road from the University of Houston. And I made it as a special needs teacher astore remember that first year. As a special needs teacher I can tell what does this look like I had Fortis horse fictional. But if you do that first year I was visibly pregnant. And back in the day that that meant that the principal said to me mom wished me luck and hired someone else for the job. Some. On a home without a baby can have a drop when I got to get. Resilience it. School. And the consequence was. A practice law for about 45 minutes up and then went back to my first love which is teaching. But let me get into fights it gave me new tools. And the reason I'm standing here today. It's because I got back out on whole Matt. I know what's broken I wanna believe in the fight to fix it. And now what resilience means to me is the throb like political Korea. I have taken on. Virtually every. Powerful. Special interest in this country and I feel confident that given a life long record. Up taken on powerful special interests of sandy go put the working families of this country. That I will be a day to take on. The greed and corruption of the corporate elite. And create a compliment and an economy that worked for all all boss not just the one person but. Every office I've run for weathered the district attorney or attorney general. I was told each time. It can't be done each time people would say it it's not take time it's not your turn is gonna be too difficult they're not ready for you. And I've analysts and then a part of that probably comes from the fact that I was raised by mother. Who said. Many things that were life lessons from me including Don to ever let anybody tell you. Are you are you know it's. Military officers serving under Don't Ask Don't Tell. And as an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor. At a certain point when it came to professional setbacks. To wonder whether just acknowledging. Who I was. Was going to be the ultimate career ending professional setback. I came back from the deployment realize that. He only gets a live one life and I was not interest it's. In. Not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer so I just came out. What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them. They decided to trust me and reelected me width 80% of the vote. And what I learned was that trust can be reciprocated. And it. Part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what's worse more he went. And I think that's what we need in the presidency. Right now. I was an unhappy liar for five whole months and I left to start a business and I'm get its share with you all want the secrets to entrepreneurship. If you want to start something tell everyone you know you're going to do written. And then you have a choice if you put your heart and soul into it and even though I did that my company flopped eventually I picked myself back up. I kept working in small growth companies for another ten years and eventually had some success. And after I did have some success I still remembered how hard it was how isolating it was how it feels like your friends are no longer want to spend time with you. And so I spent seven years. Starting and running on nonprofit that helped train young entrepreneurs around the country. My biggest professional setback is is embarrassing his lot of folks know about tonight. What was a tenant leaders in Newark, New Jersey in 2002 took on the political machine and boy do they fight back I had. Tires on my caller slash were camped officers were broken into. And here's the device everybody you're gonna have a spectacular failure have a documentary team there to capture because it made for. An Oscar nominated documentary called street fight. But unfortunately another setback get lost in the Oscars to movie called march of the Dag nab penguins for crying Allah. The people in my community. Living in the projects told me don't give up on the people on the people won't give up on you. The lesson I learned of resilience is to trust people the power to people is always greater than the people in power in the test of America right now. It's not a referendum won Donald Trump it's a referendum on Austin who we are and who we're gonna be together. Every everything that I've learned about resilience. Of learned from my hometown of El Paso, Texas. In. The face of this act of terror. That was directed at our community in large part by the president of the United States that killed 22 people and injured many more. We were not defeated by that nor were we defined by that the very thing that drew that killer to a loss is a very thing that helps us set the example. For the rest of this country we don't see our differences as disqualifying. Or dangerous we see them as foundational tore success. Tort strength. And tore security. Into our safety. I then got married husbands out there somewhere hopefully smiling. And our daughter and our daughter was born I had this expectation we're gonna have as perfect perfect bird and she was really sick. She couldn't swallow up into his and out of hospitals for a year and a half but when she was born the had a rule in place he got kicked out of the hospital in 24 hours. She was in intensive care. And I was kicked out and I thought this should never happen to any other mom again so I went to the legislature. Our state legislator not an elected official mom and I advocated for one of the first laws in the country guarantee new moms and their babies a 48 hour hospital stick and when they tried to delay the implementation. Of outlaw. I brought six Fred pregnant friends to the conference committee so they outnumbered the lobbyist you don't mind and when they sit went to did take place to out raise their hand and said now. That is what motivated me to go into public service. Cost throw it is. My mother's name and was my grandmother's name before hurt I grew up in a single parent household on the west side of San Antonio going to the public schools. Eventually my brother walking and I became the first in our family. To become professionals. And when I got home I took a job at the biggest law firm in town. I was making a 100000 dollars a year in the year 2000. A few months later I got elected to senatorial City Council. And the City Council the time was only paying a 1040 dollars a year so heard but he had another job and my job was that the law firm. Well a few months after I got elected. The law firm got a client. And the client wanted those of us on the City Council to vote for a land deal the land deal was that they wanted to build a golf course over water supply. Because we relied on underground aka for. I didn't think the environmental protection plan was strong enough someone to vote against it and my constituents want me to vote against it. But under the ethics rules for lawyers in Texas because believe it or not lawyers have ethics rules. You can't just go gets the interest of a client so I was stuck. On the one hand I want to do the right thing on the other hand my livelihood my student loans my new house payment my car payment depended on meet shutting up. Being conflicted out. So one day I walked into my law firm and I quit my job and then I went and I voted against that land deal on the City Council. Can. You know it was the first test that I had and I think back to that because often times we think of politics and you think of politics is dirty. For corrupting. I wondered before I went in it whether it would change who I was in I was proud there when that first test came that I stood up for the people that I was there to represent.

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

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