Public Papers - 1989 - November
Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senatorial Candidate Lynn Martin in Chicago, Illinois
The President. Thank you very much. Please be seated. [Laughter] Two hundred and fifty bucks and you get a standing hotdog! Okay. [Laughter] To Lynn Martin and Governor Jim Thompson; Illinois' own, our Secretary of Transportation, Sam Skinner, here today; Pate Philip, the senate minority leader; and of course, Bill Smithburg, who's doing an outstanding job; Al Jourdan, the State party chairman; Harold Smith I see over here, the GOP national committeeman; and Mary Jo Arndt, the GOP national committeewoman; my old friend and supporter, Jim O'Grady, the sheriff of Cooke County; and of course, another old friend who is heading up this deal, along with Bill, Dick Morrow; to another great Illinoisan, Gary MacDougal, who flew out with me on Air Force One today; and members of the great 1990 Illinois Republican ticket -- and I'll have a little more to say about them in a bit -- and friends: Thank you so very much for the welcome.
Lynn, thank you for that warm and generous introduction. And let me say that it is a great pleasure to be right back here in this city, the city of Chicago, and in this State that had so much to do with my having the opportunity to be President of the United States. And a particular joy to speak on behalf of a close and dear friend, one of the great leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and -- I am convinced that if you do your job right and I do mine -- soon to be one of the great Members of the United States Senate, Lynn Martin.
She's a longtime friend, and I wanted to come here and personally support her. And I know that you wanted to hear a few words from a prominent figure who can really fire up a crowd and generate some excitement. Unfortunately, Mike Ditka's getting ready for next week's game, and Barbara Bush couldn't make it either, so here I am. [Laughter]
No, I am delighted -- for Lynn has been a magnificent Congresswoman for her district. I've been there with her. You should see the love and affection that people who know her best feel for her -- magnificent U.S. Senator she'll be. And she is what Illinois needs and what our administration needs: a Senator to make the Land of Lincoln proud, a leader to make the Nation proud, somebody in the Senate that I can work with as President of the United States. And Lynn is that woman. You know, over the years -- I hate to date myself -- I have worked with hundreds of Members of Congress. And few have impressed me more than Lynn. She's been there when America needed her; she's been there when I needed her.
Audience member. Why are we sending money to El Salvador?
The President. Just a minute. Wait, the lady asked a good question. Let me repeat it, and I'll give her an answer if you promise to be quiet after I -- promise? Word of honor? Okay. All right, good.
The question is: Why are we supporting El Salvador? And the answer is -- --
Audience member. Why are we killing people in El Salvador?
The President. The answer is -- we're not. Now, you be quiet. And here's the answer to your question. We are supporting El Salvador because it had certifiably free elections. President Cristiani is trying to do a job for democracy. And the leftwing guerrillas must not take over El Salvador.
Isn't this system -- I love it! Hey, listen, it livens things up. And they kept their word, albeit under some -- [laughter] -- --
No, let me just say a couple more things about Lynn. [Laughter] When her district looked for a strong voice to speak for it in the House, she was there. For the parent worried about inflation -- and that is important -- for seniors needing medical care, for the student who wants to learn, she was there. And when I looked for her to fight for our cause -- look at this guy. Look at this fellow. What's your position?
Audience member. -- -- repression in El Salvador. In the name of God, stop the repression in El Salvador! In the name of God, stop the repression in El Salvador!
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Let me just say a word about El Salvador, and maybe it will help. It was the FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front], the Marxist-Leninist FMLN, that shot its way into the middle of El Salvador, trying to disrupt Salvador's democracy. And President Cristiani told me on the phone that they will do everything they can to bring to justice, whether they're from the right or the left, those who wantonly murdered those priests. But we must not pull our support away for a freely elected democratic government in Central America.
Now, who's next? All I ask is equal time. I'm here to talk about Lynn. Hey, look, this isn't a town meeting. I've got a couple of things to tell you about this woman. When we look for somebody to fight our cause in last year's election, who was it? Lynn was there. And here's proof of her resiliency. She cochaired the National Bush-Quayle Committee with John Sununu and lived to tell about it. [Laughter]
You can see why I so admire her and why I need her in the Senate. On the one hand, she's a gracious, smart, and compassionate woman -- got to be careful here -- in this ``City of the Big Shoulders,'' hers may not rival the Bears', but the 1989 Republican woman of the year is strong and tough. And she's a fighter for her principles and a go-getter for constituents. And next November, she'll be a winner for what one writer called ``the best State precisely because it is so American. Illinois is core America.'' And so, she'll win because she, too, is core America -- born and raised in Chicago, went to the Taft High School, attended the University of Illinois, graduated with honors. Of course, she tells me the Fighting Illini football team will do the honors on January 1, and we're looking forward to that.
Like Illinoisans, she's honest. It's like she always tells me: ``It's fine that you're here, Mr. President. But if you really want to wow the crowd, bring Barbara.'' [Laughter] I am getting a slight inferiority complex, Lynn, and please don't say it again. [Laughter] She's genuine -- never forgot who sent her to Washington, never left her roots.
Lynn Martin knows the people of Illinois: the retired laborer, the homemaker, the small shopowner. You should have seen her in the school just a few minutes ago, talking to the kids and interacting with these heroic principals. She knows their values: hard work, love of country, faith in God. She's been a county board member and a State legislator and for 9 years the Congressman from the 16th District. During that time, She's been right on issue after issue. She thinks as I do -- like you do. And because she does, we're going to need her more than ever in the 1990's. For the issues that confront America have never been more urgent, and we're going to need people like Senator Lynn Martin to help ensure prosperity for all Americans.
To begin with, consider some undeniable facts -- like the Bears' 1986 Super Bowl win or Don Zimmer being named the 1989 manager of the year -- an unemployment rate at the lowest level in 15 years, more than 20 million new jobs since 1982, the longest peacetime expansion in the history of our country.
The healthy economy that we now enjoy didn't happen by magic; it came about through tax cuts and controlling spending. And, yes, Lynn was there. And now our administration wants to build upon these undeniable facts by enacting our capital gains tax cut to create greater opportunity and more jobs and, thus, more revenue for the Federal Government.
And let me say this because there's been some peculiar reporting on this. The capital gains battle may be over for this year, but the fact is this: We have seen the votes. A majority in both the Senate and the House are on record in favor of cutting the capital gains rate. So, make no mistake: When Congress reconvenes in the new year, cutting capital gains is going to be one of the top items on my agenda. The fight for a capital gains cut is far from over, and it is a fight that I am going to win. Along with other measures, a capital gains lowering will help ensure prosperity at home. But we must also have peace abroad.
Real peace, like prosperity, doesn't occur by accident. It requires patience, vision, a meaningful dialog. Next week, President Gorbachev and I will meet off the island of Malta. This meeting will occur because America has been resolute in defense of liberty and democracy, and it will occur amid the changes sweeping East and Central Europe and bringing freedom to millions who share a common heritage with so many right here in your great State of Illinois. I will remember that heritage next week in Malta as we work to make the 1990's the decade of democracy in Eastern Europe.
Democracy, of course, means freedom from fear, and so it must at home. Our administration has moved boldly, decisively on yet another issue because most Illinoisans, like most Americans, have had it up to here with crime and drug use. And we say it's got to stop, and I am determined that it will stop. We have proposed a national drug strategy, the most comprehensive plan to assault these plagues. We want mandatory time for firearms offenses, no deals when criminals use a gun; and for the most heinous crimes -- you remember my promise -- for anyone who kills a law enforcement officer, no legal penalty is too tough. We want the Congress to enact the steps that are needed to implement the death penalty for those who take the lives of our police officers out there on the street.
Lynn Martin supports our proposals because she believes that the Federal Government must wage real -- not simply rhetorical -- war against the thugs who assault our kids. We want stiffer penalties for violent criminals, greater certainty in sentencing. We say that drug kingpins and terrorists who kill Americans don't deserve the easy parole that lets them off scot-free. They deserve to pay a price, and it is the ultimate price. Fellow Republicans, I need your support to make our crime proposals a reality. We have a good program before the Congress, and the Congress should have acted long before now on every single item of those proposals.
Earlier, I mentioned undeniable facts. Here are some more: Our administration has introduced policies to benefit both the farmer and the consumer, and bold new environmental policies to reduce air toxics and urban smog, policies that will preserve our wetlands and combat polluters, help to clean up our air and hazardous wastes. And, yes, Lynn has been there.
In addition, we're nearing passage of pioneering ethics legislation -- and we're asking Congress to act on our education proposals. And here, too, as a former schoolteacher in Rockford and DuPage County, she's been there. Our proposals seek to give greater choice to parents and students, demand greater accountability. They reward excellence and demand that Federal dollars help those most in need. Fellow Republicans, don't you agree? We must make America's educational system number one in the world again.
And Lynn is already out front, and I know that she'll help me do that. For look at what she's done already: achieving the highest position of Republican leadership ever held by a woman in the House of Representatives. And the best is yet to come. For next year you'll lend your strength and quality to the entire Republican ticket.
So, for starters, let me just say -- over here -- I don't know whether they were introduced, but here's Jim Edgar, the next Governor of this great State, and Bob Kustra, as Lieutenant Governor, right behind him there. My old friend, George Ryan, the next secretary of state. And Jim Ryan, as attorney general. Don't worry. I'm not forgetting one that knocked himself out for me. Here's Greg Baise, your next State treasurer, and Gary Skoien as comptroller. Let me sum it up this way: a magnificent team, a winning team for the State of Illinois.
Now, 128 years ago, the greatest Illinoisan of them all left Springfield to assume the Presidency. Addressing his home people at the Great Western railway station, Abraham Lincoln was moved to say: ``To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.'' I know that Lynn would reaffirm those words because she loves this place and she loves the people of this State, the State of Illinois. So, let's be there for Lynn Martin, and support the entire Republican ticket. Let's go out and work to make Lynn Martin the next Senator from the great State of Illinois. Thank you for your kindness, for the honor of this occasion. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
Note: The President spoke at 12:22 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Bill Smithburg, finance chairman of the State Republican Party; Dick Morrow, Republican Party campaign contributor; Gary MacDougal, member of the board of directors of the United Parcel Service; Mike Ditka, coach of the Chicago Bears football team; John Sununu, Chief of Staff to the President; Don Zimmer, coach of the Chicago Cubs baseball team; Jim Edgar, Illinois secretary of state; Lt. Gov. George Ryan; Jim Ryan, DuPage County State's attorney; Greg Baise, Illinois secretary of transportation; and Gary Skoien, executive director of the Illinois Capital Development Fund. Following his remarks, the President traveled to Cranston, RI.