Public Papers - 1989 - December
Advance Text of Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Senatorial Candidate Thomas J. Tauke in Des Moines, Iowa
I'm delighted to be here to salute a man who embodies values of hard work, honesty, and strength of character. He has been an exceptional Congressman; he will make an exceptional United States Senator. His name is Tom Tauke, and he deserves our support.
You and I both know why. Look at his background: reporter, attorney, elected to the Iowa Legislature and six times to the U.S. House of Representatives. Look at his record. He has fought for the family, the taxpayer, the farmer, the working people of Iowa, helping to build better education and better rural health care for a State whose best still lies ahead. Like all of you, I've seen Tom Tauke up-close and personal. I admire him enormously. We need him in the Senate. There, he can serve all of Iowa and help Iowa serve the Nation. There, he can help ensure prosperity at home and peace abroad.
As you know, last week I met with Chairman Gorbachev off the coast of Malta. We talked about the power of freedom to dismantle walls between nations and agreed that we must seize the opportunity to build a generation of peace. From Malta came initiatives to nurture Europe's tide toward democracy, accelerate arms control, and expand trade. And in that context, let me repeat my goal to grant most-favored-nation status to the Soviet Union by the 1990 summit. This will relax trade barriers between East and West, expanding markets for American agricultural and other exports. We need Senators who will help America move beyond containment toward a Europe that is whole and free. Tom Tauke will do that.
Then there's the prosperity which has meant over 20 million new jobs since 1982 -- prosperity which results from lower taxes, responsible spending, and lower interest rates. This July, Tom Tauke was 1 of only 23 Members of Congress to be honored by the National Taxpayers Union. I need him in the Senate to keep taxes down.
Yet prosperity means little if our kids aren't free from drugs. So, we have unveiled a comprehensive drug strategy to stop use before it begins. Tom Tauke supports our strategy. He knows that we have not spent 213 years defending our democracy from the tyranny of oppression only to lose it to the tyranny of crack and cocaine.
You know, a writer once said of Iowa: ``This is top-choice America -- America cut thick and prime.'' Peace, prosperity, and an end to drugs are goals worthy of top-choice Americans, and so are other issues which concern every Iowan. For example, we want to make America's educational system number one in the world again. Consider that Iowa can boast the third highest percentage rate of high school graduates in the country. And you're number one -- all alone -- in ACT's, American College Testing. You better believe we want to do nationally what you have done locally. So, we've made education reform one of our top priorities, proposing legislation to give greater choice to parents and students, reward excellence, and demand greater accountability. Tom Tauke has championed those proposals. I'm also grateful to Governor Branstad for his leadership with the Governors. He was a stalwart advocate for a better education for America's children at our recent education summit.
Next, let me talk for a moment about agricultural policy and farm bills. Four years ago, Tom helped pass a pioneering farm bill to help a whole community in crisis. And today farm income is near record levels, and exports have dramatically increased since 1986. Most good land has been brought back into production, and about 30 million acres of fragile land have been semipermanently retired.
As many of you know, Tom Tauke has already been out front in our effort to promote ethanol as an alternative fuel. That's good for agriculture and good for our environment. This is all good news for farmers and taxpayers, for under the 1985 farm bill, agricultural program costs have fallen by more than half. Let's remember that next year as we write new farm legislation. Tom Tauke will make a good bill even better.
Finally, as I said in Des Moines during last year's caucuses, we know that Medicare hasn't always been fair to rural hospitals. So, our administration has welcomed new legislation to create more equitable payments between urban and rural areas. Tom Tauke founded and cochairs the Rural Health Care Coalition, which helped draft this legislation. I need him in the Senate to make health care affordable and accessible to the people of rural America.
Tom Tauke knows Iowa from the banks of the Mississippi to the bluffs of the Missouri. His values reflect the greatness of Iowa. You know, when I think of Iowa I think of a Midwestern State that is international as well, not just in terms of trade in farm products but in a broader context. Iowans have always had a keen interest in foreign affairs, and your insights are valuable indeed. Tom Tauke fits that picture, and his life embodies the spirit of Iowa: the spirit of ``America can,'' not ``Washington must.''
So, let's remember that Tom has been there for us and pledge that we'll be there for him, supporting him all the way. And let's make Tom Tauke the next Senator from the great State of Iowa.
Note: The President spoke at 7:16 p.m. at the Des Moines Convention Center. Prior to the dinner, the President participated in a live radio interview at WHO. Following the dinner, he returned to Washington, DC. The remarks as delivered were not released by the Office of the Press Secretary.