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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Remarks at a Fundraising Breakfast for District of Columbia Mayoral Candidate Maurice Turner

1990-09-24

Thank you all very much. I am delighted to be here with all of you. What a magnificent turnout in support of Chief Turner.

I first want to say that I'm proud to be back, side by side, with Wally Ganzi, a tireless worker for things he believes in and people he believes in. He is the finance chairman of this campaign. And I expect, Chief, that we agree on this and many other things, but we couldn't have a better man in our corner than Wally Ganzi. Thank you.

I want to thank Pastor Brown for his comments and opening prayer. Of course, I believe the Chief is very lucky to have such a distinguished lady as Florence Booker as his campaign chairman. I think it sends a wonderful signal. And to Harry Singleton here, our candidate for DC Delegate, my very best wishes to you. Best of luck in the race coming up. And to Julie Finley, the same -- running hard for a seat on the city council. Julie, good luck to you.

Chief, I bring you greetings from People magazine's cover girl this week, Barbara Bush. [Laughter] She'd have been here in an instant, but she's getting ready to head up to New York. But she sends her love and her warm, best wishes. And she is with you all the way, too.

I wanted to come over here today and tell you that for me -- and I go back with the Chief some time -- it is a distinct pleasure to be with you to join in supporting a candidate who can do so much for the District of Columbia; and he is my friend, the Chief, Maurice Turner. We're here this morning to show our support for a man who has given all his adult life to a particular phase -- a very important one -- of public service: as a proud member of the United States Marines, as a 32-year veteran who worked his way up through the ranks of the DC police force to serve 8 years as chief of police. And now he's going to be the next Mayor of Washington, DC.

You heard what he said about the precincts, and that's the truth: He's been out on the streets of Washington, walking the beat, if you will, speaking to the people of this city, and listening to them talk about the kind of leadership that they're looking for. He tells me that since April he's walked about half the city, from Anacostia to Wisconsin Avenue, and in the process, he's lost 35 pounds. [Laughter] But he's gained the fighting edge that he needs to boost this underdog over the top and into the Mayor's office. He'll do anything to get this job done in terms of hard work.

I'd like to ask the voters here to listen to the cops that he's worked with -- those that are protecting us every single day -- the neighbors who know him, those who know his family. They call him tough, honest, concerned, committed, competent. Well, come November 6th, that's just one thing more I'd like to call him, and that is Mayor.

Maurice has been a fighter from the early days back on Girard Street -- a boy his father nicknamed ``Little Joe Louis,'' whose friends and family still call him Joe today. And just like Joe Louis, he's got a strong message for the criminals who create a climate of fear and the drug dealers who prey on our kids: You can run, but you cannot hide. That's his message, and that's one we need to hear over and over again.

No one's tougher on crime and drugs. Then, on the other hand, no one is more concerned about our children -- their safety and their schools. And no one's more dead set on getting the deadwood out of city government and providing leadership to help heal Washington, to help this city hope again.

You know, Maurice Turner knows what it is to take pride in being a citizen of our Nation's Capital. He knows how much it hurts to see a city pulled down -- from the plague of crime and crack on the streets right up to the crisis of confidence that grips the District Building. That's why it is time for a change: time to put Chief Turner in charge of the whole city.

Maurice Turner knows this city inside out, not just the Washington of monuments and marble, not the cruel Washington the world sees on the 6 o'clock news, but the Washington of neighborhoods, of communities, of churches, of solid citizens and strong values -- a Washington full of life and hope and opportunity for everyone who calls this city home. That's the Washington that Maurice Turner comes from, and it's the Washington he'll fight to keep alive and flourishing. So, I ask every one of you to keep working hard for him, and I ask hard-working Washingtonians to give him your vote. Help Maurice Turner turn this city around.

One thing more -- a message to all Washingtonians as you get ready to go to the polls on November 6th. This past year, everywhere from streets and squares of Eastern Europe now to the sands of Saudi Arabia, we've learned a powerful lesson about the risks people are willing to take to win freedom and keep it. I urge every citizen in the District of Columbia to get out and vote. Do not take democracy for granted. Go to the polls and exercise your precious right and vote for the candidate of your choice. If you take a little advice from all of us here today, vote for Maurice Turner. He's going to get the job done.

I know these are very trying times for our country. They're trying times internationally. They're trying times certainly on the many domestic fronts that come together to represent the entirety of the United States of America. I mentioned this out campaigning the other day across the country. I am proud that the country has come together in the spirit of former Senator Vandenberg, certainly when it comes to support for what we are trying to do in rolling back aggression in the Middle East. The country is united, transcending political ideology, liberal or conservative; transcending party, Republican, Democrat, or even independent -- everybody pulling together. But we must not neglect the domestic agenda. We're coming up into an election cycle. I think it is beholden on those who hold office to get out and say what they think.

So, when Maurice Turner invited me to come here today, I accepted before he could change his mind -- [laughter] -- because I want to see this good, decent, honorable man the next Mayor of Washington, DC. Thank you all for what you're doing to support him. Good luck, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 8:26 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel.

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