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Public Papers - 1991

Remarks at a Republican Party Fundraising Dinner in Salt Lake City, Utah

1991-09-18

Thank you very, very much. Please be seated. And, Norm, thank you, sir, not only for that warm welcome, but to you and Colleen for your hospitality ever since we arrived at that magnificent airport rally out there. We felt the warmth of your hospitality, and I'm grateful to you. And don't apologize for this podium. Remember how the Queen of England did with the same podium -- all you could see was her hat, so you came off pretty well compared to her. [Laughter]

I want to welcome also, as Norm generously did, Sam Skinner, who is our Secretary of Transportation. And once in a while the Democrats make a charge: no domestic agenda. And if they would only listen to our Secretary of Transportation, we would have had in place a fantastic new transportation program, in place and operating. But we're fighting a lot of old thinking in Washington. I'm convinced Sam is going to prevail, and he's doing a first-class job for transportation in this country. And I'm glad he's with us.

And let me salute, as warmly as I can, your two Senators. We don't control the United States Senate; we're playing defense a lot of the time. You've got to beat back bad ideas before you can get good ideas to even have a chance with the makeup and the political persuasion that controls the Senate. But in Jake Garn and in Orrin Hatch, we have two principled people who are not afraid to stand up against the current and who, because of this standing they have on both sides of the aisle, are able from time to time to get noble things accomplished. And I am grateful to both of them. I depend heavily on them and when it comes to holding the line up there in the Senate and moving forward as best we can. And so I want you to know how strongly I feel about the Utah representation in the Senate. And of course, Jim Hansen is with us, too, tonight. And he's doing a first-class job in the House. So, you've got good, strong representation in Washington.

I salute Governor Ashcroft, another dear friend that's got his responsibilities now in the National Governors' Association as well as doing the second-best job in the Nation according to Norm running his State, so -- [laughter] -- so, John, welcome to you and Janet.

And ever since I've gotten here, for the party types, the political people upon whom we all are going to depend so much next year -- people are saying, we've got the great new chairman, a party chairman in the State of Utah. And you do. And he can't throw a curve ball maybe or a knuckle ball like Charlie Hough, but Bruce Hough is doing a first-class job. And I'm glad we have this young, energetic leader heading our party.

I want to salute Jack Roberts, who's with us tonight, the national committeeman. If I might be permitted a personal reminiscent of sorts, my dad served in the Senate with Senator Wallace Bennett. And they were good, close friends. And Wallace Bennett, I understand, is in the hospital, and I just would ask that his son and others convey to him not only my respects but my affectionate greetings because we have great warmth of feeling in the Bush family for that former Senator of yours who did such a superb job nationally.

Of course, Bonnie Stevens, to whom I owe a debt, and also Delonne Anderson are here, for helping back in 1988, chairing the Bush-Quayle effort, and giving me the opportunity to be President at this fascinating time in history. And so, I've got a lot of people I'm grateful to here tonight. It's a pleasure to be here.

When you first came up with your State slogan, ``Utah: A Pretty, Great State,'' the mail poured into the White House. And one guy suggested a new slogan we could use: ``Barbara Bush: A Pretty, Great First Lady.'' [Laughter] And I really wish that she were here, but I know that when we see the spirit of voluntarism that strengthens the concept of family in this State, I know that she wants to be a part. I know that she wants to help and do her best, and she isn't going to turn her back on politics either. So, invite her out and be careful because she's apt to show up. But I'm sorry she's not with us today.

History records that when Brigham Young first stood overlooking the Wasatch Front and saw Salt Lake, he uttered the now-famous words, ``This is the place.'' And he was right, this is the place. And it is, as Norm mentioned in his opening remarks, the home of strong family, of hard work, of good education and good health. And these values have built a community like none other in America. And they're values that I am convinced, in spite of the turmoil in the cities or the consternation caused by the use of narcotics, I am convinced that they are the values that a vast majority of the American people share.

Traditional values and then this concept of public service, they have been the hallmark of the Utah Republican Party. Governor Bangerter was a small businessman who has given nearly 20 years of elected service to the people of this State. He's done a fantastic job as Governor, and I think some of it is he hasn't forgotten the grassroots. He understands where he came from to be Governor of the State, and stays in touch. And I think there's an important message in that for all politicians including the President of the United States.

In Jake Garn you had a war veteran, space explorer, kidney donor, key member of our Republican team in the Senate, as I mentioned. And he's now leaving the Senate for the noblest cause of all, to spend more time with his wonderful family. And we will miss him very much in the United States Senate. But I think there's a wonderful example he's setting for a lot of us in his dedication to his own family and his willingness to give up the glamour of the Senate to return to these values that mean so much to him. He's been a great strength, as I say.

And I'm delighted that Orrin is out here with us. He's been in Washington standing by a man -- and doing a first-class job of it -- who will be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Clarence Thomas. And he's done a first-class job. And we have a first-class nominee for the Court. I'm grateful to you, Orrin, for that.

And so, you have good leadership. I mentioned Jim Hansen. You got good leadership who have made this Republican Party what it is today, one of the best State organizations in the country. But in order to achieve excellence at home and competitiveness abroad, we need more like them in the House, in the Senate, and in the statehouse. And we really do need more people who think as they do.

I was elected by the American people, with I must say wonderful support from this State, to perform on certain things, to accomplish certain things in certain ways. And the great frustration has been that because I don't have control in both Houses of the Congress, our party, as I said, we are playing defense. And I would like to see that change. We do need more Republicans in office, and I'm going to do my level best to guarantee we get more Republicans in office next year.

There's something remiss when you can push Iraq out of Kuwait but we can't push a good bill out of the United States Congress. [Laughter] And here's how Republicans define a good bill: not by dollars spent and redtape created but by lives enriched and families strengthened. And you see, I think there should be one question in every decision that comes before a President, comes before Members of the United States Congress. And it should be: Does this strengthen the American family? Whether it's in terms of keeping Americans on the job or ensuring that they live in a safe, clean environment or guaranteeing a quality education for our kids, we must do absolutely everything we can to preserve and strengthen the American family.

And I know how tough it is to be a parent these days, to keep a family together. Although I will confess I was a father who raised our kids using those three magic words, ``Ask your mother.'' [Laughter] But we must preserve working families. And our child-care law provides low income parents with the means to select the best care for their children, because parents know best what kind of care their children need. We can't figure that out in a bureau or a department in Washington, DC.

Parents know best, and that's what choice is all about. They don't want their kids in some Federal warehouse. They want to have the option of having relatives look after them or a church participate or a neighborhood sitter. And we're the party that can proudly say we put choice into the hands of parents with our child-care legislation that these -- [applause].

And now we're fighting for choice in education. We want choice in education as well. We think that parents and students, not the bureaucrats should choose which school is best for them. And they're the ones who know best. Parents are a child's first teacher. Their first classroom is often the kitchen table. And we want to help parents do the best they can. And one of our national education goals that John Ashcroft and Norm help set, one of those education goals, is that by the year 2000 every child should arrive at school ready to learn. And to do it, we're proposing increased funding for Head Start and good nutrition and health care programs. We've got to have these kids ready to learn.

So, we want choice; then we want more opportunity to be prepared to learn. You might say, what happened to our education bill? Well, it's almost like the Congress has been listening to that favorite group of mine, Alabama, the country group: ``I Ain't Got No Business Doing Business Today.'' And that's the way it is. And we've got some very good education programs up there. We've got a great Education Secretary under Governor Lamar Alexander. And we are fighting against big odds up there, but I think we're going to win this one. I believe we are going to get a good, sound Federal education program, not to superimpose itself on the States or the localities but to supplement what's done best at the local level. And that's the philosophy behind our education program.

And our bill has been gathering some dust, a hostage, in some case, to the lobby, the education lobby. The teachers unions oppose some of what we're trying to do. But I'll say it again: For the sake of our children we need choice in education, and therefore we need choice in Congress. And we need more Republicans who think as we do to try to get the job done.

We must strengthen the health of the American family. I mentioned that. And earlier today it was very moving for me when I visited the Primary Children's Medical Center here in town and saw that infant ward. I don't know how many of you all have had a chance to visit there. It's nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats; it has to do with love;, and it has to do with caring. And for me, it was a very emotional experience. It's a sad fact: We can prevent one-quarter of the infant deaths in America every year. And to ensure that young people get as good a start in life as possible, we have proposed increased funding for the prevention of infant mortality, to improve prenatal care and nutrition programs, and target communities with the highest infant mortality rate and educate would-be parents.

You see, it isn't simply enough to treat newborns. Strong families mean a strong America.

As Republicans, we're fighting to preserve this family by fostering an environment in which working parents can make ends meet and can raise healthy kids from the very, very beginning and can send them to the school they want, ready to learn. We're a nation of families. And here in Utah, I have this feeling that you understand it, you understand it far better than most. And I can see it in your values, in your good schools, and in your faith, your respect for God's creation.

In fact, let me put it in the words of someone who says it best, not a famous writer or singer, a 20-year-old from here who served in the Persian Gulf, Mike Averett, Jr., one of four kids in his family. And he said of Utah Valley: ``I would do anything to defend this place. I want it to stay just as it is.''

And I want that for a lot of America, too. Where the values are strong and the schools are good, we want it to stay as it is. But there are many that don't have, many kids in this country who nobody knows their name, nobody cares about them, where the schools are lousy. And our job is far from unfulfilled.

So, I salute your values. I hope that I can find a way to strengthen the family and these fundamental institutions and help strengthen it in other parts of this great country of ours. The challenge is absolutely enormous. And the reward will be great.

I have had a fantastic day out here on the road. It is good for the soul, and I think I'll be a better President for getting out around this great country of ours. I feel that way every time I go. Today we started at the Grand Canyon, and then we landed to be received at this wonderful nonpartisan rally, then the hospital, and now this political dinner. It's been a wonderful outing. And I'd like to stay here for dinner, but I looked at the menu, and it said -- [laughter] -- bouquette, my French is very good -- bouquette, fresh seasonal vegetables. And I thought in some subtle way that meant broccoli, so I -- [laughter]. You call it what you want.

And knowing of my commitment to choice now, I hope you'll excuse me. But it's been a great day. And I salute the party leaders and those of you who are rolling up your sleeves and getting active in the political process. You know, it's fashionable to knock politics. It's the way it has been; it's the way it always will be. But God bless those people that are willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved. Whether it's helping elect good people or whether it's serving in the United States Congress or at the local level or being a great Governor of a State.

I've enjoyed being here, and I feel refurbished -- slightly tired, but refurbished for being around such wonderful people. Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Note: The President spoke at 6:50 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Marriott Hotel. In his remarks he referred to Gov. Norman H. Bangerter of Utah, and his wife, Colleen; Secretary of Transportation Sam Skinner; Senators Jake Garn and Orrin G. Hatch; Representative James V. Hansen; Gov. John Ashcroft of Missouri, and his wife, Janet; Bruce R. Hough, Utah Republican State Chairman; Jack Roberts, Republican national committeeman for Utah; Bonnie Stevens, Bush-Quayle '88 vice chairwoman; Delonne Anderson, Bush-Quayle '88 vice chairman; Clarence Thomas, nominee for Supreme Court Associate Justice; and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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