The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 18, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks on the Economy in Lakewood, Colorado
Design Net Engineering
Lakewood, Colorado

10:25 A.M. MDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much everybody. Thank you all for being here today. Thanks a lot. I think I see our two budding engineers over here. Good to see you all. Thanks. Thank you.

I have just had a really great tour. This is so terrific, Design Net Engineering. In every way, the research and the production that's going on here is just cutting edge for the United States of America. And it's a real thrill.

Thank you very much, Sandy, and thank you, Gerry, also very much for letting me visit your business. And thank you, Governor Norton, for welcoming me to Colorado. It's great to see you.

Sandy and Gerry Murphy, who own Design Net, are really realizing the American dream of ownership and at the same time, they are helping our economy grow stronger. Everything they produce has an impact somewhere else economically. And in fact, I saw examples of two businesses that sort of came from the synergy of this business that are separate from these but are also growing. And I want to thank Sandy and Gerry very much.

I also want to thank Frances Owens for being here with me. Thank you so much, Frances. (Applause.) Her husband, Governor Owens, is one of our really good friends, and he's a great leader for Colorado. Thanks for joining me, Frances.

And also Peter Coors will be a great senator from Colorado. (Applause.) Thank you, thank you for joining me. Thanks to Peter Coors and to Marilyn. I'm so glad to see both of them.

And then Claudia Beauprez, thank you very much for being here. (Applause.) Congressman Beauprez is a very good friend of ours, and Claudia is also a successful businesswoman in her own right.

Gwyneth Dieter is here. Gwyn, thank you very much. (Applause.) Gwyn is leading our W Stands for Women effort in Colorado. She is working to mobilize women to get the word out about the President's strong leadership on behalf of women. Gwyn -- this is supposed to, I guess, be private. But Gwyn's husband, Bob Dieter, was one of George's roommates at Yale. And thank you so much, Gwyneth, for being a part of it.

I want to urge everybody here to reach out to voters around your state and to let them know how important it is that President Bush is reelected.

This is a great day to talk about women in politics because on August 18th, 1920, 84 years ago, women received the right to vote in the United States. (Applause.) The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on that day 84 years ago. And 84 years doesn't seem that long ago, does it? My mother is 85, so she was born a year before women received the right to vote in the United States. But today, 74 women are serving in the United States Congress, including 14 in the U.S. Senate. And women like Governor Jane Norton are serving at the top levels of state government throughout America.

Women are making important decisions about the future of America, and it all started with our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers who fought for their rights to be heard. And I think we need to take an example to heart -- their example to heart and make our voices heard as well.

And if you need any more inspiration, think about the women of Afghanistan. They were once denied the right to work or to go to school or even to leave their homes unless they were escorted by a male relative. But today, thanks to the United States military and to our allies, women are working again and they are registering to vote in a free election. I am proud that nearly 10 million Afghans have registered to vote, and more than 40 percent of that number are women. (Applause.)

Sandy and Gerry Murphy have worked hard over the last eight years to make their company a success. Sandy says they've been flexible and optimistic, and they've dealt with all the challenges that have come their way. And Sandy is happy to have colleagues and employees who are like family. They've created a supportive environment that helps everybody succeed.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners like Sandy and Gerry are some of the hardest working people in America. They teach us the values of hard work and integrity and independence. And Sandy is part of a sisterhood of women who own their own business, a sisterhood that just keeps growing.

More than 10 million American women own their own businesses. And women are open businesses at twice the rate of men. Women-owned firms employ more than 19 million Americans.

Last week, I visited with several women entrepreneurs. I went to a quilt shop in Minnesota, to a temporary employment agency in Wisconsin. I met a woman from Iowa who owns a towing business -- the only woman towing business owner in Iowa and maybe in the United States -- and another woman in Ohio who owns a construction company. And today, I saw cutting edge technology that's being used in some of the most advanced aerospace equipment.

Anyone who wonders what women are capable of need only look at American women business owners. Women are working hard to strengthen their communities and their country.

My husband believes that we should all have an equal opportunity to achieve our dreams, and he's got three strong women at home who won't let him forget it. (Applause.)

I'm proud that my husband has more women in senior positions in his administration than in any other administration in history. (Applause.) Dr. Condoleezza Rice advises the President on foreign policy and Margaret Spellings is in charge of domestic policy. That means in the White House women are in charge of everything abroad and everything at home. (Applause.)

President Bush knows that empowered women are vital to democracy, and that's what we're seeing in Afghanistan as well. It would be very difficult for them to build a democracy if they left out half of their population. And empowered women are also vital to our economic security. The President has worked closely with a coalition of 25 women's business organizations to ensure that women's voices are heard. His administration has hosted women's entrepreneurship summits across the country and established a website called to provide easy access to business resources.

In the last four years, President Bush has created an economic environment in which women entrepreneurs can succeed and small businesses can flourish and grow. And it hasn't been easy. We've been through a lot, from recession to terror attacks to corporate scandals. But our economy remains the strongest in the world, thanks to America's small businesses and the President's commitment to tax relief. (Applause.)

Because of tax cuts, 25 million small business owners have each saved an average of $3,000 this year alone. President Bush also increased the annual expense deduction for equipment to $100,000, so now more small business owners can invest in new machinery and technology. And cuts in the capital gains tax and the taxation of dividends are spurring investment and making it easier for small businesses to raise capital.

Workers are also keeping more of their own money. Since 2001, real after-tax incomes have increased by 10 percent. Families are saving more because the child credit was doubled, the marriage penalty was reduced and the death tax is on the road to extinction. (Applause.)

President Bush will continue to move America forward with an economic agenda that meets the needs of all Americans. And that starts with making tax relief permanent. He knows that raising taxes now would put the brakes on our growing economy, and he'll urge Congress to keep taxes low.

The President will also streamline regulations and reduce paperwork to ensure that federal regulations do not handicap America's entrepreneurs. Already, 1.5 million jobs have been created since last August. And here in Colorado, the unemployment rate is below 5 percent.

President Bush also knows that reliable health care is vital to our economic security, and to companies' bottom line. Uninsured Americans are overwhelmingly concentrated in smaller companies. Small business owners want to take care of their employees and make sure their families receive the best medical care. And yet, the cost of health care continues to rise.

That's why the President is taking action to make health care more affordable and more accessible for millions of Americans. He is urging Congress to approve association health plans so that small businesses can pool to buy health insurance. Association health plans would help small businesses and employers obtain health insurance at affordable prices, like large employers or unions do. President Bush also signed a law creating health savings accounts so that workers can save tax-free for routine medical expenses.

And because frivolous lawsuits raise the cost of health care and drive good doctors out of practice, the President will reform the medical liability system. (Applause.)

President Bush also knows that an educated work force is vital to our economic security. And Sandy and Gerry's business is such an example of that. They need employees with strong skills in math and science and engineering. And America's schools have the responsibility to ensure that American students can learn these skills.

The No Child Left Behind Act is bringing more money, higher standards and stronger accountability to schools throughout America. Now we have clear goals for education. Every child should learn to read by the third grade, because reading is the foundation for all other learning. We're assessing students' progress every year in elementary school to make sure that children don't get left behind.

The President wants to expand math and science education and broaden Internet training so America's workers can compete in the technology-driven world. He is providing more resources to help workers get high-tech training at their local community colleges. And Sandy and Gerry are doing the best thing American employers can do. They're also working with the education community. They're making sure that University of Colorado students and high school students here in Colorado have the chance to succeed in fields that are most important to them, and so crucial for America. Two of those students are here today for us that developed a project that's right inside here -- I hope you'll get to see it.

And President Bush wants to help American families keep more of something that they never have enough of, and that's time. Time to play with their kids, time to take care of their parents, or time to volunteer in their communities. Sandy and Gerry offer flexible work schedules and they have a satellite office so some employees can work closer to their home. This flexibility helps their employees better manage the demands of work and family. President Bush will work with Congress to make flex time and comp time available for more Americans. (Applause.)

President Bush stands solidly with the men and women in our country who are working to make life better for themselves and for their neighbors. Thanks to the President's leadership, America is moving forward. And with your support, he'll continue to make our country safer, our economy stronger and the future better for every American.

These are very hopeful times in our nation. And I'll have to say that visiting a business like this makes me very hopeful. We see examples of American ingenuity and American compassion lifting the lives of Americans everywhere, in every corner of our country. We're moving forward with great confidence in our ability to overcome challenges. And these are times that require a particularly strong and determined leader. And I'm proud that my husband is that kind of leader. (Applause.)

Thank you all so much for coming today. Thanks a lot. Thank you, Sandy and Gerry, for your great example for American business people.

END 10:40 A.M. MDT

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