For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 29, 2004
President Bush Nominates Carlos Gutierrez as Secretary of Commerce
The Roosevelt Room
11:10 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. I am proud to announce my nomination of Carlos Gutierrez to be America's next Secretary of Commerce. Carlos Gutierrez is one of America's most respected business leaders. He is a great American success story.
As CEO of the Kellogg Company, he has been an effective, visionary executive. He understands the world of business from the first rung on the ladder to the very top. He knows exactly what it takes to help American businesses grow and create jobs. I look forward to having his creativity and expertise in my Cabinet.
Carlos's family came to America from Cuba when he was a boy. He learned English from a bellhop in a Miami hotel, and later became an American citizen. When his family eventually settled in Mexico City, Carlos took his first job for Kellogg as a truck driver, delivering Frosted Flakes to local stores. Ten years after he started, he was running the Mexican business. And 15 years after that, he was running the entire company. At every stage of this remarkable story, Carlos motivated others with his energy and optimism and impressed others with his decency.
In his career, Carlos has been sustained by the values taught by his parents, Pedro and Olga, and by the love of his wife, Edi, and his children, Carlos, Erika and Karina. I know Olga Gutierrez, who lives in Florida, is proud to see the boy she took from Cuba chosen to help strengthen the world's greatest and finest economy.
Carlos will carry on the work of a distinguished leader, Secretary Don Evans. During the past four years, our economy has overcome a recession, terrorist attack, corporate scandals and the uncertainty that comes with war. In all these challenges, Don has been a strong and steady advocate for America's businesses and workers and entrepreneurs. Don has also been my friend for over three decades. I've counted on his wisdom and optimism and character at every step on my journey to the White House. Now Don's own journey leads him back to Texas, where we were young men together. Don is one of the finest people I have ever known. I will miss having him in Washington. And Laura and I wish him and Susie well.
When he's confirmed by the Senate, Carlos Gutierrez will take office at a time of historic opportunity for our changing economy. With Carlos's leadership, we'll help more Americans, especially minorities and women, to start and grow their own small business. We'll reduce the burden of junk lawsuits and regulations on our entrepreneurs. We'll reform our outdated tax code to eliminate needless paperwork and encourage savings, investment and growth. We'll continue our commitment to free and fair trade. Carlos and I know that America's workers can compete with anybody in the world. And in all these policies, we will ensure that the American economy keeps creating jobs and remains dynamic and flexible far into the future.
In Carlos Gutierrez, the Department of Commerce will have an experienced manager and an innovative leader. He will be a strong, principled voice for American business and an inspiration to millions of men and women who dream of a better life in our country. I ask the Senate to confirm this fine nominee as quickly as possible. I look forward to welcoming him into my Cabinet. Congratulations.
MR. GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm, needless to say, humbled, I'm honored, I'm very grateful to be here. And should the United States Senate confirm me, I look forward to working with you on your team, helping you achieve the plans that you've laid out, the bold plans for our economy.
And I'll be especially honored, if confirmed, to walk in the footsteps of Secretary Evans, who has served with great honor and distinction. And I realize those are big, big shoes to fill. And I'm also grateful for the President to have chosen me to succeed someone of the stature and the caliber of Secretary Evans.
Mr. President, I believe passionately in your vision of a 21st century where America is the best country in the world with which to do business; we have the best people, we have the training, we have the workers, we have the culture. And I believe that the 21st century is really and truly the American century, as the President does. I believe passionately in your leadership and the direction you've set. I believe in your call for a vibrant, growing entrepreneurial society, where everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy and the pride of ownership, where everyone can contribute, and where everyone can benefit.
I have had the opportunity to live that American Dream, so I know that the President's vision is noble, I know it's real and I know it's tangible. I left Cuba to come to this great country in 1960 as a political refugee. I left with my parents and my brother and we started, essentially, from scratch at that time. Almost 30 years later, I joined the Kellogg Company and started selling cereal out of a van in Mexico City.
I recall saying to someone the other day that one of my big accomplishments in life was to obtain citizenship for my son and my wife, because of where people were born -- born in different places; they were not naturalized citizens upon birth, especially my son. So 14 years ago, they became U.S. citizens. I was walking out of the courthouse and I told my son, you know, if I get hit by a truck today, I'll feel a lot better because you are a citizen of the U.S.
So we never imagined, Mr. President, never imagined that this country would give me this great opportunity and that you would have the confidence in me, sir.
Mr. President, I'd like to recognize those who have been with me every step of the way, who have supported me and with whom I would not be here: my wife of 25 years, Edi, who has given me all the support and has become a big part of the success that I have had; Carlos, my son; my daughter Erika, and my daughter Karina. They've been with me throughout this -- throughout this journey. I would also be remiss here if I didn't mention the 25,000 people who work at the Kellogg Company, the board of directors for their support throughout the years. I would be nowhere near here without their support.
If confirmed by the Senate, I will be honored to serve President Bush, I will be honored to serve my country, honored to serve the Department of Commerce and play a role in advancing the President's great and bold agenda for our country.
Thank you. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Great job, thank you. Congratulations.
END 11:20 A.M. EST