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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
April 24, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Reception for Representatives Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Governor M. Jodi Rell
The Westin
Stamford, Connecticut

7:13 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Congressman Shays. Thank you for the very warm welcome to your district. Thanks also to Congresswoman Johnson and Congressman Simmons. And it's great to see your Governor here, Jodi Rell. Where is Jodi? She's out there somewhere -- there she is.

(Applause.) I also want to thank Republican Chairman Gallo, thank you; and Charlie Glazer, and everybody who helped organize this event.

I'm delighted to see so many of you here. You know, my husband was born in Connecticut, and his family has a long history in this state. And so it's always been a very special place for us. So I'm especially happy to be here tonight.

I'm also happy to be here to honor your great United States Representatives: Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson, and Rob Simmons. (Applause.) I'm also very happy that Governor Rell has joined us; she's doing a terrific job as your governor. (Applause.) She's restoring the public's trust in state government, and under Jodi's leadership, Connecticut now has a state surplus of $661 million. So let's do everything we can to make sure she's elected. (Applause.)

While you work to elect Jodi Rell this fall, I also hope you'll re-elect Chris, Nancy, and Rob. (Applause.) Each one of them are passionate advocates for the people of Connecticut. They share your priorities: to create jobs and economic opportunity for everyone in the state; to help our children grow up to lead healthy and successful lives; and to protect our nation.

I know that Chris has been strong in his support for the liberation of Iraq. He's just returned from his 12th trip there to visit our troops and to see the progress that the Iraqis are making toward freedom and democracy. Rob also knows we have to support our brave men and women in uniform, and their families. He served 19 months as an Army soldier in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars. (Applause.) And in Congress, Rob has worked hard on the Armed Services and Veterans Committees to support our servicemen and women, both active duty and retired.

And as our troops are helping spread freedom and democracy abroad, we also face challenges here at home. One is making sure that all of America's children can grow up to be healthy and successful, so that no child is denied the opportunity and promise of America.

Here in Connecticut, there are few advocates for young people as tireless as Congresswoman Johnson. (Applause.)

Helping young people build the knowledge and self-respect they need to lead successful lives is at the heart of our Helping America's Youth Initiative. In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush announced Helping America's Youth, and he asked me to lead it.

Over the last year, I've traveled the country to visit communities and meet with young people, and with the adults who are taking an active interest in their lives, helping them avoid risky behavior, like drug use and gangs, and guiding them to make good choices about their lives.

Tonight I encourage everyone to learn more about how you can support our young people. At the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth last October, we introduced an online, interactive Community Guide to Helping America's Youth.

The guide allows communities to assess their local needs and then to find programs and resources to meet them. The information is available on the website, -- g-o-v. We need to make sure all of Connecticut's children have the chance to realize their dreams.

Congresswoman Johnson introduced legislation that would protect tax-free college savings accounts, making the dream of higher education more accessible to all of Connecticut's young people. She's also helped law enforcement protect our children from online sexual predators. Nancy co-authored the law that added prescription drug benefits and other modernizations to Medicare, and wrote the law that established Connecticut's HUSKY children's health-insurance program.

One of the best ways we can encourage Connecticut's young people to make good choices about their lives is by offering them the hope of good employment -- which requires a strong economy. Nancy has worked successfully to cut taxes for Connecticut families, helping small businesses and manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs.

And Rob campaigned successfully to keep the New London submarine base open - (applause) -- making sure valuable jobs stayed here in the 2nd District.

Another way to boost local economies is by having beautiful and historical places for people to visit. I've just come from The Mount, Edith Wharton's home in Lenox, Massachusetts. Last year The Mount won a Preserve America Presidential award, as part of President Bush's initiative to protect our priceless cultural and national heritage.

Connecticut has made a strong commitment to preservation.

Three of your cities -- Norwalk, Wethersfield, and Bridgeport -- were recognized as Preserve America communities. (Applause.) And your state is taking good care of our national treasures, which Connecticut, of course, has many. In Hartford, you have the homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. And like The Mount, these museums give us a unique insight into the minds and personalities of beloved authors who shaped the course of America's history.

Chris understands the importance of making sure these historical and cultural sites of Connecticut's rich history, and America's, are preserved for future generations. The National Endowment for the Humanities is a partner in Preserve America, and Chris has worked very hard with his colleagues in Congress to secure vital funding for the NEH and for the National Endowment for the Arts. Thank you, Chris. (Applause.)

During these crucial times in our nation's history, we need people in our state and national capitals who see the immense promise that's everywhere in our country, and who look forward to the task at hand, no matter how difficult it might be. And Connecticut certainly has these people in Chris, and Nancy, and Rob. So let's make sure you re- elect them in November. (Applause.)

As I worked on my remarks for tonight's event and looked at the resumes of each of these Congress people, I was struck by how different they are, how they have different expertise -- but how alike they are in how public service is so important to them -- and what great examples they are for each one of us, and certainly for all of our children. Connecticut is represented so well with these three Congress people in the United States. And so I urge you to work very, very hard continue to work all the way to November, until they're re-elected.

Thank you so much for supporting these great Representatives. (Applause.)

END 7:23 P.M. EDT

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