The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 19, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Evening Reception for Chafee-Rhode Island Victory 2006
Providence Biltmore Hotel
Providence, Rhode Island

5:51 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Senator. Thank you very much, Senator Chafee, for your kind introduction and for the warm welcome to your beautiful state. I want to recognize Susan Carcieri, wife of the Governor. Thank you so much, Susan, for being here with us. (Applause.) And Stephanie Chafee, who is here, thank you, Stephanie, very much for joining us. (Applause.) Oh, and the Governor is here now. The Governor has shown up. Where is the Governor? Oh, there you are. Hey, Governor. (Applause.) I heard from Susan that the Governor was out at a commencement address, but I'm glad he was finished and was able to make it here with us. Thank you, Governor.

I also want to recognize the Chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, Patricia Morgan. Is Patricia here? Thank you very much. (Applause.) Kerry King, who is the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Kerry, thank you. (Applause.) Bill Harsch, Republican candidate for Attorney General. (Applause.) And Sue Stenhouse, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State. Thank you, Sue. (Applause.)

I'm so happy to be in Rhode Island and to have this chance to support your United States Senator, Lincoln Chafee. (Applause.) Lincoln is an important member of the United States Senate. For him, public service is a family tradition, and there's nothing wrong with that. (Applause.) Since 1999, when Lincoln replaced his late father, John Chafee, in the United States Senate, Lincoln has worked hard for the people of Rhode Island and for all Americans.

Lincoln has been a passionate advocate for making sure the government spends American tax dollars responsibly. He's co-sponsored the Presidential Line Item Veto Bill, which will help the President veto unnecessary spending from our federal budget.

Lincoln supports the President's efforts to make America energy independent. In the Senate, he's promoted sustainable energy sources, working to provide tax incentives for the purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles. And Lincoln's bill to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will curb air pollution, and save taxpayers money at the gasoline pumps. (Applause.)

And like the Senator said, he and I share an enthusiastic support for historic preservation. Because of Lincoln Chafee's efforts, Newport's Marble House and Chateau-sur-Mer estate were recognized as National Historic Landmarks just last March. He's worked hard to secure federal funding so local landmarks like the Providence Performing Arts Center, and Block Island's Southeast Light receive much-needed repairs. Lincoln has also been a champion of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, restoring the ecological health of the river so that it's safe for wildlife and for recreation.

My husband shares Lincoln's commitment to historic preservation, and in 2003, he announced the Preserve America Initiative. This initiative encourages communities like Newport, Block Island, and Providence to preserve and care for our priceless cultural and natural heritage. Preserve America can also help boost local economies, because recognized historical landmarks attract visitors and businesses to communities.

One part of our country that's especially in need of preservation resources right now is the Gulf Coast. This region is steeped in some of America's most fascinating history and culture. And as the Gulf Coast recovers from the hurricanes, we must help areas affected by the storms restore their treasures so that all Americans can enjoy this region's heritage for always for our future.

So this fall, in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, I'll host a Preserve America Summit in New Orleans. The summit will convene experts in historic preservation, conservationists, cultural scholars, archaeologists, and representatives from federal agencies and the private sector.

These authorities will review our national historic preservation programs -- which, by the way, are about 40 years old, Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Natural Preservation, or National Historic Act -- and propose improvements to make them more effective. The summit will also help make our national treasures more accessible to the American public, and will help communities use their cultural attractions to boost local economies. And of course, this will be especially important along the Gulf Coast, where well-preserved and well-presented history can help revive local business and speed economic recovery.

Leading up to the summit, we'll have a series of 12 forums, hosted by federal agencies and private sector partners, to address a variety of preservation topics. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in partnership with Tulane University, will kick off the first forum on May 31st. The Tulane conference will focus on the rich culture of New Orleans, from its regal, colonial architecture to its artistic contributions as the birthplace of jazz.

This summit is just one part of the great work Preserve America is doing throughout the United States. In the three years since President Bush announced the initiative, we've also honored historical organizations, history teachers, and entire communities -- 372 of them, in fact -- for their preservation work.

Rhode Island may be a small state, but you've made a big commitment to preservation: 20 of your cities and towns -- (applause) -- 20 of your cities and towns have been designated Preserve America Communities, including Providence.

And in March, Preserve America presented Rhode Island with a $120,000 grant -- which Lincoln accepted -- (laughter) -- recognizing your efforts. (Applause.) Your state has also received over $4 million dollars in grants from Save America's Treasures. Save America's Treasures and Preserve America complement each other: one program works with grants to rescue America's historical resources, and the other encourages Americans and their communities to use these resources to their benefit. Rhode Island's excellent preservation efforts have earned you honors from both programs, so congratulations to all of you. (Applause.)

And congratulations especially to Senator Chafee. His hard work on behalf of your natural and historical treasures is just one example of his love for your state. Another way Lincoln expresses his commitment to Rhode Island is the way he represents you in the Senate.

Lincoln understands that Rhode Island, and America, face issues that are too important to be reduced to mere politics. And he knows that President Bush has an ambitious agenda for the rest of his term. Ending our dependence on foreign oil, reforming our immigration system, rebuilding a beautiful and better Gulf Coast, and keeping our country safe from terrorists are all vital goals. (Applause.) To accomplish them, we need serious national conversations conducted with civility and respect, and I know Lincoln's voice will be a thoughtful, positive voice in that dialogue.

In the Senate, we need serious and enthusiastic people like Lincoln Chafee, people who see the immense promise that's everywhere in our country, and who look forward to the task at hand. So let's work hard to make sure Lincoln is re-elected to the United States Senate this November. (Applause.)

Thank you all. Thank you all for your support of Lincoln. Thanks, everybody. Thank you all very much for your support for your Senator. Redouble your efforts to make sure he's re-elected. Elect your entire slate of Republican candidates that are here that are terrific. And I want to thank you all for coming out tonight. Thank you for your generous support of Senator Chafee. Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)

END 6:01 P.M. EDT

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