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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 14, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Roskam for Congress Luncheon
1:09 P.M. CDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for your very warm welcome. I'm so happy to be with you here today in Illinois, and I want to thank you, Peter, for your kind introduction. I also want to recognize how terrific Elizabeth was. Wasn't she great? (Applause.) In the crowd, I want to recognize Illinois Republican Party National Committeewoman, Mary Jo Arndt, who is one of my good friends. Mary Jo. (Applause.) I think that the Mayor of Addison is here, Mayor Larry Hartwig. Is the Mayor here? Oh, there he is. Thank you, Mayor. (Applause.) And I also want to recognize the Roskam children -- Gracey and Frankie and Steve and AJ that I met. (Applause.)
You know, politics really is a family business. Everyone gets involved, whether they want to or not. It's just a fact of life. When you love somebody who's running for office, then you want to stand with them and you want to be with them and help them as much as you possibly can. And when you run for office, you know that it will affect your family, that you've subjected your family to criticism that they might not ever hear otherwise if you didn't have the courage to run. You know they'll hear the person they love criticized, because that's just a fact of life in politics. And I think it's really very, very encouraging when we see people who want to be in politics, who are serving for all the right reasons. And certainly Peter is one of those people, and it's particularly encouraging that his family wants to be with him and wants to stand with him. So I want to thank you all for that. (Applause.)
I'm delighted to be here to support Peter's campaign for the United States Congress, and I'm delighted that each and every one of you are here, as well. It's very important that Peter is elected to the United States Congress.
After 31 years in the House, your great representative, Henry Hyde, leaves big shoes to fill. But as Congressman Hyde himself has said, Peter is the right man to fill them.
Peter will bring to Washington the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his time in the State Senate, ensuring that Illinois tax dollars are spent responsibly. Just like he told you a second ago, he supports the idea of Presidential Line Item Veto so that we can really eliminate unnecessary spending from the federal budget.
In Springfield, Peter has opposed tax hikes. He's authored 14 bills to lower your state taxes, and we know that in the United States House of Representatives, Peter Roskam will support tax cuts. And the tax cuts are what fueled our economy. They've helped add 5.5 million new jobs since 2003, and that means 5.5 million people wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.
As your congressman, Peter will carry on the important environmental work he's doing here in Illinois. In Wheaton, he and Elizabeth actually founded their hometown's curbside recycling program. And in the State Senate, Peter has sponsored legislation to increase recycling statewide and improve energy efficiency.
President Bush and I share Peter's commitment to protect our natural resources. You all may not actually have heard this, but in June, President Bush designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument. This designation protects 140,000 square miles of Hawaiian waters and the 7,000 marine species that live there, and makes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands the largest protected marine area in the world.
And in 2003, President Bush announced the Preserve America Initiative, which encourages communities to safeguard their natural and historical treasures. Protecting our environment is one of the most important things we can do for our children, and for our children's children.
Another important way we can help our young people is by steering them away from dangerous behaviors and guiding them toward the knowledge and the self-respect they need to build successful lives.
In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the Helping America's Youth Initiative, and he asked me to lead it. Helping young people learn to make wise decisions for their lives is at the heart of Helping America's Youth.
Since the President announced the initiative, I've traveled to many parts of our country visiting with young people and with the adults who are so important to their lives. I've been to schools and after-school programs. I've visited fatherhood initiatives. I've met with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Last year, here, I visited CeaseFire Chicago, where Dr. Gary Slutkin is trying to make people realize that violence is learned. If you grow up in a violent behavior, that's what you think is normal. And we can really let young people know that it isn't, and that we need to do everything we can to make sure young people have the chance in every single neighborhood in our country.
All of these visits led to a White House Conference on Helping
America's Youth last October. Since then we've had two regional
conferences, one in Indianapolis and one in Denver Friday, a week ago,
where Dr. Slutkin talked there about this anti-violence program that he
has in Chicago. At the conference, we introduced an online, interactive
Community Guide. This guide will help concerned adults learn more about
the problems facing the children in their communities, and then what
their actual assets are, what resources they have in each one of their
communities to address those problems. The guide is available at the
Helping America's Youth website, www.helpingamericasyouth.gov
Senator Roskam has a long record of commitment to young people. And like he told you, once he was a school teacher. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Peter's first job was teaching high school history and government in the U.S. Virgin Islands. And Peter will also tell you that it was one of his favorite jobs, and not just because of the location, either. (Laughter.)
In the State Senate, Peter has strengthened Illinois's education system by supporting families and teachers. He's authored legislation that doubles the child tax credit so that families can save more of their earnings for their children's education. He cosponsored a bill that provides tax relief to teachers who use their own money to purchase school supplies. And he supports school employee background checks so that Illinois children will be safe in their own schools.
We all know, though, that the well-being of families in Illinois and throughout our country ultimately depends on our government's ability to protect them -- by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. Peter will be a champion of the men and women of the United States military.
Thanks to the men and women in uniform, Afghan women and girls can now be educated. It's hard for us to imagine a country that would actually forbid citizens from being educated. But now, little girls are in school all over Afghanistan.
Recently, President Bush traveled to Baghdad to meet with the Iraqi government, and then he hosted Prime Minister Maliki at the White House just a couple of weeks ago. He has pledged that we'll stand with the people of Iraq as they build their new democracy.
Peter Roskam's dedication to the people of Illinois, and his achievements, remind us of why he must be elected to the United States Congress. Peter understands that our country faces challenges too important to be reduced just to politics.
President Bush has an ambitious agenda for the rest of his time in Washington, and he takes his responsibility to the American people very seriously.
Ending our dependence on foreign oil, reforming our immigration system, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, and keeping our country safe from terror are not easy tasks, but they're absolutely vital. To accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations, conducted with civility and respect. And Peter Roskam will be a thoughtful, positive and powerful part of that dialogue.
This is just one reason why Peter is a wonderful leader for Illinois. When you look through his distinguished record of public service, you'll find many, many more.
Thank you all very, very much for coming out today to support Peter. Thank you for your generous support for him. I urge you to redouble your efforts between now and November to make sure Peter Roskam is elected to the United States Congress. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
END 1:20 P.M. CDT