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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 24, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at John Gard for Congress Rally
The Swan Club
De Pere, Wisconsin
5:49 P.M. CDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much for the very warm welcome to Wisconsin. Everybody seems really happy to be here. (Applause.) I'm not sure, though, if it's just the leftover glow from the Packers' win this weekend. (Laughter.)
I want to recognize Sue Green who is in the office, wife of Congressman Mark Green. (Applause.) And I would encourage you, of course, to vote for Mark Green when you vote two weeks from today.
Also joining us is State Representative Terri McCormick. Terri, thank you so much for being with us today. (Applause.) State Representative Phil Montgomery is here. (Applause.) And the Mayor of Green Bay, Mayor Jim Schmitt, is with you. Thank you so much, Mayor. (Applause.)
And of course I have to recognize John's wife, Cate. (Applause.) When your spouse is in politics, you're involved, whether you want to be or not. (Laughter.) And we know that successful politicians have families who stand with them and who are there with them all the time. In fact, several members of John's family -- even his in-laws -- are here with him today. (Applause.)
John happens to have a special appreciation for the demands on a political spouse, because he stood with Cate as she served the people of Wisconsin as a state representative, as State Treasurer, and as Revenue Secretary under Governor Thompson. (Applause.) Thank you, Cate, for your public service. And thanks to all of John's family for your support for John and Cate. (Applause.)
I'm so happy to be with you today to support John Gard's campaign for United States Congress. John cares deeply about the people of Wisconsin, and in Washington, he'll be a passionate advocate for the people of the 8th district.
John will bring to Congress the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his public service. As a member of the State Assembly and, since 2003, as Speaker, John has cut the taxes Wisconsinites pay on health insurance premiums and on their Social Security income. He helped pass an income tax cut that saved the people of your state $1 billion. (Applause.)
And in Washington, Speaker Gard -- Congressman Gard -- will support President Bush's tax cuts. (Applause.) These tax cuts have fueled our economy, and they've helped add 6.6 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 6.6 million more Americans wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job. (Applause.)
There are few people more committed to creating jobs in Wisconsin than John Gard. Speaker Gard first learned the value of employment as a young man, working on his family's dairy farm in Lena. John was the first member of his family to go to college, and he paid for his education by washing dishes at a restaurant in Lena. He tended the ovens at a bakery in Oconto, working at pickle and bean-canning factories in Gillett. (Laughter.) I know how to say it. (Applause.)
In Madison, John has dedicated himself to helping people throughout Wisconsin enjoy the self-reliance that comes with employment. He's improved the business community in your state by supporting tax cuts for Wisconsin manufacturers, so they can expand their businesses and create more jobs. He's supported tax incentives for companies that invest in research and development, making Wisconsin enterprise more competitive.
In the Assembly, John supported the Job Creation Act, which reformed your state's regulatory system to attract more high-paying jobs to northeastern Wisconsin. And he created the Welfare to Work program, helping more people throughout Wisconsin provide for themselves and their families. (Applause.)
Offering young people the hope of good employment is one of the most important things we can do for our children. Another way we can help our young people is by steering them away from risky behaviors, and guiding them toward the knowledge and the self-respect they need to build successful lives.
Speaker Gard has a strong record of commitment to young people. Through support for Project KidSafe and Amie's Law, John is helping parents, police chiefs, and sheriffs monitor convicted predators, keeping Wisconsin children safe in their communities. (Applause.) In the Assembly, John led the effort to expand the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, allowing thousands of low-income families in underperforming school districts to send their children to excellent schools. (Applause.)
We all know, though, that the well-being of Wisconsin families and the well-being of people throughout our country ultimately depends upon our government's ability to keep them safe -- by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. In Washington, John will be a champion of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.)
And thanks to our troops, the Iraqi people are now free from the oppression of Saddam Hussein, and they're working to build a democratic future for their country. (Applause.)
And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. (Applause.) It's hard for us to imagine a country that would actually forbid half of its citizens from being educated. But now, little girls are in school all over Afghanistan.
All of us are proud of the men and women who are deployed around the world defending our country. (Applause.) Every day, thousands of these young men and women risk their lives overseas to make sure that their families, and all of our families, are kept safe here in the United States. Their love of our country, and of liberty, never wavers, and neither does their belief in their mission.
Many of these young men and women have given their lives for this belief. Around the country, President Bush and I meet with their families. In military hospitals, we meet with their fellow soldiers who've been wounded in combat.
And from our troops and their families, the President and I hear the same request: that we honor the sacrifice of these men and women by seeing their mission through. (Applause.) They ask the American people to stand with our troops until they've succeeded -- in ensuring that the Iraqi people have a government that's stable, and Iraq is an ally of the United States.
John Gard appreciates our troops' sacrifice. He understands that this election is critical to the future of our country. And he knows that America faces challenges too important to be reduced to simple politics. (Applause.)
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 terrorism are not easy tasks, but they're absolutely vital goals. To accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations, conducted with civility and respect.
The right to have these conversations is part of what makes our country great, and our democracy strong. We must be mindful that people around the world are listening to these discussions. Responsible candidates understand that the men and women of our military are risking their lives for us overseas, and that we must conduct our debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops who are in harm's way. (Applause.)
It's critical at this very important time in our history that all of us stand with John and our Republican candidates, since they are a thoughtful and positive powerful -- powerful part of this national dialogue -- a dialogue that strengthens our democracy and supports those who defend it.
Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting John Gard's campaign for the United States Congress. Thanks especially to all of the volunteers for your hard work -- stamping the mail, making the phone calls, and knocking on doors. You've already done so much to help John, and in the next two weeks, he'll need more of your energy and enthusiasm. (Applause.)
Go to the phone banks, knock on those doors, and talk to your neighbors about John and about all of Wisconsin's great Republicans. They need your support, and our country needs them. (Applause.)
Thank you all so much. Thank you for coming out today. Thanks for coming to say hello to me. Thank you in advance for all the hard work you're going to do to make sure John Gard and all of our Republican candidates are elected on November 7th. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)