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

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 4, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at John Sweeney for Congress Reception
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Saratoga Springs, New York

5:09 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, John, for that very nice introduction. Thanks to each and every one of you for the very warm welcome to New York. I also want to recognize the Chairman of the Saratoga County Republican Committee, Jasper Nolan. Thank you for being here with us. (Applause.) And also on the stage is Mary Sweeney, the daughter of John Sweeney. (Applause.) And John's wife, Gayle Sweeney, is on the stage with us, as well. (Applause.)

You know, when your spouse is in politics, you get involved whether you want to or not. (Laughter.) And we know that successful politicians have families who stand with them and are there with them all the time. So thank you to Gayle and to Mary for supporting your husband and your dad. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be here with each and every one of you in Saratoga Springs. I was disappointed that the track season was already finished, but I'm happy to be here for an even more important Saratoga race: John Sweeney's campaign for the United States Congress. (Applause.)

John cares deeply about the people of New York, and in Washington, he's distinguished himself as a powerful advocate for the 20th district.

During his eight years in the House, Congressman Sweeney has brought $280 million in federal funding to the 20th district. (Applause.) He's a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and serves on the Homeland Security Committee, where he helped secure $21 billion for New York's recovery efforts after the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And as Vice Chair of the Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, John helped expand operations at Albany International Airport, allowing major air carriers to service the Capital Region. He ensured that I-87 was designated a "high priority corridor" to receive federal highway resources, improving transportation options and quality of life for his constituents.

Congressman Sweeney grew up in public housing in Troy, and through his subcommittee work to support HUD, John is helping other residents of the Capital Region live in safe, affordable housing. And he's ensuring that New Yorkers can realize the dream of owning their own home. Thank you for that, John. (Applause.)

John brought to the Congress the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his time in public service. He makes sure that New York tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. He supports President Bush's tax cuts, which have fueled our economy, and have helped add 5.7 million new jobs since 2003. (Applause.) And that means 5.7 million more Americans wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

There are few people more dedicated to bringing jobs to New York than Congressman Sweeney. In Albany, through his service as New York's Labor Commissioner, John improved employment opportunities throughout your state. And in Washington, John has helped eliminate taxes and regulations that have hindered job growth in eastern New York.

Congressman Sweeney helped to protect the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which provides federal assistance to Tech Valley and other new manufacturing centers in the Capital Region. He supports the new Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta, and secured more than $20 million in federal funding for tech initiatives that will launch the campus. (Applause.) And John helped bring Advanced Micro Devices to Malta to build a computer chip manufacturing plant there -- a project that will create more than 2,000 high-paying jobs for the people of the 20th district.

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 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 to after-school programs. I've visited fatherhood initiatives. I've met with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I visited gang intervention programs, where I've met with young people who are leaving gangs and finding jobs. And just before I came here, I visited the Colonie Teen Youth Court program that was really terrific. It's a way for young offenders, without real serious offenses, to be able to go through a teen court to pay back to their community with community service, and then to have to serve as jury on another teen court. And I met several kids whose lives had been turned around because of this teen court.

All of these visits led to a White House Conference on Helping America's Youth last October, and then to two regional conferences recently in Indianapolis and Denver. At the conference, we introduced an online, interactive Community Guide. This guide helps concerned adults learn more about the problems facing youth in their own communities, and then what they can do about these problems. The guide is available on the Helping America's Youth website, which is -- that's g-o-v. I encourage you to look at the website and use these resources here in your own communities.

Congressman Sweeney has a strong record of commitment to young people. He secured funding for literacy programs -- just like he told us -- that benefit school children in the 20th district. And he's led the effort to keep harmful drugs like methamphetamines and steroids out of New York communities and away from New York's children. (Applause.)

We all know, though, that the well-being of young people in New York and throughout our country ultimately depends on adults' ability to protect them, as we've been reminded in recent days by the school shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, and just this week in Pennsylvania. Families across the country are saddened and troubled by these attacks. Next week, the White House, in partnership with the Departments of Education and Justice, will host a National Conference on School Violence. The conference will help affected communities heal in the wake of such tragedies, and will equip Americans with the information they need to ensure that their children can learn in safety.

But keeping young New Yorkers safe also requires protecting our country from foreign threats, by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. (Applause.)

John Sweeney understands the needs of our troops at this crucial time in our country's history. He's introduced legislation to help members of America's armed forces -- men and women who are using sophisticated electronic devices and systems in the course of their duties -- pursue advanced education in engineering, technology and science. And in the House, John is a champion of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.)

Tonight in the crowd, I met one young man who received a Purple Heart in Iraq, and I want to thank him again for his service. I met a couple, the Browns, who lost their child, their son in Iraq. And every one of you -- every one of us salutes you. And we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. (Applause.)

And thanks to our troops, the Iraqi people are now free from the oppression of Saddam Hussein, and are working to build a democratic future for their country. (Applause.) And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. It's hard for us to imagine a country that would forbid half of its citizens from being educated. But now, little girls are in school all over Afghanistan.

All of us are so proud of the men and women who are deployed around the world, defending our country overseas, to make sure that our families are kept safe here in the United States. (Applause.)

John's dedication to the people of New York, and his achievements, remind us of why he must be reelected to the United States Congress. (Applause.) John understands that America faces challenges too important to be reduced to just 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 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. And John Sweeney is a thoughtful and positive part of that dialogue. (Applause.)

This is just one reason why John is a wonderful leader for New York. When you look through his distinguished record of public service, you'll find many more.

Thank you so much for coming out to support John. Thank you for your generous support of his reelection. I urge you to redouble your efforts between now and November to make sure John Sweeney is reelected to the United States Congress.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

END 5:23 P.M. EDT

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