U.S. Representative Susan Molinari Delivers The Keynote Address At The Republican National Convention
August 13, 1996
SPEAKERS LIST: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE SUSAN MOLINARI (R-NY),
MOLINARI: Good evening. I'm Susan Molinari and I am proud to represent a congressional district in New York, the home state of the next vice president, Jack Kemp.
You know, as a matter of fact, last night I called Jack for some advice on what I should say tonight. And he gave me a few suggestions. In fact, he's still giving them to me. I had to put him on hold so I could come out here and give this speech right now. But I'll get back to you, Jack.
I was so honored when Bob Dole asked me to give tonight's keynote speech, and I have some really good news for you. This speech is a lot like a Bill Clinton promise. It won't last long and it'll sound like a Republican talking.
I don't know about you, but I think this is one of the greatest conventions of all time.
Colin Powell and Nancy Reagan made me so proud last night to be a Republican and really proud to be an American.
I know all of us were so moved by General Powell and Mrs. Reagan because both of them spoke to us from the heart -- each of them in their own way. Tonight, I hope to do no less.
Tonight, I, too, want to talk to you about the American Dream because it seems to be slipping out of reach for too many of us. And I want to tell America how Bob Dole and Jack Kemp and the Republican Party can make that dream easier to achieve again.
You know, for the Molinari family, our story began in 1904, when Guyatano and Marie Molinari bundled up their young son and left Italy in search of a dream. And they found it -- on 104th Street in Queens.
That's where my great-grandfather opened up his barber shop, and I'd like to think the red, white and blue-striped pole spinning outside his storefront symbolized his American Dream.
He passed on his passion for hard work, his faith in family and his love of his adopted country to his small son, who passed it on to my father who passed it on to me. And along the way, the American Dream got a little bit bigger, and in just two generations, a seat in a Queens barber shop led to a seat in the United States Congress.
But the truth is Guyatano Molinari lived a simple dream, and it was the same dream shared by a generation. Find a job, marry your sweetheart, have children, buy a home and maybe start a business. And in the process, always provide a better life for your children.
When my husband Bill and I had Susan Ruby three months ago, we began to understand these dreams. You know, you begin to think a little bit less about how the world is, and a lot more about what kind of world you're going to leave behind.
But for many people my age, our dreams and our hopes, which are no different than those of our parents, but are becoming more difficult. Those dreams are becoming more difficult because today they're under real pressures and they're worried.
They worry about their jobs -- and whether they'll still have them tomorrow. They wonder whether they can provide security for their parents as they grow old and opportunity for their children as they grow up.
MOLINARI: They worry about drugs and violence. And every morning, they hesitate at the kindergarten door, if only just for a moment, to let go of that small hand clinging so tightly to theirs.
I don't know a mom today who isn't being stretched to her limit trying to hold down a job while trying to hold down the fort, too. And how many times have we said to ourselves, there just aren't enough hours in the day? And the truth is, there aren't.
Well, Republicans can't promise you any more hours in a day, but we can help you spend more hours at home with your family.
We know people are having trouble just staying afloat, and it's easy to see why. Bill Clinton passed the largest tax increase in history. And now Americans pay almost 40 cents of every dollar they earn in taxes.
The most ever.
Every year Bill Clinton has been in office, taxes have been higher, and family incomes have been lower.
Bob Dole and Jack Kemp have a better idea -- an economic plan for every American who is working harder and taking home less. The Dole- Kemp plan will give every working man and woman in this country a 15 percent across-the-board tax cut.
It is good news. It's good news because it's for all of us.
It's a plan for the single mother with two kids in Detroit who's trying to pay her bills and pay for childcare, too. She'll get $1,000 from the Republican's child tax credit.
And it's a plan for a grandmother in St. Louis who was hit hard by Bill Clinton's tax increase on Social Security benefits. She's going to get to keep all the benefits she's earned and deserves.
And it's a plan for a young couple in Pittsburgh trying deperately to buy their first home. For them, it's going to mean lower interest rates and mortgage payments they can afford.
We can do better with Bob Dole and Jack Kemp. And that's what this convention and this election in all about.
CROWD: Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp!
MOLINARI: Clearly, the American people understand we simply can't go on like we have for the last four years. Something has got to give or people are just going to give up.
We say, "We can create a real opportunity for everyone with a dream."
We can do better.
Now, under Bill Clinton, Medicare will be bankrupt in less than five years. But his president would rather play politics than muster the political courage to rescue it.
Republicans will save Medicare and protect Social Security so people can stop worrying about their parents' and their grandparents' health and security. We must do better.
You know, we are a generous people. We are a generous people. But when a welfare system traps millions of children in poverty and dependency, common sense tells us that we need change for their sake.
And I'm proud to say that because of Bob Dole and the common- sense Republican Congress, we finally ended welfare as we know it.
And we've got to stop the explosion...
We all know, we've got to stop the explosion in drug use by our kids that we've seen over the last three years.
We must elect a president this fall with a zero tolerance for drugs in our schools, our playgrounds and in our workplaces. This is a fight we cannot lose.
We can do better. We can elect Bob Dole.
Now, I got to know Bob Dole during my first term in Congress. He had contacted me near immediately, and asked me to work with him to stem the growing trend of crimes towards women and children.
MOLINARI: We worked closely together to produce legislation that gave women and children strong new protections against sexual predators by closing loopholes that let rapists and child molesters go free.
It seems very important. But it seems that we've always counted on Bob Dole to do what's right for all Americans, and he has never let us down.
Now, think about Bill Clinton. He promises one thing and does another. He hopes we'll forget his broken promises. But I ask you -- have you forgotten that Bill Clinton promised a middle class tax cut, then passed the largest tax increase in American history?
MOLINARI: I didn't think so. Have you forgotten that Bill Clinton promised common-sense health care reform, only to impose a huge Washington-run bureaucracy health care system on all of us?
MOLINARI: And have you forgotten that Bill Clinton promised to balance the budget, first in five years, then 10, then seven, then nine, then went on to veto the first balanced budget in 25 years?
MOLINARI: Americans know that Bill Clinton's promises have the lifespan of a Big Mac on Air Force One.
CROWD: Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp!
MOLINARI: Now, while that little tag line may be funny, what's not funny is what Bill Clinton is doing to the promise of America.
Two hundred years ago, it was that promise of freedom that inspired the first generation of Americans to found a nation. A hundred years ago, another generation bound up the wounds of a civil war and opened the West.
Thirty years ago, this generation dreamed of the stars and set our foot upon the moon.
And like those Americans who came before us, we have that same opportunity for greatness. Our dreams can be just as big.
This November, we will elect the last president of this century and the first of the new millennium. We can change the direction of our country. It will be a new day for America -- an age of dreams as big and bold as any that have come before.
And we -- every one of us here and every American -- we can be the new patriots and the pioneers, the dreamers and the doers. We can restore the American Dream.
At the end of the day, when I'm rocking my daughter Susan Ruby to sleep, I look down and wonder what her life will be like. And I want the best for her. I want a country free from danger, a nation and a world where she's free to believe in greatness and achieve her fullest potential.
But she'll never know that life if we continue down the rudderless path we have been on for four long years. We have a choice. We can change the future for our children.
The unique American spirit that defied a king and challenged a continent and conquered space still beats in the heart of every one of us. But we must have a leader that shares our dreams.
So tonight I leave you with one last wish that I have for my child and for all of our children.
I want my daughter's earliest memories of our nation's leader to be of a man who still dreams, despite adversity. A man who dreams of peace because he's known the horrors of war. A man who dreams big because he knows what it's like to begin life with so little. A man who asks the best from each of us because he's never given America anything less of himself.
I want my daughter to have a future that still loves heroes, where character still matters, and America's leaders can inspire us and comfort us with the courage of their vision.
There is nothing sadder than to look into the eyes of a child without dreams and see nothing but the empty stare of lost hope. Well, that's not my America, and that's not Bob Dole's America either.
On the day that my great-grandfather first opened the door to his small barber shop decades ago, his dreams made my dreams possible. Each generation, by its actions, must open the door for the next. We must leave behind a legacy of hope and opportunity.
So this November, let us look deep into the eyes of our children and listen hard to that still small voice that lies within each of us, for we must elect a president not just for this generation, but for generations to come.
We must choose the better man for a better America. And that man, we know, is Bob Dole.
Copyright 1996 By Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.
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