TOPICS > Politics

Congressman John R. Kasich Speaks at the GOP National Convention

August 13, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


JOHN KASICH:  Let me just say how proud I am to be a member of the Republican Congress, a Congress dedicated to deeds, not words. Instead of playing that old Washington game of saying one thing when you run for office and doing another after you’re elected, or telling people what you think they want to hear, we’ve done something most people don’t expect from politicians.

We are working hard every day to keep our word. From reforming welfare, to forcing Congress to live under the same laws as the rest of America… To making health insurance more available and affordable, to shrinking the size of the Washington bureaucracy, we told you what we we’re going to do, then we did it. And we did it all with one simple principle in mind… restoring the American Dream for our children. If you’re like me, you grew up with parents who worked hard. My dad carried mail on his back for 29 years. My mother would walk rather than take a bus, just to save 50 cents. My parents educated three kids without a dime of student loans … so their kids would have more than they had. I’m proud to serve in a Congress where our goal has been to make America better, with our childrens’ future as our guiding star.

As we approach the 21st century, we must all be part of an effort to guarantee the promise of a brighter future for all of those who will follow us. That is America’s greatest legacy — that our children are left with more than our parents left to us. A big part of that promise has been our work to balance the budget. You may think the budget is simply about numbers and green eye shades, but it’s far more important than that. Budgets are about ideas, values, and most important, they are about people. Senator Phil Gramm of Texas said it well:


Our budget efforts in Congress have not been about cutting and slashing; they’ve been about sending your power and your money back to you in every city and town across America. We’ve put our faith and trust in people in neighborhoods, communities, and families. We know that you, America, can develop better solutions to local problems at less cost than Washington bureaucrats. We can reclaim our neighborhoods, we can reclaim our communities and we can rebuild our families and ensure that our childrens’ future will be protected.

Americans won a great victory for common sense when Congress passed the welfare reform bill last month. We’ve all known for years that Washington hasn’t gotten it right, that we can only make welfare work by running it where we live. Where I come from, we believe that it’s wrong not to help those who need our help. But it’s also wrong to help those who should be helping themselves. And who wins under this plan? Quite simply, it’s the children. It’s good for the children of Welfare recipients, who learn about the American work ethic, and it’s good for the children of those Americans who get up and go to work every day. They’re the Americans who pay the bills. We also believe that parents don’t need Washington bureaucrats to tell them whether their children are learning in school. We know that quality education comes about only through moms and dads working with teachers in the schoolhouse to achieve excellence. Education gives every kid a chance to be president of the local bank or president of the United States. As Bob Dole has suggested, teachers and schools should compete for the privilege of educating our children. And the children will be the real winners in this competition.

And what better way to empower people than to cut their taxes and let them keep more of what they earn, as Bob Dole has proposed. When my mother went to work, our family moved forward. We could even buy a car with an automatic transmission. Now, mothers and fathers both work just to keep from falling behind. We need to cut Americans’ taxes to reward them for hard work. No longer should the average American family pay more to the tax man than for food, clothing, and shelter combined. You see America is about the rewards of walking the extra mile, the rewards of reaching for the stars — for everyone.

Our program is about one more thing, too. It’s about re-establishing a strong spiritual base in our country, reattaching our souls to one another, and sending a clear message to God that he is being invited back into American life. We cannot be prepared for the new century without returning to the fundamental values on which our country was founded. As we look to the year 2000, we cannot help but be excited about the challenges before us. We know deep in our soul that our program of returning power, money and influence to Americans will help us meet those challenges. And we know we can restore basic American values and good old fashioned common sense.

We’ve done much already, but as the Beatles sang a quarter century ago, “it’s a long and winding road” — as we reconnect with America. But with President Bob Dole leading our party… a party built on trusting the American people, we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful, more beautiful America not just for our generation or our childrens’ generation, but for the next century and beyond. Thank you and God bless you.