Susan Molinari

Keynote Address at the 1996 Republican National Convention - Aug. 13, 1996

Susan Molinari
August 13, 1996— San Diego, California
1996 Republican National Convention
Print friendly

Good evening. I am Susan Molinari and I am proud to represent a congressional district in New York, the home of the next Vice President of the United States...Jack Kemp.

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. I had to put him on hold just now so I could come out here and make this speech. I'll get right back to you, Jack.

I was honored when Bob Dole asked me to give tonight's keynote speech, and I have some good news. This speech is a lot like a Bill Clinton promise. It won't last long and it will sound like a Republican talking.

I don't know about you, but I think this is one of the great conventions of all time.

Colin Powell and Nancy Reagan last night made me proud to be a Republican and proud to be an American.

I think all of us were moved by General Powell and Nancy Reagan because both of them spoke to us from the heart--each 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.

For the Molinari family, our American story began in 1904, when Guyatano and Marie Molinari bundled up their young son and left Italy in search of a dream. They found it--on 104th St. in Queens.

That's where my great-grandfather opened his barber shop, and I 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. 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.

Guyatano Molinari lived a simple dream. 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 those dreams. You begin to think less about how the world is and more about what kind of world you will leave behind.

For many people my age, our dreams and our hopes are no different than those of our parents, but people today are under real pressures, and they are worried.

They worry about their jobs and whether they will 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.

They worry about drugs and violence, and every morning at the kindergarten door, they hesitate, if only for a moment, to let go of that small hand clinging so tightly to theirs.

I don't know of a mom today who isn't being stretched to her limit trying to hold down a job while trying to hold down the fort at home, too. 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's 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 a plan for all of us.

It's for a single mother with two kids in Detroit who is trying to pay her bills and pay for childcare, too. She'll get $1000 from the Republican's child tax credit.

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'll get to keep all the benefits she's earned and deserves.

And it's for a young couple in Pittsburgh trying to buy their first home. For them, it will 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 is all about.

Clearly, the American people understand we simply can't go on like we have for the last four years. Something has to give or people will just give up.

We say, "We can create real opportunity for everyone with a dream." We can do better.

Under Bill Clinton, Medicare will be bankrupt in less than five years. But this 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.

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've finally ended welfare as we know it.

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 zero tolerance for drugs in our schools, in our playgrounds and our workplaces. This is a fight we cannot lose. We can do better. We can elect Bob Dole.

I got to know Bob Dole during my first term in Congress. He asked me to work with him to stem the growing trend of crimes toward women and children.

We worked closely 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 we have always counted on Bob Dole to do what's right for all Americans, and he's never let us down.

Now, I ask you to think about Bill Clinton. Has he ever let you down?

He promises one thing and does another. He hopes we will forget his broken promises.

But I ask you: Have you forgotten that he promised a middle-class tax cut and then passed the largest tax increase in American history?

Have you forgotten that Bill Clinton promised common-sense health care reform, only to impose a huge, Washington-run health care system on all of us?

And have you forgotten that Bill Clinton promised to balance the budget first in five years, then ten, then nine, then seven--only to veto the first balanced budget in 25 years.

Americans know that Bill Clinton's promises have the lifespan of a Big Mac on Air Force One.

While that may be funny, what's not funny is what he is doing to the promise of America.

Two hundred years ago, it was the 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 walked upon the moon.

And like those Americans who came before us, we have the 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 can 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 across the land--we can be the patriots and pioneers, the dreamers and the doers of this new age. We can restore the American Dream.

At the end of the day while I'm rocking Susan Ruby to sleep--I look down and wonder what her life will be like. I want the best for her. I want a country free from danger. A nation and a world where she is free to believe in greatness and achieve her fullest potential.

But she will 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 the continent and conquered space still beats in the heart of every one of us, but we must have a leader who shares our dreams.

So I leave you with one last wish I have for my child and for every child.

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 has known the horrors of war.

A man who dreams big because he knows what it means to begin life with so little. A man who asks the best from each of us because he's never given America any less of himself. I want my daughter to have a future that still loves heroes, where character still matters and America's leaders inspire 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. That's not my America, and it's not Bob Dole's America either.

On the day my great-grandfather first opened the door to his small barber shop decades ago, his dream 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, let us look deep into the eyes of our children and listen hard to the 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 Susan Molinari. All rights reserved.

Speech from