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Text: Remarks by Education Secretary Chao to the Republican National Convention

FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004; 9:29 PM

The following are remarks by Secretary of Education Elaine Chao at the 2004 Republican National Convention:

CHAO: Well, thank you, Mitch. 


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Before I start, I have to give a very special hello to my home state delegation of Kentucky.


It is so important, it is so exciting to be in New York.

This is where I grew up and where my family still lives. And so I want to say a special hello also to my parents, my sisters, and my brothers-in-law who are here, also, with me.


You know, when I was just a little girl, my father had a dream of a better life for our family that took him across the Pacific Ocean to a land called America.

Three long years passed before my mother, sister and I boarded a freighter to join my father here.

It wasn't the Mayflower. It wasn't the Love Boat. But it brought us to this magical country and reunited our family so it was beautiful to me.


At first, the American language and culture were difficult obstacles for us to overcome. And one evening, shortly after moving into a small one-bedroom apartment in Queens, we were surprised by the doorbell.

Nobody knew us, so we wondered "Who could be at our door?" And when we opened the door, we were startled by the sight of a mob of people in disguise, pushing bags in our faces while chanting something that we couldn't understand.

We thought we were being held up. Terrified, we emptied our cupboards and gave them all of our food.

And that was our first introduction to Halloween.



Well, since those early days, faith, hard work and the kindness of new friends carried my family forward and made it possible for me to become the first Asian-Pacific American woman to serve in the Cabinet of a president of the United States.


But I am not alone. President Bush has appointed a record number of Asian-Pacific Americans to the highest levels of his administration. 

CHAO: And he has opened doors of opportunity to millions of other Americans, as well, by ensuring that quality education is available to everyone so that all Americans have the skills they need to compete in the 21st century work force.

President Bush began by transforming our nation's public schools and by extending PELL Grants to 1 million additional college students.


And now he has challenged Congress to provide more support for America's community colleges, which train workers for high-growth fields. 


He has also called on Congress to reform our federal job-training programs to make them more effective.

Now, for workers experiencing unemployment, the president has proposed personal re-employment accounts, which workers can use to get the training and the support that they need.

Thanks to President Bush's tax relief, the economy is expanding, creating more than 1.5 million new jobs in the last eleven months. 


And today, the national unemployment rate is lower than the average for the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s.


Yet this president will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.


CHAO: You know, for 400 years, people have come to America seeking freedom and opportunity. And many, like me, still remember the early days of struggle and promise on American soil.

For us, President Bush speaks our language, the language of opportunity, family and a better future for each new generation.


This is the language we speak in America. This is America's promise of opportunity. Our ability to put the talents of a nation to work depends on the re-election of our president, President George W. Bush.

© 2004 FDCH E-Media