Provided by the staff of former New York Gov. George E. Pataki, here is the text of the speech Pataki gave Thursday morning in New Hampshire as he launched his presidential campaign.
Thank you. Thank you all for being here.
As I look around this room I see so many friends from Peekskill and New York, from Texas and Illinois, and of course from here in New Hampshire. THANK YOU.
Many of you helped me get elected Governor of New York three times. And you are here again. Thank you for your loyalty!
Y tambien gracias a todos mis amigos que estan con nosotros hoy.
We are here in Exeter, NH, birthplace of the Republican Party.
Abraham Lincoln's party, who saved the Union and brought the promise of freedom to all Americans.
Teddy Roosevelt's party, who fought for the Square Deal, to make sure the rich and powerful couldn't limit the freedom of working Americans.
And Ronald Reagan's party, who restored Americans' belief in ourselves and in the transcendent value of freedom; the freedom that has given us the greatest country the world has ever known; the freedom a man named Amos Tuck, declared as the foundation of that party right here in Exeter, NH.
The same freedom that I fear is at risk today from an ever more powerful, ever more intrusive government in Washington.
It is to preserve and protect that freedom for us that I stand here today. It is to preserve and protect that freedom for future generations that I rise. It is to preserve and protect that freedom that I am announcing I am a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
When people think of NY they generally think of NYC, and I understand that. But my upbringing was quite different. I grew up on a small farm in a small town in the Hudson Valley called Peekskill NY.
My four grandparents were all immigrants who went through Ellis Island.
Peekskill's wealth was not in its money but in its people; black and white, Christian and Jew, both rural and urban at the same time. We weren't wealthy, we weren't well-connected, we weren't well-known. And yet every one of us growing up in that small town believed in the American dream, believed in hard work, and believed in ourselves.
We believed, no we really KNEW that if we dreamed something, we could do it. If we worked hard, studied hard, had faith, family and friends encouraging us, nothing was beyond our reach. We believed in the American Dream, and it was real.
My father was a mailman. When he went to first grade he couldn't speak one word of English. No one ignored him…or lowered their expectations. Instead they helped him learn the skills he needed to succeed.
My mother had to turn down a scholarship to Cornell to work as a waitress. She was the only one in her family with a job during the darkest days of the Great Depression. By the way, she is 99 and doing great, and watching us now live on CSPAN. Thank you mom.
They never saw themselves as victims, they were Americans. And though they might not have had every opportunity for themselves, they knew their children could accomplish anything.
My brother Lou and I worked on our farm as kids. When I was in college during Christmas and summer vacations, I worked at the Fleischmann's Factory with my cousin Bobby, and in the evening and weekends, we'd work on the farm with our other cousins.
For my Dad, working two jobs was the norm. He would leave at 5 in the morning, deliver mail during the day, work on the farm in the evening until dark, and then if the alarm rang in the middle of the night, respond to a fire as Captain of the volunteer firefighters.
It wasn't always easy, but today my brother is an astrophysicist and I am a candidate for the highest office in our country. This is the promise of unlimited opportunity America held for my family and me.
It is that promise of unlimited opportunity, that belief in America, which I want to restore for every family and every child living in America today.
Today, too many Americans feel the best days of our Country are behind us, that our children won't have the opportunities we did.
Government has grown too big, too powerful, too expensive, and too intrusive. Washington politicians and bureaucrats believe they know better than us, and can tell us how to run our lives, from what health care each of us can have, to trying to dictate what every child in every school must learn.
A young mother seeking to open a small business is inundated with oppressive paperwork and regulations and gives up. A small manufacturer seeking to build the next plant and create American jobs is faced with excessive taxes and forced to build the factory overseas.
Too many Americans feel the path of opportunity is closed to them.
We must make sure that it is not.
The problems we face are real. But I've never been one to dwell on problems. I'm a solutions guy. When you grow up on a farm and have a problem, you don't ask the government to solve it, you just figure out what needs to be done, and go do it. That's the American way.
If I have the honor to lead this country, let me tell you some of the things I'd do right away to get oppressive government off the backs of Americans.
- Today, there is one former member of Congress lobbying for every current member and the first thing I would do is ban members of Congress from ever lobbying. If you serve one day, you are banned, go home.
- I'd repeal oppressive laws like Obamacare and end Common Core.
- I'd eliminate excessive taxes that crush small business.
- I'd throw out an incomprehensible tax code written by lawyers at the direction of lobbyists in the interests of the powerful and replace it with simpler, lower rates that are fair to us all.
- I'd lower taxes on manufacturers to the lowest in the developed world so that factories and jobs could spring up here.
- And I'd shrink the size of the federal work force, starting with bureaucrats overseeing Obamacare, and fire every corrupt IRS employee abusing government power to discriminate on the basis of politics or religion.
And let's let every Washington politician know: from now on, you will live under the same rules and laws we do, no exemptions for politicians from laws they impose on us, no special rules for the powerful.
Our justice department will treat all fairly, and uphold the Constitution. No one will be above the law, not even if you are a former Secretary of State whose name happens to be Clinton.
Let's deliver a clear message to the politicians in Washington: you are our servants, not our masters.
We do this and small businesses will thrive. We will make things and build things here in America again. We will create and innovate. Jobs will flourish and peoples' faith in America's future will soar.
Some say this can't be done. That the course of history leads inexorably towards bigger, more expensive, more powerful government.
Don't you believe that for a second.
They told me that when I ran for Governor of New York.
That too many people were dependent on government. That the bureaucrats and powerful interests were too strong. That the people couldn't regain their confidence in NY's future. In a sense they were right: THEY couldn't do it. But I knew that I could. And we did.
In 12 years NY went from a State with the highest tax burden, the lowest credit rating, and billions of dollars in deficits, to a State with 143 billion in lower taxes, billions in surplus, and its highest credit rating in generations.
All it took was for me to get government out of the people's way.
It seems like liberals have so much compassion for the poor that they keep creating more of them. When I took office, we had every poverty program Government could think of, yet one in 11 of every New Yorker was on welfare. Not Social Security or Disability. One in 11 of every man, woman and child in the state of New York, from the tip of Long Island to the shores of Lake Erie, was on welfare.
The American Dream did not seem real to them. But after 12 years of my conservative policies, we replaced dependency with opportunity, resignation with hope, mere existence with dreams, and a welfare check with a pay check. When I left office over 1 Million fewer people were on welfare than when I began.
Conservative policies replaced dependency with opportunity in New York State. I know we can do the same thing in the United States.
I was the Governor of NY on September 11th. It was a horrible time for us, and I'm sure for all of you as well. The personal loss was devastating. It still is.
I saw up close the horrible consequences of too many believing that because radical Islam was thousands of miles away across an ocean, that we were safe in America. Sadly, it wasn't true then, and it's not true now.
The most important thing Government does is provide for the security and safety of its citizens.
Sadly, Washington is not doing that. I will not forget the lesson of Sept. 11th. I fear too many in Washington already have.
To protect us, first we must secure the border.
Yes, I am the proud product of immigrants. But we must know that everyone coming to America is coming here legally, and that everyone coming here is coming not to harm us, but to be a part of a better America.
And, in the face of an increasingly dangerous world this is not the time to weaken America’s military, it’s time to strengthen our military. Not so that we can use it, but so that we don't HAVE to use it. A strong America is a safe America.
Ronald Reagan proved that peace through strength is more than a slogan. Peace through strength is a policy that works. Weakness, equivocation and false promises lead only to chaos, brutality and war. The world is a better place when America is strong, and a champion of liberty and freedom.
Allies and friends of America must know that our word is our bond. We will stand with our ally Israel, a democracy on the front lines of terror and barbarism. We will stand with our allies in NATO and the free Baltic states against a resurgent Russia.
We will make sure the number one sponsor of state terror in the world, Iran, never has a nuclear weapon. We will provide whatever aid necessary to those already fighting ISIS on the ground to stop their barbarism and inhumanity. And yes, if necessary American force will be used to actually defeat and destroy ISIS, so they can pose no threat to us here.
We will not spend a trillion dollars or a decade nation building overseas. But, I will never forget the lesson of September 11th. We will destroy radical Islam's ability to attack us over there, before they have the chance to attack us here.
Our allies must trust us. Our enemies must fear us. And they will.
We will defend our freedom, but we will not be the world's policeman.
Libby and I have 2 sons, both of whom served overseas. Teddy, as a Marine Lieutenant, deployed to Iraq for a year. Owen, as a Lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division, returning from Afghanistan just this past September.
Libby and I know what it's like to lie awake dreading a call in the middle of the night when your child is in harm's way overseas.
I do not want one parent, one husband, one wife, one child or loved one to experience that fear unless it is absolutely necessary. But we will do whatever is required to protect the American people.
While the challenges facing America today are real, I've no doubt we will rise above them.
Think of what this great country has overcome. Washington at Valley Forge, Lincoln trying to hold together a nation divided, Roosevelt facing both the Great Depression and Nazi Germany. Yes, the challenge of a large and oppressive government in Washington is real. But this is still America. The power of freedom is real. And compared to those challenges we’ve overcome in the past these seem trivial. And I have no doubt that we will rise above these as well.
Today, those in the other party, instead of offering ideas, seek to divide. When you have no solutions, instead you offer fear.
They say we, are anti-immigrant!
We the proud children, grandchildren, and descendants of immigrants know that immigration has and will continue to enhance the greatness of this country.
Let's send that party a clear message.
Unlike them, we don't believe newcomers to this Country come so they can get a Government handout. We know they come to work, to strive, to build a better life for their families. And we welcome all who come here legally.
They say we are against the middle class.
This too is nonsense.
Everyone here understands it is the men and women who go to work, pay their bills, and follow the rules that are the backbone of this country.
We are the party of the middle class. Unless by middle class, they mean someone who left the White House "dead broke", and 10 years later had 100 Million dollars. Unless by middle class they mean someone who charges a poor country $500,000 for a half hour speech. That’s their party's Candidate. She speaks for the Middle Class? THEY are the party of privilege; WE are the party of the Middle Class.
They are the party of the past. WE must be the party of the future! I KNOW that with the policies we believe in, we can change the world.
Let the next decade be the decade when the American worker and innovators, the best workforce in the world, accomplish things we can only dream of.
Let the next decade be the decade when Americans finally cure cancer and end for all time the scourge of Alzheimer's.
Let the next decade be the decade when American energy powers the world with our own clean, unlimited resources.
Let the next decade be the decade when Americans travel from city to city in trains faster than planes, in cars that drive themselves, and over paths we have yet to imagine.
Let the next decade be the decade where Americans can have boundless economic growth while enhancing and improving, our natural environment.
Let the next decade be the decade where America proves to the world”: you ain't seen nothing yet.
While I saw the horror of Sept 11th firsthand, in the days, weeks, and months that followed, I also saw the strength of America on display. For those months, we were not Republicans or Democrats, black or white, young or old. We were Americans. We had been attacked and we were going to stand together to show the world that we were unbowed, unafraid, and would come back stronger than ever.
I completely reject the idea that we can only unite in adversity…we’re so much better than that. I know we have true greatness within us because I have seen it countless times.
I have seen what Americans can do when we understand we share common dream, a common future, a common destiny.
I know that working together, with the support of a government dedicated to restoring freedom rather than restraining it, we will once again astonish the world with what we accomplish.
Let us come together as Americans and unite to face the challenges ahead. Let us transcend those challenges and seize the unlimited opportunities the future holds.
Let us move forward so that just as the dreams of that young child growing up in Peekskill came true, so too the dreams of a young child born today, whether in downtown Baltimore or Upstate New York, can come true.
Stand with us, let's go forward together and I guarantee you the 21st Century is going to be America's greatest century!! Thank you, God Bless you and God bless America.