Remarks by Governor Pete Wilson at campaign kick-off
California Steel Industries, Fontana
March 8, 1994
Thank you. It's a great thrill for Gayle and me to be here . . . especially to see
CSI growing and creating jobs.
I've come to the Inland Empire to launch my campaign for re-election, because here
is where the revival of California must begin. Here is where we must begin to take
back our streets from
violent crime . . . where must reclaim our schools from drugs and gangs . . . where
we must begin to create new jobs again.
God knows Californians have seen more than our fair share of adversity in recent
years. Since taking office, I've had to declare natural disasters in 56 of California's
58 counties. We've had
everything from fires and freezes to earthquakes and mudslides.
We've been hit just as hard with manmade disasters. No one knows better than the
people of this community the jobs we've lost to defense cutbacks and closed military
Times are tough, but Californians have never been ones to sit back and merely suffer
change. Our state has always attracted people with the grit and determination to
shape their own future. That's what we must do today. We must lead the change,
we must shape the future.
The truth is, we've already begun. When I took office four years ago, our state
budget was a runaway train headed for a wreck. We turned it around, not just slowing
the growth in spending, but actually cutting. In three years, I've reduced state
spending by $147 for every man, woman and child in California.
I cut 111 state boards and commissions and reduced the number of state employees
as a percent of the population to the lowest level since Ronald Reagan was governor.
Government can give people in need a hand up in life, but it shouldn't give them
a hand out. But that's what California's welfare system was doing when we took office.
In fact, it was punishing people who chose the dignity of work over the dependence
of the dole. We changed that. Now, work finally pays better then welfare. And
The San Diego Union Tribune called our changes "a national model" for welfare
We'v also set the national standard when it comes to helping children. Even as we
cut spending throughout state government, we have increased education spending every
year for the past three, we doubled the number of four year olds in pre-school and
provided hundreds of thousands of young school children with health care and proper
nutrition through our Healthy Start program.
And to protect our children from violent crime, we're about to start getting the
laws we need to keep dangerous criminals off our streets. For three years, I've
asked the Legislature to send me tougher
laws to help make California safe. Well, this month, they're finally going to deliver.
If they come through, I'll sign the toughest crime bill California has ever seen.
And it will send a very simple message to career criminal: Three strikes and you
. . . are . . . out.
Next to making California safe for our families, my highest priority as Governor
has been making California safe for jobs.
When I took office, California had a business climate that was chasing jobs across
our border. Years of accumulated rules, regulations and red-tape had created a job-killing
machine. So, we cut taxes, reformed workers' comp, and slashed red-tape. And we
got results. Major employers like Intel, Pac-Bell, and the Danish Toy company Lego,
have responded by announcing hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments that
are creating thousands of new jobs for California.
We've turned a job-killer into a job-creator.
In fact, in the past year, California created 240,000 new jobs. That's the best
year we've had since 1988. But it's just a first step in a long journey. We still
have far to go, we still have much to do.
Look at the young people who scrape and struggle to get an education but then have
tomove back home because they can't find a job in the field for which they've studied.
Look at the working people around California who can't find a job to support their
family, or if they've got a job are afraid they'll lose it with the next round of
defense cuts or next Washington tax hike.
We must revive California's economy not as a end in itself, but because it will give
these people the future they deserve.
This steel mill is an example of what we can achieve with the right kind of leadership.
This mill was struggling against international competition, but instead of seeking
protection from the competition, you met it head on. You're building a thriving
enterprise that can compete and win against the best in the world.
We've made state government a partner rather than an opponent to that success. We
put together a group of bureaucracy busters that we call a Red Team. It cut the
permit process for the CSI expansion from a matter of years to a mattter of months.
When this project was announced, the pundits said it would be a test of California's
new commmitment to job-creation. Well, I'm proud to say wemet the test, we made
But we face other challenges. Even though we've turned the corner in reviving California's
economy, we have a long way to go in making it healthy again.
Californians still face tough times. And to get through these tough times, we need
more than ten point plans and catchy slogans. What California needs today is strong
and unflinching leadership.
Ladies and gentleman, the Governor of California must be many things -- a crisis
manager when the earth shakes or the forest burns, a booster for California jobs
across the country and around the world, a person of conviction who can stand up
for what's right no matter what the consequences or who's opposed. But today, above
all, the Governor of California must be one thing -- a leader, a leader who can bring
California through these times to a future of new hope and opportunity.
Ladies and gentleman, I believe I'm the man for that job. I learned about leadership
by example and by experience. I learned leadership from a Grandfather I never knew,
because he gave his life
walking the beat on a city street. I learned it from a father who raised a family,
paid the bills and taught his children they had better give something back to the
community that gave them so much. I learned leadership serving in the United States
Marine Corp and walking the buckled streets of quake-shaken Los Angeles.
Today, we need leaders who can reclaim our streets from violent crime. We need to
enact the laws that will give career criminals what they deserve -- a livelong stay
behind prison bars. And we need a Governor who can make the tough call when it comes
time to decide clemency for a dangerous criminal facing California's ultimate penalty
-- the death penalty.
We need leaders who're willing to tell Washington the truth about illegal immmigration.
The truth is, it's out of control and it's harming California. Guaranteeing health
care, education and welfare for the families of illegal immigrants isn't just wrong,
it's making the problem worse.
We need leadership to stand up to the special interests to fight for jobs and reform
We need leadership to make the tough choices necessary make California shine again.
California will have a great tommorrow, if we make the right choices today.
Starting here, starting this morning, I'm going to take this massage of a better
future for our state from one end of California to the other.
As Governor, I've travelled nearly a quarter of a million miles around this state,
but today I'm glad to say that we're just getting warmed up. Today, I'm launching
my campaign for re-election. I aks for your support in this campaign to complete
the job we started and this campaign to make California shine again.
Thank you. And God bless you.
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