Robert Dole photo

Press Release - Elizabeth Dole Delivers Remarks at a Ceremony in Her Honor

August 15, 1996

Oh my, thank you for that wonderful welcome, and Robin, thank you so much for your beautiful, beautiful introduction. That really touched my heart. In fact, the whole program has been incredible.

I sat there with tears welling in my eyes. And this is just a day that I'll cherish the rest of my life. And I don't deserve it, but I certainly appreciate it very, very much -- everything that's been said and done today.

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Bless you all -- oh.

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And I just want to say about Robin that one of the nicest things that happened when I married Bob Dole was to have Robin Dole enter my life as well.

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And she's...

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I think it was the Washington Post that mentioned one day this week the dynamic Dole duo -- meaning Robin and Elizabeth...

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... a program that we had been involved in earlier in the week. And certainly, it just a privilege to have Robin here with us and to be a part of this wonderful campaign.

And I want you to know -- those of you who haven't heard -- that she does a great deal of work for troubled teens -- volunteer work as a mental health therapist. And I've shared this story...

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I've shared this story earlier, but I want to repeat it again because it made such an impression on me.

One weekend -- it was a holiday -- and Bob and I were planning to take a trip, and we wanted Robin to go with us. And she said, "You know, Elizabeth, I made a commitment on Sunday to take my girls on a special little outing." And she said, "They've had too many broken promises in their lives, and I simply cannot go with you. I have to be there for my girls."

And that said so much to me about Robin.

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Now I really can't see because the lights are on me and you're in the dark, but somewhere over here is Joanne Kemp and I want Joanne to stand for a moment and let us give her a wonderful round of applause.

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There she is.

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Joanne and I have been warm friends for many, many years, and it's going to be wonderful to have a chance to see much more of you now. We're soul sisters and we're looking forward to moving out together on this campaign -- aren't we Joanne?

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Let's go get 'em.

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I'll just say one word about the gentleman who had to be excused today to go do his homework.

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DOLE: We -- we celebrated -- we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last December 6th, and we knew the Senate was going to have to be in session that night, and we planned to celebrate on the weekend -- Saturday night, all day Sunday was going to be our 20th wedding celebration.

And so I went on to Iowa because, you see, this was a time when things were heating up and Bob needed to be in the Senate that night.

Well, when I got into Storm Lake, Iowa, would you believe, I was taken to a restaurant and I found out that my husband had called -- it was Chuck Grassley who helped him put this together. He had found a restaurant. He had invited a whole lot of friends to celebrate our anniversary with me out in Storm Lake.

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He called the manager, picked out the menu, called the florist and got them to send roses, and then called me in the middle of the dinner. Now wasn't that a thoughtful husband?

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And at the same time, I was thinking about him up in his office in the Senate, so I called his favorite restaurant in Washington and got them to package up a meal. And they didn't carry such things as hot fudge sundaes, but I knew that that was his favorite, so I got another place to send in the hot fudge sundae and he had dinner up in his Senate office while I was out there in Storm Lake.

But I remember the conversation that night. I said, "Bob, you know something, we're as much in love as we were when we were married 20 years ago."

And he said, "No, we're more in love."

So I'll just share that with you.

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That was a special comment.

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And now I want to say to Marilyn Thayer and this wonderful, wonderful Republican women's organization who put on such a beautiful luncheon for us. We -- yes...

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National Federation of Republican Women, thank you.

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Marilyn is doing a marvelous job as leader of the organization, and I just appreciate so much everything that's been done today.

But I've heard, you know, Bob say so often that it's the Republican women who are the backbone of our party. They do so much of the tough, hard work.

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Yes.

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They do the tough, hard work -- helping to recruit the candidates and train candidates and have seminars and conventions and spread the Republican philosophy to all our citizens, and help elect our candidates up and down the line from the courthouse to the White House.

And indeed, what Bob says is they do so much of the work and they don't get nearly the credit they deserve.

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So let's have another big round of applause.

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And thank you, Marilyn.

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And today, my comments are really a brief thank you. But in addition to thanking all those who helped to make this such a special occasion for me and for all of us today, I want to say a few words about the participants on the program.

Leslie (ph) was spectacular. What a beautiful voice. Wasn't that marvelous?

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And I understand that we'll be hearing from the Lauri Bell Trio (ph) and we're very grateful to them, and Anna Q (ph), bless you. We're so glad you're on the program, and thank you for your strong leadership here in the state. Very grateful.

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And then, I'm sure you can imagine just how proud I am of my nephew John Hanford who gave our invocation.

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He's ...

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He's doing tremendous work, religious liberty, all around the world and is just a very impressive young man, who's a young minister, a graduate of Gordon Conwell Seminary (ph) and I'm extremely proud of him. And then I want to introduce my brother John (ph) and his wife Bunny (ph). Would you give two please stand so that we could just say hello to Bunny (ph) and John (ph) Hanford.

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DOLE: And you know we've talked a lot this week about two career families. And Bunny (ph) is a wonderful partner in business with my brother. This is a third generation family business. And Bunny (ph) and John (ph) worked so hard together to make this a very successful enterprise. And now what they're doing with much of their time is just very quietly, without anyone knowing, making a great difference, a positive difference for others through their many kind and compassionate acts.

So, I want to thank you for being so supportive of me, for all that you've done for me through the years. And you'll never know how much it means. You mean the world to me. Bless you.

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Great family.

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And my other nephew, Jody (ph) Hanford, is working for Campus Crusade for Christ. He's been on commission over to Russia two times now. And I was about to have Bill Bright (ph) stand because Bill is his boss. But I think he may have come around to the back because he's going to be giving the benediction.

But Bill is the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. And also Bill just recently won the Templeton Award which is world wide one of the most prestigious you can possibly win.

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Bill Bright (ph).

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And now let me just say a few words about those who made comments today who've worked with me over the years. Jenna Dorn, has been like a strong right arm. We've been together at the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor and the American Red Cross. And Jenna's been right there all the way, making such a tremendous difference.

But in speaking of women, and opportunities for women, I recall especially at the Department of Transportation, when I was very new as secretary, and I must tell you, it's sort of a male bastion. You know, because you're involved in highway construction and shipbuilding and air traffic control. And I said, how many women do we have at the Department of Transportation?

And they said, 19 percent are female. And I said, now, this is 1983. I said when the department was established in 1967, how many women were there? You know what the answer was, 18 and a half percent. We'd come up a half a percentage point from 1967 to 1983.

So, we decided to set up a program to help women enter the field, move up the ladder, and receive opportunities in this important area of transportation, because, frankly, a lot of the higher paying jobs in the private sector are in this area.

DOLE: So Jenna was the one who helped put the program together. And it may not sound like a lot. We got the percentage up four percentage points while we were there. But when you have 100,000 people in your workforce, that's a lot of women. So we were kind of proud of that record.

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I knew we were making progress when a pilot told me one day -- he said, "Mrs. Dole, the strangest thing happened. I was flying into a major city, and there were three different voices on the air traffic control system. And all three were female."

And I said, "Right. The program's working."

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And Carrie Dominguez (ph) did a tremendous job for me at the Department of Labor. As you heard, she was an assistant secretary and Carrie (ph) was responsible for crashing through that glass ceiling. And we had an investigation of nine corporations just to determine whether qualified women and minorities at the middle level were being moved forward. In other words, were they in rotational assignments? Were they in development programs? Training programs? Rewards structures that are the indicia of upward mobility in the corporate world?

And we definitely found a glass ceiling. Now, never would we intend to say to employers, "You must hire this person or that" or certainly not quotas or preferences, no. But what we want is to open doors and to help people to have a level playing field so that they can start out at that starting gate on a level field and then it's up to them where they finish at the end.

It's on merit, but give them an opportunity...

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... give them an opportunity.

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Carrie (ph) has carried her concern for women right into her most recent job where she helps to find women and recruit women for corporate boards across America. So if anyone's interested, talk to Carrie (ph), OK?

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And then Tillie Fowler (ph), my very, very dear and special friend of many, many years. I have to tell you a little bit more about that hearing that Tillie mentioned.

We were before Congressman Dan Flood of Pennsylvania when those comments were made, and actually, that particular day, our wonderful boss and mentor, Virginia Knauer, was to have surgery. And Virginia was to leave early, and she'd already arranged that Tillie (ph) and I would take over the hearing when she had to leave to meet her appointment.

And what happened was that once Virginia left, we heard the chairman -- Congressman Flood -- put his hand over the microphone and say, "Are we going to let these kids take over this hearing?"

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I think Tillie (ph) and I both would be happy to hear those words today.

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But that has forever been emblazoned on my mind. It was quite an experience.

DOLE: And you know, when I mention Virginia Knauer, let me just say that I do feel that we still need to network as women. We need to reach out and help young women who want to follow in our footsteps.

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And whether it's as homemaker and mother and volunteer -- such enormously important roles -- or whether it's in the marketplace and the workplace. Certainly, I was helped. I remember so well that not only Virginia but others like Margaret Chase Smith were a great inspiration to me.

Margaret Chase Smith took the time to meet with me -- just a young college graduate 22 years old. She gave me an hour of her time, and she recommended that I go to law school. And I do think it's important that we provide that open door so that young women can benefit from our experiences, and maybe we can point out a few pitfalls along the way and help them as they make their plans to move forward.

So certainly Lisa Vizell (ph) is one of those young women that I'm so very proud of, who's certainly going to make a name for herself. I think we're going to hear more from Lisa, don't you?

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She did a great job.

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And Lisa, I thank you for all the public service work that you're doing as a part of the Youth in Action. I think you've also manned that hotline for troubled teens. They have to have 50 hours of training on the hotline before they can help with troubled teens.

And Lisa's been doing that as well as getting certified in CPR and first aid and other Red Cross courses, which give young people the self-esteem that they need to move ahead.

So again, I thank everyone who participated on the program, who came today to share this very special time with me. It has a been a privilege to be with you today, and it is an experience which I assure you I will cherish the rest of my life.

Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you.

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Robert Dole, Press Release - Elizabeth Dole Delivers Remarks at a Ceremony in Her Honor Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/315582

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