George Bush photo

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Courter in Bloomfield, New Jersey

November 03, 1989

Thank you for that -- I was going to say warm Bloomfield welcome, but I'm delighted to be here. And to Governor Kean, my dear friend who's done such a great job for this State, I'm proud to be with him.

It's a special pleasure to be with my friend, Congressman Jim Courter. I have the good feeling. You're looking at a guy who doesn't believe in these polls. Why? Because it wasn't so many months ago I was miles behind, and now I am the President of the United States of America.

And to the Speaker Chuck Hardwick; and to our mayor, my friend John Crecco; and our new Republican chairman, Kathleen Donovan; and our many distinguished members of the assembly; and candidates -- a team of winners. And don't let me overlook the fine Members of the New Jersey congressional delegation standing down here -- strong friends of Jim, strong supporters of this President. I'm delighted to see them all here: Chris Smith, Marge Roukema, Matt Rinaldo, Dean Gallo, Jim Saxton. And thank you for this welcome back. We've got some other winners here today -- the great, the famous Bloomfield Bengals, who I understand are on a hot streak.

John and I were talking about the last time I spoke in Bloomfield was during last year's campaign. It was a great visit because the 1980's have been good to this town. The economy is strong. People are at work. And of course, this says a lot about the citizens of Bloomfield, but it also says a lot about New Jersey and about the United States of America. Today more people and a higher percentage of our work force are at work than at any time in our history -- 119.3 million Americans. And today our peacetime record economic growth has created over 20 million new jobs, 233 more in October alone. And our challenge then is to keep creating the economic growth that produces jobs in America, especially in the State of New Jersey.

And for the last 8 years, we've had a top-notch team leading this great State. Together, Tom Kean and a Republican State assembly, led by Speaker Chuck Hardwick, here, have made New Jersey great again. And look at what has been accomplished. Today New Jersey's business climate ranks eighth in the country. The unemployment rate has dropped. And six tax cuts have been signed into law, including the largest income tax cut in the history of the State of New Jersey -- that is good government.

And there has been a tremendous progress in education, with tougher standards for students and higher teacher salaries. And New Jersey has become one of the Nation's leaders in environmental protection, with an ambitious toxic waste program -- clean it up -- record numbers of acres of wetlands, open space set aside for preservation. As I look to a State to help define a new policy for the United States of America, I look to New Jersey and Governor Tom Kean and the others responsible for this.

And so, together, Governor Kean and the State assembly have made breakthroughs in welfare reform, put an end to overtaxation, overregulation. So, under Republican leadership there is a new feeling of pride here in New Jersey. And I don't blame you. You've got a lot to be proud of. And that's what this campaign, the Courter campaign, is all about.

Too much is at stake -- New Jersey's future is at stake -- for us to let the Democrats take over the Governor's chair. And too much is at stake for us to let the Democrats take back the statehouse. Too much is at stake to let the Democrats take us back to that old New Jersey of the 1970's. We cannot let that happen. If the voters of New Jersey want to gamble, they go to Atlantic City. But they know better than to risk their economy on the Democrat's big spending and high-taxing policies. Remember those old days? High unemployment, business and jobs leaving the State. Our kids were failing in schools because our schools were failing our kids. Pollution threatened our air and our water and our parks and our beaches. And we cannot go back. We must not go back. And we have got to keep New Jersey proud, and we have got to keep New Jersey Republican.

A word about our assembly and a word about our great candidate for Governor: In our State assembly, New Jersey Republicans are our main defense against the Democrats' tax and spend policies. Our team is fighting to protect your wallet from the tax hikes the Democrat leadership has already threatened if they win control of the assembly. Bloomfield's own Marion Crecco, and her running mate, Assemblyman John Kelly -- the Kelly-Crecco team -- will fight the Democratic tax plan. And so will the Roma-Schuber team from Bergen County, and the Hardwick-Frigerio team from Union County, as well as the DiGaetano-Kogut team from Passaic and Wallington.

We've got a great group here, but having the best policies is no guarantee of winning elections. It's no coincidence that our party's slipped to minority status in Congress as we became a minority in the State legislatures across the country. Today, Democrats have a redistricting advantage in States that compose about 90 percent of the seats in Congress. And fortunately, New Jersey isn't one of those States, yet. But every voter must have a say in the election process, and we must fight gerrymandering and disenfranchisement. And we have simply got to keep New Jersey Republican. I want to build a better America, and you can help me by building upon what Governor Kean began 8 years ago. And you can help me by returning that Republican majority to the State legislature and by keeping a Republican in the Governor's mansion. We need you and America needs you. And on December [November] 7th, we need you to vote because there is too much at stake: your low taxes, your clean environment, and the safety of your streets.

And in conclusion, with me on this stage is the man who will bring New Jersey into the next decade -- a decade of continued progress in protecting our environment, improving education, fighting crime -- your next Governor, Jim Courter. Jim knows firsthand -- and I've seen him in action in the United States Congress -- he knows firsthand what it is to be tough on crimes and drugs. And as a county prosecutor, he personally tried 120 drug cases. In Congress, he has been a strong leader in the battle for tougher penalties on drug users and drug pushers, including the death penalty for the drug kingpins. And his opponent voted no, his opponent voted no to tough mandatory sentences for drug dealers. And he's against strengthening the death penalty law on New Jersey's books so that it can be enforced. It is about time that the other side learns that voters can be hard on politicians who are soft on crime. I want a Governor who is going to back up the local men and women in our police forces who lay their lives out for us every single day of the year.

Jim Courter knows what's good for New Jersey's future. He's voted consistently to cut taxes, hold the line on spending, and he's promised no new taxes, and he means it. And so, he's not going to stop there. He knows we need a bold new system to get those insurance prices down -- you've heard him on that. What he's talking about is working in Michigan, it's working in Illinois, and he'll make sure that it works right here in the State of New Jersey.

Tom Kean, God bless him, has led this State -- and I will say, our country -- to greatness in the 1980's. And Jim Courter will lead New Jersey into the 1990's to the same greatness. He knows what's at stake. And with your help, Jim Courter, like Tom Kean in 1980, will come from behind, and on November 7th, become the next great Governor of the State of New Jersey.

You know, John Crecco and I were talking about this -- this is the 177th anniversary of the town of Bloomfield. And a few minutes from now I'm going to participate in a tree-planting ceremony to mark the occasion. Six months ago I planted a tree out there to mark North Dakota's centennial. It turned out to have some kind of disease. [Laughter] So, in the interest of public safety, here in Bloomfield they specifically asked me not to dedicate a building. [Laughter]

But nevertheless, 61 years ago, the townhall behind me was dedicated by the then-mayor of Bloomfield. The mayor said that day: "May the people fight for the ideals and sacred things of the town and strike unceasingly to quicken the public sense of civic duty in all these ways to render our town greater, better, and more beautiful." Well, I think the citizens of Bloomfield have fulfilled that Republican mayor's dream for this town. And I know they and hundreds of thousands like them, from the sands of Cape May to the highlands of Sussex County, can make another dream for New Jersey come true -- to continue the enlightened, progressive leadership of the last 8 years in the statehouse.

The choice is clear: Return to the failed Democratic policies of the seventies or keep New Jersey a proud national leader in environmental protection and education reform and the war on crime. There is too much at stake. New Jersey must remain proud. Keep it Republican. Thank you for this fantastic turnout. God bless you. And please vote for Jim Courter on Tuesday. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:58 p.m. at the Bloomfield Townhall. Following his remarks, the President traveled to Camp David, MD, for a weekend stay.

George Bush, Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Courter in Bloomfield, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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