Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Luncheon With Local Elected Officials and Businessmen in Baltimore, Maryland

July 13, 1982

Well, Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for the lifetime pass and for the seal. I'll have to fight Nancy for that— [laughter] particularly on cold winter nights. [Laughter]

Well, Mayor Schaefer, thank you very much. This has been a very wonderful day. It's long delayed. As you know, a storm did away with this, and we had the lunch in Washington and—because that big thing I fly around in wouldn't fly in that storm.

I promised our group before we came up this morning that this would be a memorable visit, a time of learning for us all. Now, of course, it isn't a time of learning for Senator Mathias or for our lovely Representative Holt here and—from Washington—but they must get a reinspiration from coming back here every once and a while. There is so much going on.

Governor, all you other ladies and gentlemen, when I said it'd be—it has been a time of learning for all of us. After touring the bindery and seeing this breathtaking view of the harbor, I know I speak for everyone when I say we're impressed, and congratulations.

I just propositioned the mayor here and asked him if I could have him for 2 years' detached service in the south Bronx. [Laughter] And, Bill Verity, 1 I made sure that you've been talking to him, and he said you have. [Laughter]

1 Chairman of the President's Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives.

I think we've seen a vision today of our cities, and it works. As you strive to meet the industrial demands of tomorrow, you've kept faith and preserved the fine traditions of the past.

Shakespeare said, "The people are the city." Baltimore is a city of, by, and for its people—a place of excitement, growth, diversity, full of sound, color, warmth, and delight. The renaissance that you're creating and enjoy would not have been possible without a strong, shared commitment between government and industry, a partnership for progress between the public and the private sector. This is the cornerstone for rebuilding our cities and restoring hope to our people.

As you know, we intend to return more decision-making to State and local governments. I've been talking about that already this morning to the National Association of Counties, who have been meeting here. We'll return tax resources, as well as responsibilities, to the levels of government closest to the people.

We want to save the Federal programs that have worked. But much of what the Federal Government has tried in good conscience to accomplish has not worked.

Baltimore has been the recipient of many Federal programs. Yet there are areas of this city beyond Harbor Place that face severe unemployment. The problem is deeply imbedded. It produces pain, frustration, and a loss of hope. And unless we correct it, dreams that are every American's birthright will have been needlessly destroyed. And I know that, being with your mayor these several occasions, and particularly this morning, I know that that's not going to happen here. And I'm determined to not let it happen elsewhere.

I think it's time for new ideas that can produce real solutions. And the best social program is a productive job for anyone who's willing to work. That's why we're urging the private sector to get more actively involved in job training and urban development. The business of business is America. And that's why we're calling on the Congress to take prompt action on our enterprise zone proposal. And I am reinspired to press for that after what I've seen that has happened here without our enterprise proposal.

The people at this luncheon today and the communities that you represent are doing much to combine private and public resources to revitalize America. Bill Verity has told me of the Blue Chip-In program here in Baltimore. Private companies are investing in programs that create jobs, train the unemployed, and provide some emergency services to the city. And the efforts here in Baltimore and your work in cities across America are proof that our potential is unlimited if the public and private sectors can and will work together.

Some say their mission is to save free enterprise. I say their mission—or our mission-is to free enterprise so together we can save America. And with your help and continued leadership that's what we're going to do.

And now, since we're about a year late, let's have lunch. [Laughter] Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 11:57 a.m. in the Constellation Room at the World Trade Center. He was introduced by Mayor William Donald Schaefer, who presented him with a lifetime pass to the National Aquarium and a large, stuffed toy "Presidential" seal.

Following the luncheon, the President returned to Washington, D.C.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Luncheon With Local Elected Officials and Businessmen in Baltimore, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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