Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a Reception for Gubernatorial Candidate Martin J. Chavez in Albuquerque

July 27, 1998

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for your muted welcome. [Laughter] I am delighted to be here.

Audience members. We love for you to be here. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you. I'm glad to be here for Marty and Margaret, and Diane and Herb, and all the Democratic ticket. I'm honored to be on the platform with Senator Bingaman. And I am very grateful that a man I first met and began to admire almost 30 years ago, Fred Harris, is now the chairman of the Democratic Party in New Mexico. Thank you.

I want to thank all the State officials who are here and the mayor and the speaker and the former State chairs, who are my friends, and all the candidates. But I have to say a special word. You have been so good to me and to Hillary and to the Vice President. New Mexico has voted twice for our ticket and has played a major role in a lot of the policies we have implemented. I almost feel embarrassed to ask you to do anything else just for us, but if you really wanted to do me a favor, you'd send Shirley Baca and Tom Udall and Phil Maloof to Congress and give me a Congress we can work with.

And I want to make one specific comment, and that is, I would ask that people in New Mexico who have voted in the past, for whatever reason, for the Green Party, but who honestly care about that environment, to take another look at the consequences of their votes. And I would like to just mention one thing, just for example, that affects New Mexico.

I've worked hard with Tom Udall and with Jeff Bingaman, who has worn me out about this—[laughter]—to try to get the Baca Ranch preserved. It is the largest volcanic crater in the United States. It's home to one of our biggest wild elk herds. It's an investment not just in the environment but in the long-term economic well-being of New Mexico. I believe the preservation of your natural resources is the key to the new economy of the entire Southwest.

It's one of several places in New Mexico that I have proposed to preserve, on a list of 100 I have sent to Congress. I sent the list to Congress in February. Let me just tell you how it works. We get money approved for these projects, but then under the law I have to send them to Congress, and they have to approve the release of money for the projects.

I sent the list up in February. In April, on Earth Day, I asked again for the money to be released. It's now nearly August, and there's still been no action. Now, it seems to me that that's one more example, here in New Mexico, where the Democratic Party is on the side of responsible, constructive environmentalism. And would hope that all people would look at that before going to the polls again in November and voting in these congressional races.

In a larger sense, let me say that I have been trying since I first came to New Mexico as a candidate to try to prepare this great country of ours for a new century which is very different than the times in which most of us grew up, the times in which our parents lived. Think about what the characteristics of tomorrow will be, not just for someone in Los Angeles or Silicon Valley or New York City or Boston but for someone in Albuquerque or Little Rock or the smallest town in New Mexico or my home State of Arkansas.

No matter how small, we live in a global economy that is basically growing by ideas. The fastest growing thing in the world today is the Internet—by far—fastest growing organism in history—social organism in history. And it is a metaphor, a symbol of how this economy is both going global and rooted in new ideas.

I met a young man yesterday in Colorado who was telling me his story about how he was just a middle class young guy that had an idea, and he's about to take his company public, and he's worth more than he knew existed in the world just 10 years ago because America gave him a chance, but also because he understood where tomorrow will be.

Now, in that kind of economy, the second thing we know is that education for everybody will be more important than ever before. It's always been a personal advantage to have a good education. Now we know our whole country depends upon building the finest opportunities in elementary and secondary education for every child in this country, without regard to their income, their race, their background, or whether they live on a reservation or in a rural community or an inner-city neighborhood.

The third thing we know is that the economy depends upon having an environment that is not only preserved, but it is to some extent improved. You know, I've just been—you've been seeing all these fires in Florida. We've had 20 days of 100 degree temperature or higher, or above, from Dallas east across the whole wide swath of America. The 9 hottest years ever recorded in the history have occurred in the last 11 years; 1997 was the hottest year ever recorded. Every month of 1998 has broken the 1997 record. Now, my daughter's friends used to say, "Denial is not just a river in Egypt." [Laughter] We can grow the economy and have a responsible environmental policy. We can do that, but we have to make a decision to do it. And we have to understand it's one of the big issues out there.

What are the other big issues? I'll just—we can't forget the human element in a global economy. We can't let people get left behind. That's why I'm fighting so hard for this Patients' Bill of Rights. In an economy that is increasingly based on ideas and information and organization, the human element can get left behind. One of the things our party has always done is to remind people of the human element. I'm proud of that. And I think that we have proved in the last 6 years you can take care of the human element; you can take care of the environment; and you can still grow the economy if you do it right.

And the last point I want to make is—and if you look around this room today, you see it illustrated—the world we're living in will reward nations that can reflect that world in the best sense. How much of your time as President have I had to spend dealing with other people's religious, racial, and ethnic conflicts? As America grows ever more diverse, if you want us to do good in a world like that, we have to be good at home. We have to reflect the best of America.

And what's all that got to do with Marty and Diane? I'll tell you what. In this economy that we've produced, I've tried to actually reduce the role of the Federal Government in inessential areas, delegate more to the States where I thought it was appropriate. We now have the smallest Federal Government we've had in 35 years. What does that mean? That means it matters a whole lot more who the Governor is. It matters what the education policy of the State is. It matters what the policy is of moving people from welfare to work and whether you're helping people raise their kids as well as expecting them to work if they're able-bodied. It matters what the environmental policy of the State is. These things matter.

It matters. We passed, in the balanced budget bill, we passed funds to give the States the ability to insure another 5 million kids who don't have any health insurance. But the Federal Government is not doing it; the State is doing it with money we gave them. Therefore, it really matters whether a Governor wakes up every morning worrying about whether some kid somewhere in New Mexico who might get sick, whose family doesn't have any health insurance.

So it is not enough, as important as it is, for you to make the right decisions for Senator and Congress and for President in the year 2000. It really matters to the shape of your children's future who the Governor of this State is. It matters who the Lieutenant Governor is. It matters if they have an approach that is consistent with your values and if they really care about how you're going to live in this great new 21st century.

So I'm proud to be here because New Mexico has done a lot for me and for my family and for our administration. But New Mexico should now do itself a favor and elect this great ticket. Thank you, and God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 2:35 p.m. in the Regal and Registry Room at the Sheraton Uptown Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Mr. Chavez's wife, Margaret; Diane Denish, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and her husband, Herb; Mayor Jim Baca of Albuquerque; Raymond G. Sanchez, speaker, New Mexico House of Representatives; and Shirley Baca, Tom Udall, and Phillip Maloof, candidates for New Mexico's Second, Third, and First Congressional Districts, respectively.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Reception for Gubernatorial Candidate Martin J. Chavez in Albuquerque Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/226522

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