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Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Tipper and I are traveling across the nation this week to talk not just about the future of our schools, but also the future of our nation.

Early in this decade, with President Clinton's strong leadership, we set out to put America back to work. And today, the gifts that surround us are great. We have built a strong and growing economy. For many of our families, it is a time of firsts: first child to go to college, first mortgage for a first home, first regular paycheck.

I want to keep our prosperity going and I know how to do it. I want to do it the right way B not by letting people fend for themselves, or hoping for crumbs of compassion, but by giving people the skills and knowledge to succeed in their own right in the next century. And I want to extend our prosperity to every corner of our land -- especially to the farmers and farm communities that are hurting right now.

But as important as prosperity is, we can go further.

Just visible within a generation's journey is a new horizon: a 21st Century America with stronger families, stronger communities, and a more vital democracy -- in which we live and govern according to our highest American ideals.

I love this country with all my heart. I believe in its future. And I know that with our history as our rudder and our ideals as our compass, we can reach our new horizon.

And so today, I ask you to join with me, to keep our economy growing and to bring a new wave of fundamental change to this nation starting with revolutionary improvements in our public schools.

I ask you to join with me, to build safe and livable communities, where we protect our environment, and restore the quality of life we deserve.

I ask for your help to strengthen family life in America. And I make you this pledge: if you entrust me with the Presidency, I will marshal its authority, its resources, and its moral leadership to fight for America's families.

With your help, I will take my own values of faith and family to the Presidency B to build an America that is not only better off, but better. And that is why today, here in Iowa, I announce that I am a candidate for President of the United States.

Seven years ago, we needed to put America back to work -- and we did. Now we must build on that foundation. We must make family life work in America.

We have closed our budget deficit. But today, we find a deficit of even greater danger, one that only seems to deepen the harder we work, and the better we do. These are our deficits now: the time deficit in family life; the decency deficit in our common culture; the care deficit for our little ones and our elderly parents. Our families are loving but over-stretched.

The crisis in the American family today knows no boundary of class or race. It is a challenge we share together, and it is one we must overcome together.

There are many ways we must meet this challenge.

We must make our communities safer for families. While some want to pass new protections for gun manufacturers, to shield them from lawsuits, I will work to get guns off the streets, out of the schools, and away from children and criminals. And I will lead the fight against deadly crystal meth.

Families deserve refuge from a culture of violence and mayhem. I will work to give parents the ability to protect their children from the marketing of cruelty and degradation.

Parents deserve help balancing work and family. I want to bring after-school programs to every community in America. And no parent should have to risk losing a job to go to a parent-teacher conference at school, or to drive a child or an aging parent to the doctor. I will expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure that.

American families deserve a strong economy. I know what works. I will balance the budget or better -- every year. I will search out every last dime of waste and bureaucratic excess. I know how to do that. I will ask Congress for the power to reach new trade agreements, and open new markets to our goods and services -- but I will also ask for, and use, the authority to negotiate labor and environmental protections in those agreements, whenever necessary. My Administration will lay the foundation for groundbreaking economic innovation -- a subject I will address in New Hampshire tomorrow.

One of the best ways to help American families is by making America's public schools the finest in the world. And so, with your help, I will bring revolutionary improvement to our schools.

Iowa has always cherished education. It's no coincidence that the University of Iowa was founded less than two months after Iowa became a state. And I was proud to come to Iowa, one month ago today, to announce my plan for revolutionary improvements in education.

Let me tell you about my plan for revolutionary improvement in public education. And I'll start by making high quality pre-school available to every child, in every family, throughout the entire United States.

I will reduce class sizes, and establish high standards and accountability. Here at the very first college to establish a chair in teacher training, let me tell you: I want to improve teacher quality, and treat teachers like professionals.

Here at the school with the lowest undergraduate costs in the Big Ten, we can still do more. I will make it easier for parents to save for college tuition and job training tax-free, and inflation-free. In this Information Age, education should last a lifetime.

I will work with parents and teachers to use new technology to tailor learning to each child. I will mount a crusade to turn around every failing school in America. I want to bring more discipline and character education to our schools. And every school in America has to be drug-free and gun-free.

As Iowa helps to choose our next President, you will face a crucial choice on education. Some want to give up on our public schools, and drain away the dollars with vouchers. Others will excuse their indiffrerence by saying there should be no national role. I want to be your President because I want to fight for the fundamental change our public schools need. And it will be my number-one priority for investing in the future.

Now I want to give you the chance to ask me about my plan for revolutionary improvement in our schools and how we can all work together, to our schools places of excellence and good character.



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