Thank you so much, Governor Kean and Deb, for meeting us, welcoming us back to this great State. I do feel like I've been here many times, and frankly, I wish Tom Kean were still Governor of this State.
I also want to single out Mike Castle, the Governor of Delaware, for making the trip up here in support of our candidates in these important elections that are coming up. Mike was a great leader in the battle for our education program that I'm going to mention -- a minute ago, one of the Governors that was clearly out front in that, doing a great job in one of our neighboring States. And, Mike, thanks for coming all this way.
And I can't tell you what a joy it is to have at my side every day in Washington another son of New Jersey, Nick Brady, our Secretary of the Treasury, so well-known.
And may I salute our chairman, Bob Franks; our Republican leader, John Dorsey; the assembly Republican leader, Chuck Haytaian; along with my old friend, Bo Sullivan. You've got a good team working the problem for the fall, and I'm delighted to be with them.
May I also suggest that you look carefully at the team behind us, the delegation behind us there. New Jersey is well-represented. And I wish all of them well in their quests for the fall, and whatever you're running for, good luck. God bless all of you. Thanks for being here.
Well, I've come here today fresh from -- that means ``immediately from,'' not necessarily ``fresh feeling'' -- [laughter] -- from 2 days of meetings over at the U.N. in New York City. And it really, as Tom said, it is mind-boggling to contemplate the changes that have swept our world in the last few years, even in the last few months. In my address to the General Assembly I tried to provide some context to those extraordinary developments.
Freedom is an idea whose time has come, in Eastern Europe, across the great land mass of Asia, in Africa, and right here in our own hemisphere, right here in the Americas. And let me tell you, every person in this room can be proud of the fact that one nation has been in the vanguard of this exciting movement toward freedom day in and day out, year after year. And that nation is the United States of America. And we all should be proud of it.
Just last month when a coup threatened to set back the cause of freedom and democracy in the Soviet Union, the United States stood firmly on the side of freedom, against the coup plotters, and with the people of the Soviet Union. And after the coup failed, both Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev called me to say how fundamentally important it had been to have the support of the American people. We have that strength for the values that people respect all around the world.
And as Barbara and I travel all around the world, we hear it time and again: America has a disproportionate responsibility to lead. And I can assure you we're going to continue to do that because I believe, and I know this, that it's good for our country. And I think it's good for the cause of world peace.
Tonight I'm here for the same reason many of you are, because we believe in the potential of the New Jersey Republicans. I've been campaigning alongside of many of you in this State for years, and that's why. And as a matter of fact, I think my first political trip as Vice President back in '81, my first one was a State party fundraiser right up the Parkway at Kean College. Exit 140, isn't it? Anyway, it's in there somewhere. [Laughter] But I like to campaign here because New Jersey Republicans typify our belief in faith, in family, and in individual initiative. And that's what New Jersey voters want in their leaders. They're not getting that now, and that's what these elections are about that are coming up just in a few weeks from today.
No matter where they live in this diverse State, the beautiful shore counties down there, and communities over in Ocean County, the suburbs of Bergen and Essex, or the sprawling open country in western Jersey, the counties of Hunterton or Warren -- [applause] -- I knew we'd get this crowd on that one. Chuck brought the team along here. [Laughter] But New Jerseyites are mainstream voters. And I can tell you the Republicans define the mainstream in this State. And because of that I honestly believe, after talking to the political leaders, reading about the problems of the State, the quest for innovation, I might add, that the people in this State want, I believe that Republicans will take back the assembly and the senate in the fall.
And I've heard about the job that's been done by the party leadership and the county leaders recruiting candidates. Proof that the New Jersey GOP is forward-looking and inclusive. And in fact, more women and minorities are running for office as Republicans than as Democrats than ever before. And we'll run on the Republican record, and it's a good record both here in New Jersey and nationally as well.
You've got good top leaders: Bob Franks at the party headquarters and Chuck here in the assembly and John Dorsey in the senate. And they know the principles that Republicans stand for. We stand for free markets and free people, the power of the individual, the potential of innovation. And that's at the heart of our domestic agenda. And we believe in measuring success by how many lives we enrich, how many families we strengthen -- and thank goodness for the family, and how much faith we have in our future. And those are the building blocks for a better America, and Republicans will not forget that.
Our domestic agenda begins by an abiding trust in the American people. And it tries to carry that faith forward into the future. Take, for example, our housing proposals: Turn housing residents into homeowners. That's what it's about. Strip them of the indignity that comes from the hopelessness of living in projects with no real future. Make homeowners out of them. We believe in tenant management. We believe our public housing citizens can manage their own affairs and contribute to our society. And that's the philosophy.
And I'm a little tired of hearing Democrats say we have no domestic agenda. The problem is their domestic agenda is to crush our domestic agenda. They're doing nothing but griping, refusing to consider the new ideas, and sending me a bunch of garbage I will not sign. I'll continue to veto the bad stuff until we get good bills.
Our energy package attempts to conserve energy while encouraging innovation. Our transportation package gives more power to local authorities who know their own needs. And I believe that we're making headway now, real headway if you look at the latest polling figures on drug usage. I believe we're making headway and winning the war on drugs. And the national drug strategy is working. And thank goodness for the people on the front lines: the community groups, the law enforcement people, the private sector, right there at the local level, the level closest to the people.
And our crime package is the most comprehensive in American history. And we're determined to give our streets and our communities back to the people. But we need more help down there in Washington to get our crime package through the Congress.
We've had our share of successes on the domestic front. I take great pride in the fact that we passed child care legislation that puts choice in the hands of parents, where it should be. A Clean Air Act, hailed by environmentalists and business alike, that uses the power and innovation of the marketplace to clean our Nation's air. An Americans With Disabilities Act, the most far-reaching civil rights bill in decades. And that was all passed with the leadership of the Republican administration in Washington, DC.
And right now in Congress there's some debate on how to help the unemployed whose benefits have run out. The Democrats want us to pass a bill and simply not pay for it, push it on over to future generations. And our approach, the Dole Substitute it's called, helps the unemployed, they get the extended benefit, but who pays for the program. And this approach, their approach adds to an already humongous deficit, and ours does not. Ours pays as you go and takes care of those who are in need. And that is the fundamental difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.
I mentioned Mike Castle and education. I might well hark back to the leadership Tom Kean gave in education. Everyone in this State, everyone in the Nation knows of his leadership on education. But our America 2000 education strategy is generating a crusade for excellence in education in State after State and community after community. Your own Tom Kean, as I say, chairs what we call the New American Schools Development Corporation. It's an innovative part of the America 2000 strategy.
Across-the-board we've got a good record on education. And if I might be permitted a word of pride, I happen to think the First Lady is doing a pretty darn good job on volunteer and literacy as well.
No, we've got a good record I believe. The question is getting it out, doing it in a way that is going to help these candidates. I might add, it's very important if we believe in these local answers we'd better get good people wrestling the problems in the assembly. But in order to build a better country, a better America, we've got to have more conviction and courage in Congress and in the statehouses, and certainly, as I say, in the assembly.
It's time to bring New Jersey back to the commonsense policies of the Republican Party. And I believe New Jerseyians will appreciate the GOP really does stand for growth and opportunity and prosperity, especially after the last few years. From my vantage point, I don't want to be prognosticating and be one of these guys that relies on the latest figures, but I think it looks a little shaky for the Democrats. [Laughter] I heard that some of the Democrats in Trenton were calling the captain of that Greek cruise liner for advice on how to abandon ship. [Laughter]
Our administration's economic growth agenda promotes growth and opportunity. And it's for all Americans. And our economic growth package is one that creates a right climate for business to flourish. We want to bring down the tax on capital gains so that investors will invest money in new businesses, new ideas, and new jobs. And even though I think this economy, sluggish as it's been, is recovering, the best thing to do to create new jobs would be to pass that capital gains differential. It isn't a relief bill for the rich. It's a jobs bill. And we ought to get it passed.
We've been pushing incentives to save. Tying into this unemployment compensation debate, we're going to have that on the floor. We need more R D, we need more savings incentives like these IRA's. And that's part of the Republican approach. We want to bring that deficit down, and so I am determined -- we have caps now on spending, and I am determined to enforce those caps and not let the Democrats who want to spend try to go around the budget agreement that was worked out last year.
Another area that I take pride in, is that we are for free trade. We're determined that America will remain a world leader in the global economy and because we want to open up the world to American products. In the last 4 years alone, some of you may not realize this, exports from the United States have increased 55 percent, more than twice the rate of import growth. And right now exports have galvanized our economy. Though our economy has been sluggish, it's the exports side that has been very vibrant.
We can build on our strengths to create more growth, more opportunity, and more prosperity if we have sound and sensible trade policies.
One more point: Last year, regulations cost the economy at least 5 billion -- regulations. And we're trying to do something about that. The Vice President's Council on Competitiveness has targeted burdensome regulations, you know the ones. They strangle productivity. They defy logic and don't effectively or efficiently protect the public interests. And it's time we cut through this tangle of redtape and cleared a path for economic growth.
I know some of you don't like this nostalgia, particularly given what you're putting up with today. But during the Kean administration, New Jersey was an economic powerhouse. And it can be again. It's time to unleash this power of the imagination. Tom touched on that and worked on that when he was a Governor. And it's time to do that now. It's time to bring commonsense government back to Trenton.
And speaking of common sense, most people know Thomas Paine's famous words: ``These are the times that try men's souls.'' But most people don't know that Thomas Paine, true story, wrote those words while in New Jersey during the American Revolution. Well, these times, let's face it, try men's souls. And once again, you can make history in New Jersey. It may not have that same context of a revolution, particularly when you compare it to the changes that are taking place all around the world still, in Eastern Europe and, hopefully, in the Middle East and other areas. But this year you can do something about it. This year this State can go Republican. And I believe that the people of this State deserve leadership and common sense. I think that means they deserve a Republican assembly and a Republican senate.
So, I came up here tonight to thank our leaders, to wish these candidates all the best, and to tell you this parenthetically: I looked around the room, and we had a little receiving line before I walked in here, and I saw so many faces that were very supportive of me as I ran for President of the United States in 1988. Probably almost everybody in this room. Maybe we've got a few converts, I don't know. [Laughter] But I would simply say this: If you get the feeling that I like my job, you're right. There has never been a more exciting time in recent history to be President of the United States. I'm proud to be there. I'm grateful for our support. Now, give me the kind of philosophical support in Trenton, and I'll be happier still.
Thank you very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 6:40 p.m. at the East Brunswick Ramada Renaissance Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Thomas Kean, former Governor of New Jersey, and his wife, Debbie; Governor Michael N. Castle of Delaware; Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas F. Brady; Assemblyman Bob Franks, Republican State Chairman; John H. Dorsey, State Senate Minority Leader; Garabed Haytaian, Assembly Minority Leader; Joseph Sullivan, president, New Jersey Governor's Club; President Boris Yeltsin of the Republic of Russia; and President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.