WE ARE ILLINOIS
WATCH: Remarks by Congressman Mark Kirk
Congressman Mark Kirk
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
June 29, 2010
Good morning – thank you all for coming today.
The problems our country and our state confront in the summer of 2010 are among the most difficult and urgent as any we faced in our lifetimes. This year’s election will determine whether or not we chart a new course toward restoring the confidence in the ability of our government to meet America’s challenges.
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The United States is mired in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Economic growth is anemic.
Unemployment hovers around ten percent nationally and even higher in Illinois. The numbers increase when you include people who gave up hope of ever finding a job and withdrew from the workforce.
Consumer confidence remains low. Foreign competition to every sector of our economy grows stronger each day. While traditional sources of jobs and income are disappearing, we find tougher competition in new industries from countries that only a decade or two ago struggled to feed themselves.
Our government continues to overspend and pile up debt at a terrifying rate that could ultimately damage our economy with inflation, high interest rates and a weakened dollar. Generations of Americans will struggle to pay the costs of our extravagance.
Washington searches for new taxes to offset its reckless spending rather than curtail its waste. Many of the new tax increases fall disproportionately on small business employers, the primary job creators of our economy - depriving them of the means to grow and hire more people.
We need to change our ways:
The way we budget;
The way we spend;
How much and who we tax;
The way we structure and run our spending programs.
We need to change the way we regulate businesses to make sure that reckless and dishonest business practices do not destroy the savings of innocent Americans. Most importantly, we should not stick the American taxpayer with another bill for other people’s greed.
Congress needs to make it easier for well-run, honest employers to grow and compete in the global economy.
We need to plug the hole in the Gulf, clean up the mess and assess liability.
Moving forward, we should rebuild a bipartisan American energy independence policy based on domestic sources, nuclear power, and permanent incentives for wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy.
America is fighting wars in two countries. We made great progress in Iraq. But we still face challenges to ensure the Iraqi government is capable of defending its democracy as the United States withdraws.
In Afghanistan, I support President Obama’s new strategy to prevent the return of the Taliban and al Qaeda. But great challenges remain as we work with the Afghan government, our NATO allies and Pakistan to empower a new Afghan solution that results in a country that poses no future danger to the United Stares or her allies.
Terrorists around the world remain intent on killing Americans, disrupting our economy, and forcing us to live in fear. The Government of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, is determined to develop nuclear weapons to threaten our interests, our allies and the stability of the Middle East.
Numerous other security and economic challenges, including the European debt crisis and North Korea, are growing in number and complexity in almost every corner of the world.
To address them effectively, we need to continue rethinking, restructuring and reforming how we organize and equip our military, how we collect and analyze intelligence, how we employ our diplomacy, and how to make the most effective use of our soft power.
Over the course of the summer, I will give a series of speeches discussing these challenges in greater detail, and the policies that would most effectively master them.
But to make progress on all these fronts, we need to elect to office Americans who put the country’s needs ahead of personal or partisan interests.
We need men and women who have the experience, maturity, judgment and determination to work creatively. For a country as innovative, resourceful and industrious as America, we should join together in good faith to implement solutions to our problems. We are tired of unproductive partisan bickering and time-wasting political gamesmanship.
We need public officeholders who don’t excuse, ignore or take personal advantage of corruption. The people of Illinois have seen more than their share of political corruption.
Elected officials from both parties went to jail for violating the public trust. Corruption has been, but doesn’t have to be, part of our culture. Change is nowhere more urgent than right here, in our state.
When you’ve spent most of your adult life, as I have, in the service of the American people, you can see the daunting challenges confronting us as an opportunity to make a real difference in the future of this blessed and wonderful country. You get excited about the opportunity to use your experience to give your best service in the cause of our country’s greatness.
I am excited about that opportunity, and very grateful for it.
Now, I’ve made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences. I apologize for my mistakes and I pledge to correct any errors. I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again.
My service to the American people means a great deal to me, particularly my service in the U.S. military. To all my fellow veterans here today, thank you for your friendship and your strong support.
I welcome an honest debate about my vision and service to Illinois and I’m happy to compare my record in the military and in the Congress.
Going forward, I will present my official record of service to compare to my opponent’s. I will be mindful of my imperfection, remain humble, and the kind of public servant you deserve.
I will give you my clear views on the issues and plans to solve our problems. You can then make the best decision about whom to support in this election.
I place my trust in your judgment and consider it a great privilege to stand subject to it.
This election will come down to a clear choice between two people and two very different directions of where to take our country and our state.
I think my views are more in line with the voters of Illinois. I think we should tax less, spend less, create jobs, protect our environment and clean up corruption.
My opponent wants to raise taxes, spend more and maintain the status quo of the current leadership in Illinois.
In short, I think we need to send a fiscal conservative, social moderate, independent-minded servant to the Senate – and I am that candidate.
Thank you for being here today and thank you for all that you do to make this country great.
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