DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY
REUBIN O'DONOVAN ASKEW
National Press Club
February 23, 1983
I am a candidate for President of the United States of America.
I will seek the nomination of the Democratic Party in every caucus and every primary in every state.
With the help of the American people, I hope to be elected to lead this nation.
And I hope to forge a new union of the American people that will create new hope for all people for freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and peace.
For two centuries, America has worked because we Americans have united again and again to form a more perfect union. And today we must unite once more. Today we must come together and work together in an entirely new way.
For ours is a time of change, of change as basic and as profound as any since you the Industrial Revolution. Ours is a time of transition, for America and for the world.
Our national economy has become international. We face fierce competition, here at home and around the world. And our growing lack of competitiveness with other nations is robbing many of us of jobs, our profits, and our futures.
Computers, robots, and other new technologies are changing their very nature of the work we do. They threaten to put many of us out of work and demand new skills that many of us donít have.
This know sweeping transition is straining our democratic institutions, endangering our standard of living, and sorely testing the friendships weíve shared for many years with the nations of Western Europe, with Japan, and with other democratic nations. And, throughout the world, many are eager to exploit the tensions caused by this great global transition.
Yet, here in America, ours is becoming a house divided. The hopes of still another administration are fading away. And not even an end to a long recession will be enough to restore a lasting vitality to an economy in transition.
After two centuries, some Americans are beginning to wonder whether America can still work.
But I have faith that we can not only survive, but we can prosper from the current transition.
My faith is founded on nearly twenty-five years of experience in every level of American government. And I seek the Presidency because I truly believe my experience qualifies me to lead this nation during this time of transition.
For, as Governor for eight years, I helped lead Florida during a rapid and remarkable transition from a promising southern state into a great and growing metropolitan state of increasing international importance.
As chief trade negotiator for the United States, I dealt daily with many of the causes and the consequences of the much more profound transition that is now transforming our economy and our world.
And, as President, I believe I can provide practical and progressive leadership that will unite the American people and help make America work again.
But I know Iíll need help.
And Iíll reach out to the American people to ask for their help during this campaign.
I will reach out to the broad majority of the American people Ė to the middle class, to the working people, to business and agriculture as well as labor, to the vital central mainstream of American life that is apprehensive to change.
I will reach out to all Americans.
Iíll ask them to help me create a constituency for candor.
I will ask them to help me forge that consensus for change.
I wonít ask the people just to trust me. I will ask them to trust themselves, trust their neighbors, trust the ideals and the dreams weíve long shared as a nation.
I wonít ask the people just to follow me. I will ask them to follow our proven national tradition of shared sacrifice for the sake of the common good,
And I will try not to create unrealistic expectations by making promises I canít keep. There have been more than enough promises in recent years.
But this one promise I do make, and this one promise I will keep, to every American:
As president of United States, I wonít belong to any one person. I wonít belong to any one group. I will belong to each and every one of you as Americans.
To demonstrate this commitment I will today continue my longstanding practice of making full and public disclosure of my personal finances by filing copies of my recent income tax returns, together with those I disclosed as Governor, with the Federal Election Commission.
I will also file the current statement of my net worth when I complete and file my tax returns from last year.
In. keeping with the example I set last year while exploring the possibility of becoming a candidate, I will not accept any contributions from the political action committees of business, labor, or any other interest groups.
And I will take risks in this campaign.
I will risk of losing some votes by being candid about the hard realities of the world transition.
But Iím no stranger to such risks.
And they wonít really be risks to me.
For I donít want to become President if, to get elected, I have to tie my hands so tightly that I wonít be free to govern the right way.
And I donít want to become President by pretending that we live in a world that no longer exists.
Some Republicans seem to believe this is still the 1950ís. Some Democrats seem to believe that this is still the 1960ís. But Iíve been out representing Americans abroad in the 1980ís. And I know that the future of freedom itself may well depend on our willingness and our ability to accept and adjust to the changed the nature of the world.
We must not underestimate our great strength as a nation and our great resiliency as a people. We must regain our self-confidence and restore our clarity of purpose in the eyes of the world.
For, even now, America remains the single strongest economic power in the world. And, even now, only America can lead the free economies of the world safely through the current transition.
But we canít remain strong ourselves and we canít lead the world safely if we leap into the quicksand of protectionism.
We must face our competitors, is not flee from them. We must make change work for us, and not against us. And we must shape the future ourselves, or weíll be shaped by the future in ways we wonít like.
Our ability to pursue our often competing individual interests has been one of our greatest strengths as a nation. But we have educated ourselves too much in the adversarial tradition. We have taught ourselves how to compete with one another but not always how to work with one another. We have spent countless millions of dollars making the partial interest of America greater than the overriding public interest.
And now you must learn anew the lesson of unity.
For America will work again only if we address the real root cause of our continuing economic decline -- which is the growing lack of competitiveness of much of American industry.
And this can best be done by a President who has credibility with both business and labor and who is free to challenge them both to abandon their adversarial relationship and work together to improve American products, increase American productivity, and assure lasting jobs for the American people.
Therefore, as President of United States, I will challenge business and labor, along with the agriculture, education, and government, to enter into a fundamentally new relationship, a new union, with one another and with all the American people.
As President, I will challenge the Congress, the Federal Reserve Board, and the executive agencies of the Federal government to join in this new union by working together to ensure fair and far-sighted fiscal and monetary policies that will help shape a more competitive future for the American economy.
From our new union will emerge new structures and a new national strategy for making America work again. We will define the new role the government must play as a catalyst for competitiveness. And we will use government in new ways that will assure capital formation and enable business and labor to come together and work together as they must.
Among the goals of our new union will be:
A trade policy that opposes both undue protectionism and unfair trade practices while seeking expanded opportunities for American commerce on freer and fairer terms.
A renewed national commitment to education as a key to growth.
New investments in scientific research and development.
New incentives for training, retraining, and relocating our work force.
New incentives for small business that create the vast majority of new jobs.
A domestic Marshall plan to modernize and revitalize our vital industrial base and to assure the continued growth of advanced technologies.
An effective response to agricultural problems that recognizes that agriculture is equally vital to our economy and to our security.
A public works program to put many of our people back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, ports, and other public assets.
An urban policy that recognizes the essential role our cities must play in recovery and growth.
A voluntary program of both military and non-military national service to give young Americans a chance to learn new skills and earn educational benefits as they serve their country.
An environmental policy that protects our natural resources while allowing for proper growth.
An energy policy that stresses the significance of conservation and the importance of developing safe domestic alternatives to the uncertain flow of foreign oil.
A fairer and simpler tax code that offers incentives for investment and growth.
And a renewed national allegiance to social justice as an essential ingredient of growth, including especially the approval of the Equal Rights Amendment.
None of these goals will be achieved easily or overnight. Not four years, and perhaps not even eight years, will be enough to achieve them all.
But all these, and more, must be among the ambitions of our new union -- ambitions I will outline more specifically during the course of the coming campaign.
And, just as I will seek a new union here at home, so too will I challenge our friends among other democracies to enter into a new partnership as members of the family of freedom.
I will encourage those nations to work more closely with us, so that together we will find new ways to restore the health of our economies, redefine our common goals, and reassure the longing millions of humanity that hope still lives and freedom still flourishes on this troubled planet.
For the sake of our very survival, I will challenge the leaders of the Soviet Union to negotiate with us, not just a freeze, but mutual, verifiable, and substantial reduction in the development and deployment of nuclear arms.
And from a position of national strength, and consistent with the protection of our vital interests abroad, I will challenge the Soviet Union to work with us, and with other nations, to secure, not just arms control, but an enduring peace.
I will have no higher priority as President.
But, most of all, as a candidate, and as President, I will challenge the American people.
I will challenge them to turn to one another, and not away from one another, and to work with one another in a new and generous spirit of harmony and affirmation.
I will challenge them to make the union more perfect than ever before.
Then, united, we will answer the challenge of the great global transition.
And, united we will prove, to ourselves and to all the world, that America can work again.
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Source: Askew for President Committee Press Release