[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[March 4, 1995]
[Pages 302-304]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



The President's Radio Address
March 4, 1995

    Good morning. I always like to hear from young people across our 
country. After all, they're at the heart of our efforts to build America 
up, to face the demands and the challenges of the 21st century. The 
responsibility of my generation is to leave those young people a better 
world and to make sure that they're prepared to succeed in that world.
    I was especially touched by a letter I recently received from a 15-
year-old girl named Melissa, who lives in a small town in the Midwest. 
Even though she's only 15 and she lives in America's heartland, she's a 
recovering drug addict. She's been drug-free for 2 years now, but she 
still sees other children going down the road to drug abuse, and she's 
very worried.
    This is what she wrote to me: ``It seems there's just not enough 
help, and when there is help, there's not enough money to do what needs 
to be done. Let's help this problem so it's not so big for the next 
generation.'' We ought to listen to Melissa. From our smallest towns to 
our biggest cities, millions of our children face the temptation of 
illegal drugs every day in their schools. Surveys show that 
unfortunately more and more of our adolescents are using illegal drugs. 
Kids today are somehow not getting the message. They are beginning once 
again to think that it's all right to use drugs, that they're not really 
dangerous. But they're wrong. Too often, they're dead wrong.
    Now, think about what this means for our communities and for our 
country, for all the rest of us. Illegal drugs go hand in hand with 
violence. They foster fear. Schoolchildren stay home by the thousands 
every day because they are afraid. And in this kind of environment, even 
the best behaved young people have a tough time learning. That means our 
standards of education are being undermined by drugs and violence. And 
that hurts our ability as a nation to compete and win. So we all pay a 
price.
    The first line of defense, of course, has to be in our communities, 
with our parents and teachers and our neighbors, other role models in 
law enforcement and the religious community, telling our young people in 
no uncertain terms that drugs and violence are wrong and helping them to 
stay away or to get off. I know that.
    But we here in Washington have a responsibility, too. All of you 
know there's a big debate going on in Washington now about what the role 
of the Government ought to be. The Republican contract says we should 
cut just about everything to pay for big tax cuts that go mostly to 
upper income people. Well, I think we should cut Government. We have. 
There are over

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150,000 fewer people working here than there were when I took office. I 
think we ought to reduce the burden of unnecessary regulation, and we 
are.
    But I think we need a Government that's lean and not mean, one that 
offers opportunity and challenges people to be more responsible, one 
that's a partner in increasing opportunity, empowering people to make 
the most of their own lives and providing more security for our people. 
The fight against drugs and the fight for safe schools does all of that.
    After all, leaders of both parties have seen this as a problem that 
can't be ignored in Washington. President Reagan and President Bush 
invested in initiatives for drug-free schools. And last year, working 
with Members of Congress of both parties, our administration expanded 
the safe and drug-free schools program to include violence prevention 
and security. We passed legislation that sends $482 million to the 
States, enough for efforts in over 90 percent of our school districts.
    Communities are using this money in a lot of different ways. They 
are using it to pay for police officers and metal detectors to keep our 
schools safer, to train teachers, staff, and students on how to resolve 
conflicts without violence, to help guide young people in fighting peer 
pressure to use drugs, to help instruct parents on the warning signs of 
drug use. All of this is a very good and sound investment for our 
future. It's Washington being a good partner with people building their 
communities at the grassroots level.
    The schools taking part wouldn't give up these safeguards. If 
anything, they want more help. But now, some Republicans in Congress 
want to completely eliminate our safe schools and antidrug efforts. 
Right now, Congress is considering a rescission bill that cuts out the 
money we passed last year for all these programs.
    I am concerned that the Republicans are willing to sacrifice our 
children's safety and our ability to learn in secure environments to pay 
for these tax cuts for upper income Americans. That's not a good deal 
for American's children, for America's future. It's not a good deal for 
upper income Americans. It's not putting people first. It won't help to 
restore the American dream, to advance the economic interests of the 
middle class to support mainstream values. They're trying to cut other 
things that I don't support, either. They're trying to cut the crime 
bill we passed last year to provide 100,000 police on our streets and to 
cut other education programs.
    Now, I know we've got to reduce the deficit. We've already brought 
it down by over $600 billion under the tough plan we passed last year 
and the year before. And I've given Congress a budget that has another 
$140 billion of spending cuts. I'll work with them to find more but not 
in education or jobs or the safety of our children. We need to be 
expanding opportunity up here, not restricting it. We need to be giving 
our people the tools they need to make the most of their own lives, not 
taking them away. We need to enhance our security, not undermine it.
    And where our children are concerned, we've got to give them the 
best chance we can to develop their God-given abilities so they can do 
the rest. They've got to stay in school, stay out of trouble, stay off 
drugs and off the streets. But young people, given a chance, can 
overcome great obstacles.
    Look at young Melissa. Now she's gotten herself a second chance to 
become a first-class citizen. We need more young people like her for 
their strength, their intelligence, their humanity. We don't have a one 
to waste. And our young people need us to have the vision and the 
strength to do what's best for their futures today.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. from the Oval Office at the 
White House.

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