Remarks by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, introduced by her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, as prepared for delivery at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.
"Thank you, Mitch. It's exciting to be here in New York.
"This is where I grew up and where my family still lives. When I was just a little girl, my father had a dream of a better life for our family that took him across the Pacific Ocean, to a land called America.
"Three long years passed before my mother, sister and I boarded a freighter to join my father here.
| "It wasn't the Mayflower, and it wasn't the Love Boat. But it brought us to this magical country and reunited our family so it was beautiful to me.
"At first, the American language and culture were difficult hurdles for us to overcome. One evening, shortly after moving into a one-bedroom apartment in Queens, we were startled by the doorbell.
"Nobody knew us, so we wondered: who could be at our door? When we opened the door, we were startled by the sight of a mob of people in disguise, pushing bags in our faces while chanting something we couldn't understand.
"We thought we were being held up! Terrified, we emptied our cupboards and gave them all our food.
"That was our first introduction to Halloween.
"Since those early days, faith, hard work and the kindness of new friends carried my family forward -- and made it possible for me to become the first Asian-Pacific American woman to serve in the Cabinet of a President of the United States.
"But, I am not alone.
"President Bush has appointed record numbers of Asian-Pacific Americans to the highest levels of his Administration.
"He has opened doors of opportunity to millions of other Americans as well, by ensuring that quality education is available to everyone -- so that all Americans have the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy.
"President Bush began by transforming our nation's public schools, and by extending Pell Grants to one million additional college students.
"Now, he has challenged Congress to provide more support for America's community colleges, which train workers for high-growth fields. He has called on Congress to reform our federal job training programs to make them more effective.
"For workers experiencing unemployment, the President has proposed Personal Re-employment Accounts -- which workers can use to get the training and support they need.
"Thanks to President Bush's tax relief, the economy is expanding, creating more than 1.5 million new jobs in the last eleven months. Today, the national unemployment rate is lower than the average for the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
"Yet this President will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.
"For four hundred years, people have come to America seeking freedom and opportunity. Many, like me, still remember the early days of struggle and promise on American soil.
"For us, President Bush speaks our language -- the language of opportunity, family and a better future for each new generation.
"This is the language we speak in America. This is America's promise of opportunity. Our ability to put the talents of a nation to work depends on the re-election of President George W. Bush.''
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