Speeches—Statement by Secretary Rod Paige to the Commissioners
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Current Section
December 4, 2002
Philadelphia, PA
Speaker frequently
deviates from prepared text
Dan Langan
(202) 401-1576

DR. PAIGE: Thank you, Cynthia, for that warm introduction!

I'm real pleased to have this opportunity and because primarily I just wanted to come and thank you for your service and for what you are doing. Each of you has incredibly busy schedules, but yet you take time to set aside those schedules and come and do this. It's amazing really.

I was just talking to Dr. Yow. I was the athletic director of Texas Southern University, a small university, but I know what it is to have to put on an event for 70,000 or 80,000 people every other week, right in the middle of while she is getting ready to go to the Peach Bowl.

Ted is breaking in a new coach.

MR. LELAND: Trying to!

DR. PAIGE: Trying to!

Cynthia is getting into condition again so she can go back into the WBA. Each one of you has a schedule, but yet you have chosen to do this and the enthusiasm that you have shown. I'm deeply grateful and the President is deeply grateful and that's the chief message that I want to—want to convey.

As I was sitting here, I was thinking what a wonderful country this is to give and take of a discussion surrounding an idea that's going to influence policy, that's going to impact the lives of Americans for years. It's very important. Democracy is not a tidy process, but it's a great process. So thank you for that.

You have been asked to gather the facts, listen to what Americans have had to say and this is what, the fifth—fifth meeting? You have been in four different cities listening to other Americans and make some recommendations.

This is different from many places where one or two individuals sit in a room and come up with policy and make rules that everybody has to jump and salute to. What a great country we live in.

This is a difficult issue. That is why we wanted to get the very best minds we could to discuss it and talk to us about it. We just want to make a good thing better. We want something to help all Americans.

I know you have heard from 50 experts including general counsels of universities and athletic people, civil rights people, just plain people. And now, you are getting to the point where you have to take all of that information and condense it and come up with something that's going to be good for all of us.

I wanted to just come and listen and I'm benefited by just the brief part that I have heard, but I'm going to sit through the rest of it today and hear more because you are great Americans and you are contributing to a great country.

So to both of the chair people, thank you for your leadership. Let's just keep going. I'll do what I came to do. Now, I'll just sit back and listen. Thank you.

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Last Modified: 03/06/2007