[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[May 1, 1995]
[Pages 624-625]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to ``I Have A Future'' Program Participants
May 1, 1995

    Dr. Foster, Dr. Peters, Jason and LaShonda, the ``I Have A Future'' 
teens and parents, and the national community leaders that are here. I 
have received, in this room named for Presidents Theodore and Franklin 
Roosevelt, Kings and Queens, Prime Ministers and Presidents, Senators 
and Congressmen and Governors, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, world-
famous citizens. I have never been prouder to receive people in this 
room than I am to have you here today. LaShonda and Jason have said 
everything that needs to be said about this, about Henry Foster and 
about the ``I Have A Future'' program.
    For a very long time, I have been concerned about how many of our 
young people we are losing because of teen pregnancy or drugs or 
violence or just giving up on school. This program, which combats teen 
pregnancy through abstinence and hope, which keeps people in school and 
off drugs and away from violence, is what America ought to be about. We 
have people here every day making speeches about all this. You have 
actually done something about it.
    We have people here every day rushing to define people that they're 
opposed to in little cardboard cut-out terms, so that it will fit in 15 
or 20 seconds that shoots across the airways at night on the evening 
news. Now you know, because you know Dr. Foster, how easy it is to make 
something big little, something little big, something straight twisted, 
something good look wrong.
    Henry Foster has been a teacher and a doctor. He has done everything 
he could to pro-

[[Page 625]]

mote life's best values. He has spent a lifetime addressing the problems 
that are now engulfing our country. If we can't save you kids, we can't 
save America. If we can't convince you that violence is wrong, that 
drugs are wrong, that teen pregnancy is wrong, that you've got to live 
for yourself and make the most of your life, we can't save America. Most 
folks get so cynical and skeptical, they think nothing good can happen. 
Well, here it is, something good happening, something wonderful 
happening, something that is changing lives and it is bringing people 
together, something that there is no partisan politics in, something 
that is just good, rooted in old-fashioned, good, decent American 
    Everybody that looks at it has reached the same conclusion. My 
predecessor, President Bush, honored the success of this program by 
naming it one of the 1,000 Points of Light. President Bush's Secretary 
of Health and Human Services, Dr. Lou Sullivan, said that ``I Have A 
Future'' is the kind of program this country needs because it turns 
young people's lives around. I didn't say that, though I sure believe 
it. They said that.
    So I say to you, I'm glad you came up here to fight for Henry 
Foster, and I'm glad you came up here to fight against people who are 
compelled, for political reasons, to label Americans and put them in 
little boxes and turn them into something they're not.
    I'm glad you came up here to tell the Members of the Congress, ``If 
you want me to grow up to be a good citizen, if you want me to believe 
in the American way of life, then you had better honor it in the 
decisions you make.'' If we can't confirm Henry Foster to be the Surgeon 
General of the United States, what kind of person can we confirm? He 
deserves it, and America needs the kinds of thing that you have shown us 
here today.
    When you go home, you remember what I told you: In this room, Kings 
and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Senators and Congressmen and 
Governors, Nobel Prize winners, world-famous people, but you are 
carrying the future of America in your soul, in your spirit, in what you 
believe in, and in what you do. And America has a future if you have a 
    Tomorrow, you show that to the Congress, and you show that to 
America, and you say, ``We're not going to let this good man be put in a 
little box for somebody's political objectives. The future of the 
children of this country is more important than that.''
    Thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the 
White House. In his remarks, he referred to Surgeon General nominee 
Henry Foster; Dr. Sheila Peters, coordinator of community services, ``I 
Have A Future'' Adolescent Health Promotion Program; and program 
participants Jason Gordon and LaShonda Maryland.