In a column on Dec. 20, Buck Johns attacked my record as governor of Arkansas and criticized local Republican business leaders for supporting my campaign for the presidency. The truth of the matter is, increasing numbers of Republicans and Independents, as well as Democrats, are turning to my campaign for leadership because of my proven record of success as governor of Arkansas and the detailed economic and national security plans I have proposed to get America moving again, so that we can compete and win in the emerging global marketplace.
Mr. Johns used careful selection and omission of facts to attack my record as governor. But I'm very proud of what we've accomplished in Arkansas, and the facts speak for themselves. Our economic performance has been exceptional. In the last half of the 1980s, Arkansas' percentage job growth and manufacturing job growth outstripped that of all surrounding states each year. Between 1980 and 1988, manufacturing employment in Arkansas rose by 15% at a time when it was declining nationwide. We ranked sixth in the nation in job growth from 1988 to 1990.
I have been in the forefront of the welfare reform movement in this nation to get people off the dole and back in the work force. In Arkansas, we have dedicated an increasing amount of state funds to our transportation infrastructure and education, investing in our future so that our children won't have to settle for less than the very best.
I am running for President because I want to turn this country around by expanding economic opportunity, restoring the values of hard work, individual responsibility and community, and giving a chance for the forgotten middle class to take their country back from the hands of powerful individuals and special interests.
I believe it's time America has a plan, a national economic strategy to end the recession and make America competitive again. I have called for new education and job training programs to give American workers the best training in the world, incentives for investment in new businesses, a civilian technology agency to get new and innovative products to the market, and a revitalization of the American workplace to boost productivity. I have also called for tax cuts for the middle class and for families because I think its time that working Americans got a fair shake from the federal government.
In addition to my economic plan, I have called for the creation of a national trust fund out of which any American can borrow the money for a college education, so long as they pay it back either as a small percentage of income over time or with a couple years of national service as police officers, teachers or child-care workers. I have outlined a health-care strategy that will contain costs while providing access to care for every American. And I believe we can reinvent government to cut costs while increasing the quality of services available to taxpayers.
I do not believe that the end of the Cold War means the end of potential threats or U.S. responsibilities abroad. I have proposed a detailed defense plan that will cut defense spending by one-third while providing for our national security in the post-Cold War environment, and strongly support retention of substantial nuclear deterrence capability and a missile defense program.
I refuse to stand by and let our children be the first generation in American history to do less well than their parents.
BILL CLINTON, Governor of Arkansas