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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 28, 1994
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                           The Rose Garden

10:14 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I am very pleased that Dan Glickman has accepted my offer to become the next Secretary of Agriculture. He comes to the Cabinet after a distinguished 18-year career representing Wichita and south-central Kansas in the House of Representatives. During that period he rose to prominence on the House Agriculture Committee and became a leading spokesman for American agriculture and a key architect of the last four farm bills. His knowledge, experience, his understanding of the needs of the American farmer make him exactly the right person to be Secretary of Agriculture in 1995 when we will be writing the next farm bill.

I've told Dan that I expect him to continue being a vocal advocate of the interest of American agriculture and to carry on the groundbreaking work done by Secretary Mike Espy during the last two years. I am very proud of the work that our administration under the leadership of Secretary Espy has done for America's farmers and ranchers and for America's taxpayers. Mike Espy has been tireless in his efforts to expand trading opportunities. I can tell you as a citizen of the largest rice-growing state in America, I never thought I would live to see the day when American rice would be available in Japanese markets. But thanks to Mike Espy it is.

The reorganization that he has put into effect at the United States Department of Agriculture is the most sweeping in 50 years. And in many ways it's the prototype of the plans we have to streamline the entire federal government to make it work better for the American people.

Mike Espy has been a partner of ours in developing the empowerment zones for distressed rural areas where we try to solve our most fundamental economic problems by creating partnerships at the grass roots level to help people help themselves. When livelihoods and lives were threatened by the awful floods and natural disasters in the Midwest and elsewhere, Secretary Espy managed our agriculture relief efforts with speed, compassion and confidence. He did a superb job. In the area of crop insurance, in the area of food safety, in so many other areas Secretary Espy and his administration were friends of the American farmers.

I am confident that Congressman Glickman will not only carry on the innovations begun by Secretary Espy but break new ground in our efforts to increase farm exports and bridge the differences between rural and urban members of Congress.

I can say one thing that has pleased me greatly over the last year or so, that is to travel around America and have farmers come up to me and say that they now consider the Department of Agriculture a friend and not a problem in their efforts to produce food for the United States and for the world. It will be our goal to continue that as we work so hard to balance the concerns of farmers and ranchers, consumers and environmentalists and others.

I know Dan Glickman will meet this challenge. He has always been more interested in solving problems for people than scoring political points. The many awards and the recognition he has received from farm groups, from environmental groups, from consumers testify to his fairness and to his ability. I picked him for this job because the Department of Agriculture and rural America more than ever need a leader who is experienced, aggressive and innovative. I know he will be an advocate and a spokesman for making sure that American agriculture enters the 21st century on a prosperous and solid foundation. Our agricultural system is the envy of the world and it must remain so.

I also chose Dan Glickman for his common sense and his good humor. He says he always wears a sunflower on his lapel to remind him of where he's from, the values of the heartland that make him what he is. I hope and expect he will keep wearing that sunflower and keep us in a sunny disposition.

Mr. Glickman. (Applause.)

REPRESENTATIVE GLICKMAN: I better get a supply of them. (Laughter.)

First of all, I want to thank you, Mr. President, and Mr. Vice President for your confidence in me in your nomination. The challenges are daunting, but the opportunities are immense. I look forward to meeting both, working with this administration to have a farm policy which provides a stable and secure supply of food at reasonable prices for people in this country and around the world. I also want to thank my family, who have graced me by being here with me today.

My highest priority will be meeting your commitment to our farmers and ranchers and everyone in rural America -- the commitment to sustain a solid economy that provides opportunity for growth and prosperity. I intend to keep your commitment to ensure that America's consumers have the world's most abundant wholesome food supply. Today's farm programs have helped create those opportunities -- a lesson we should never forget.

Nonetheless, many are raising questions which will cause those of us in agriculture to rethink fundamental tenets of those programs. This is, too, a challenge I welcome. Agriculture is not and should not be immune to change. Indeed, as you noted, Mr. President, thanks to Secretary Espy's dramatic initiative, USDA is on the leading edge of reinventing government. At the same time, it is important that we not overlook agriculture's many, many successes, its unique contributions to our economy and our culture.

When I told my constituents I was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, most thought that that was an oxymoron -- Congress and intelligence. Little did they realize, however, how handy that experience would be. Running USDA will take all the intelligence I can muster. It will also take a lot of help -- people like Rich Rominger, the Deputy Secretary, I hope will be there with me working to create an effective, meaningful and responsive Department of Agriculture. For that, I will be counting on many friends in Congress, and a few deserve special thanks.

Chairman-to-be Lugar is asking good questions about the next farm bill. I look forward to working with him and my friend, Senator Leahy, with whom I've had a long and productive relationship. Senator Tom Daschle and I were colleagues in the House. His advice and counsel have been invaluable, and he remains an unsurpassed friend. I owe Senator Dole a special debt of gratitude. I have thanked him privately; today I want to recognize his support publicly, as well. Chairman de la Garza's help and guidance while I was on the House Agriculture Committee taught me more about farm policy than I ever imagined I would know. And finally, Chairman-tobe Roberts never shied from giving me advice -- some of it actually turned out okay. (Laughter.) And while he sometimes one-upped me on farm matters, I always one-upped him in the hair department. He is a special friend who has been especially helpful.

I value the confidence that you have placed in me, Mr. President. I wish some of you had been with me last week when I met with the President to talk about farm issues, rural issues, smalltown issues, and saw the commitment of President Clinton to a world in which farmers, ranchers, consumers and people who live in small towns and rural America will have glorious opportunities in the decades to come. I know President Clinton is committed to those policies, and I will do my best to help him and to help this country engage in a constructive, bipartisan farm and rural policy.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, what do you hear about the talks in North Korea? And would you hold up that January 21st oil shipment if Airman Hall is not released?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me say first of all that we have made it clear to the North Koreans that we want the prompt release of Airman Hall and that there is no reason for his detention. He was on a routine training mission -- that's all. They made an error, which we have acknowledged, and drifted into North Korean airspace.

We now have an administration official in North Korea, as you know, and talks are ongoing. And I think it would be premature for me to say anything else at this time. Let's give our people there a chance to do their work and see what happens.

Q Are we asking for an apology, and isn't there a split in the North Korean government between the military and the --

THE PRESIDENT: I think it would be better for us to say nothing until my representative there has a chance to do his work, and we are in constant contact with him. He's working hard. We want Airman Hall released. There is no reason to detain him. It was a routine training mission. Anything else would be premature at this time.

Thank you.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END10:23 A.M. EST