Chairman Gramm, Senator Sarbanes, Members of the Committee:
I am honored to appear before you today as the nominee for Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration. I thank President Bush and Secretary Evans for placing their confidence in me with this nomination. I am humbled when I reflect on the distance traveled between a modest upbringing in Iowa and being asked by the President of the United States to serve the American people in this position.
I am especially proud to appear before the Committee for which I served as a staff member. I have very fond memories and good friendships as a result of my time spent here. And I appreciate the support of my many friends on the Committee and in the audience today.
I thank Senator Chuck Grassley for introducing me and supporting my nomination. I am certain that the Chairman of the Finance Committee has more important matters to attend to, and his willingness to take the time to introduce a former staff member shows the kind of person he is. Senator Grassley brought me to Washington and from him I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. He often refers to this as a "constancy of purpose." I will take this constancy of purpose with me to the Department of Commerce, if confirmed by the Senate.
I must also express my deep gratitude to the Chairman, Senator Phil Gramm. When you work for Senator Gramm you learn something new every day, since he is still a college professor at heart. But the most important lesson I learned is that as a public servant you have a responsibility to stand on your principles. Even if it makes people mad at you, or your own friends uncomfortable. I will continue to stand on my principles, as a public servant, and trust that Senator Gramm will gently remind me when I fail to do so.
On a final personal note, I want to thank my family in Iowa who couldn’t be here today and my wife, Rita, who is in the audience. Rita gives me more love and support than any one person deserves. She is responsible for any success I achieve in my career and I thank her for being my closest advisor and best friend.
Mr. Chairman, as this Committee well knows the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) has a critical mission: protecting, and indeed enhancing, national security while preserving the right of American businesses to export their products. I take this responsibility very seriously, as do the civil servants I have met at BXA. They are conscientious, hardworking people who place the interests of their country above their own. It will be a privilege to work along side of them as we carry out this important mission.
Finally, I commend the Committee on its efforts to reauthorize the Export Administration Act (EAA). A sound, legal basis for controlling the export of dual-use items is critical to protecting national security. A new EAA will send a signal to the rest of the world that American leadership to reinvigorate the multilateral export control process is forthcoming. I look forward to working closely with the Committee in this important endeavor. Thank you again for holding this hearing and considering my nomination.
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