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[Congressional Record: December 4, 2000 (House)]
[Page H11942-H11943]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). Under a previous order of the 
House, the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier) is recognized for 5 
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, at a time when the world's attention is 
focused on the presidential election here in the United States, I would 
like to take a few minutes to talk about a very historic occurrence 
that took place at the end of last week. I had the honor, along with 
several of our colleagues, a delegation led by the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Gilman), the Secretary of State here, and several others, 
including the Governor of California, Gray Davis, to represent the 
United States at the inauguration of Vicente Fox in Mexico.
  This inaugural took place last Friday morning. It was very thrilling 
because it was clearly one of the most historic developments in modern 
history for the western hemisphere. After over 7 decades of one-party 
control where the Institutional Revolutionary Party, established in 
1928, had controlled Mexico, we saw an election take place on July 2 at 
which the opposition party, the National Action Party, and its nominee, 
Vicente Fox, was successful.
  When we look at what it is that actually brought these free and fair 
elections about, it is very important to realize that it has been the 
expansion of our Western values that has been responsible for it and 
was really a coalition that consisted, I believe, of primarily the 
statement that was first made by Ronald Reagan in November of 1979 when 
he announced his candidacy for President in which he said he envisioned 
an accord of the Americas where we would have the free flow of goods 
and services.
  As we all know, that ended up with legislation that passed in 1993 
known as the North American Free Trade Agreement. While I know that 
NAFTA is often maligned, we have to realize that there has been 
tremendous success in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. We have 
seen a dramatic increase in the standard of living in all three 
countries, in large part due to the expanded trade that we have 
  Now, what happened was that 6 years ago, following the beginning of 
major economic reforms in Mexico, we saw the call by President Ernesto 
Zedillo for free and fair elections. He established an organization 
known as the IFE, the Federal Electoral Institute in Mexico, that would 
in fact be independent of the government and oversee the electoral 
process. It worked out extremely well, and we finally saw the 
completion of that tie between economic and political freedom last 
  We were very privileged, as I said, to be able to represent the 
United States. Our governor, Gray Davis, was the first governor of 
California since Earl Warren to attend an inauguration of a Mexican 
president. I believe the significance of that and the representation 
that we had from the United States is very, very important.
  President Fox has a very interesting challenge ahead of him, but he 
had some moving remarks in his inaugural address. He talked about the 
challenge of improving the economy and making sure that no one in 
Mexico is left behind. He said, ``We can't have islands of prosperity 
amidst seas of poverty.'' His commitment to ensuring that the children 
of Mexico are addressed, their needs are addressed and taken care of, 
his commitment to making sure that

[[Page H11943]]

we see further deregulation so that the small business sector of Mexico 
can thrive is very, very important.
  I will say that there is another issue that is very important, 
especially for my State of California, dealing with the challenge of 
illegal immigration which has been very great. President Fox is the 
first Mexican president to come forward and state unequivocally that 
Mexico needs every Mexican, meaning that he wants to create an economy 
so that people in Mexico will not have an incentive to flee across the 
border into the United States.
  I am very, very encouraged about this wonderful relationship that we 
are going to have with Mr. Fox. I am convinced that the encouragement 
which we have provided through that election process has been very, 
very key to the success that we are seeing. I look forward to working 
with him and with my colleagues to strengthen this very, very important