President Bush uses SBU graduate to illustrate improving economy
By Tamera Heitz-Peek
Southwest Baptist University
August 3, 2004
SPRINGFIELD — In his first speech following the Democratic National Convention, President George W. Bush stopped in Springfield July 30 to lay out his vision for the next four years and referred to a recent Southwest Baptist University (SBU) graduate to illustrate a key point.. More than 9,000 people attended the rally at the 10,000-seat Hammons Field, which kicked off a two-day campaign push in four states.
Standing in the infield of the baseball stadium and with cable networks C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN carrying his message in its entirety, Bush highlighted major campaign topics including the economy, tax relief, healthcare, war, freedom, reform and education. Repeatedly, Bush had to pause as supporters gave him standing ovations. To illustrate his point on education, President Bush talked about Southwest Baptist University graduate Kristin Heydt.
In his speech, Bush talked about the importance of “a lifetime of learning” and that adults should be given opportunities to return to school and learn new skills for better paying jobs.
Bush shared that because of the tax relief Heydt and her family received, she was able to go back to school and become a nurse.
“Today, I met Kristin Heydt,” the president said. “She’s from Springfield, as well. She used to be a bank teller. With the tax relief she and her family had as a result of the tax cuts, she went back to school. She’s now a nurse. She completed a program. She now makes three times the amount of money she made before, because of education,” said Bush as thousands of supporters cheered. “Good education means workers can realize their dreams.”
Heydt is married and has three children ages 5, 4 and 2. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree at another university, but decided to become a registered nurse. She enrolled in the nursing program at St. John’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU in August 2002. With the help of scholarships and federal student loans, Heydt was able to complete her degree and graduate in May.
She currently is a registered nurse on the cancer floor at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and will begin work on a bachelor’s degree in nursing at SBU this fall.
“We are turning the corner and we are not turning back” was a major theme in Bush’s campaign speech. Addressing the concerns about employment, Bush said that more than 1.5 million new jobs have been added since last August. “Because we acted, Missouri has added more than 82,000 new jobs over the past 11 months; your unemployment rate is now 5.2 percent. When it comes to creating jobs for America’s workers, we are turning the corner and we are not turning back.”
After Bush ended his speech, the crowd repeatedly chanted “four more years” as the President took time to shake hands with supporters. Bush then left for a campaign stop in Grand Rapids, Mich.
For a copy of President Bush’s speech in Springfield, go to http://www.georgewbush.com/News/.