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WASHINGTON - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), who became Maryland's highest ranking Member of Congress ever when he was unanimously elected to be the next House Democratic Whip on Thursday, will deliver the Democratic response to the President's weekly national radio address on Saturday. The following is the text of Congressman Hoyer's remarks, as delivered:
"Good morning. This is Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland. On Thursday, my Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives elected me to serve as their Whip in the108th Congress that will convene in January. The Whip is the second ranking position among House Democrats.
"Our Democratic Caucus also made history on Thursday. We elected Nancy Pelosi of California as our new leader, making her the first woman ever to head a major political party's Congressional Caucus.
"Nancy succeeds Richard Gephardt of Missouri who has served the Democratic Party and our nation with great honor, dignity and energy for more than a quarter of a century.
"On Thursday, House Democrats also elected Bob Menendez of New Jersey as the Chairman of our Caucus, making him the highest ranking Hispanic-American in Congressional history.
"And we also elected Jim Clyburn of South Carolina as our Caucus Vice Chair. Jim will be the highest ranking African-American in Congressional leadership.
"This new Democratic leadership reflects America - not only the diversity that is her strength, but also her principles, her values and her aspirations.
"On behalf of all my Democratic colleagues, I promise every listener that we will never waver on the principles that animate this great party's soul: equality, opportunity, compassion, freedom and security.
"And we will continue to espouse the values that have made America a great and good country: faith, family, hard work, love of country and personal responsibility.
"The 107th Congress has now adjourned. During this Congress, we faced a despicable and unprovoked attack that shocked and saddened our nation. We responded as one - with resolve, with courage, and with justice and homeland security as our objective.
"Yet, the people's work remains undone. We face acute challenges both abroad and at home.
"Our economy is stagnant; we need to create more jobs and promote economic growth. We need to expand access to health care, enact a patients' bill of rights, and adopt a real prescription drug benefit for our seniors.
"We need to fund the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act, which calls for landmark investments in education. We need to ensure that the water we drink and the air we breathe is clean - now and for future generations.
"And, at the same time, we must ensure that we invest in the strength of our armed forces.
"When the 108th Congress convenes, House Democrats will continue to work with our Republican colleagues, seeking bipartisan solutions whenever possible. However, where we differ on how to meet the needs of the American people, we will always fight to ensure that our policies help all Americans.
"Our task now is to promote a clear, positive agenda that reflects our country's principles and values - an agenda that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans.
"Our 35th President, John F. Kennedy, said it best more than 40 years ago:
"He said, 'Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.'
"The Democratic Caucus not only accepts that responsibility. We embrace it.
"I'm Steny Hoyer. Thank you for listening, and God Bless America."