Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, spoke at the annual Woodford County
Republican Central Committee dinner. Over 350 were in attendance at Eureka College to hear the
man who is second in line to succeed President Bush. U. S. Representative Ray LaHood introduced
Hastert saying that Hastert represents the values that midwestern people are known for. LaHood said
that honesty, hard work, and integrity got Hastert to where he is today and has stood him in good
stead as being a politician that everyone in Washington respects.
Hastert is a native of Yorkville where he was a government teacher and wrestling coach. Hastert said
he got into politics in the late 1970's when the incumbment in his district decided not to run because
of ill health and he took a shot at running. Twenty years later he became Speaker of the House.
Hastert said that the war in Iraq had its roots in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He said
that Saddam Hussein has been training the Al-Qaida for years. Hastert said that terrorism has to be stopped.
Our country will not be caught by surprise again. Hastert said that on the morning of the terrorist
attacks he could see black smoke coming across the Mall in Washington and he knew something was wrong. Shortly
after, guards came into his office and told him the Capitol Building was being evacuated because a third
plane was heading for the Capitol Building. Hastert said those eleven young men who fought the terrorists on Flight 93 and the plane to crash
near Somerset, PA knew they would meet their death but they saved the Capitol Building from being destroyed. He
said they are among the unsung heros of September 11.
Hastert called President Bush a great president who is doing what has to be done. He said freedom never comes
without a price. He said the war will be won and the economy will come back but that there is plenty
of work to do on Capitol Hill. He said that we have to find
alternative sources of energy to mininimize our dependency on Middle East oil. The high cost of insurance
must be brought down and we have to do a better job of educating our children.