Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Elizabeth H. Dole as Secretary of Transportation

February 7, 1983

The Secretary. Mr. President, Justice O'Connor, Senator Dole -- [laughter] -- and my dear mother:

This is, of course, a very, very high moment for me in my career. And I first want to thank Justice O'Connor for being here this afternoon to administer the oath of office to me. She is widely admired and regarded across this country at a time when millions of women are experiencing new opportunities, and their horizons are broadening.

Each person who is here today with me, whether it be a family member, a friend, or a colleague, has played a very special part in my life. I'm especially happy, of course, to have family with me, because they are the ones who have supported me, given me that moral support and encouragement through the years.

And, Mr. President, I don't dare give Bob a chance to say a few words, because I think there may be a little humor left over from his confirmation hearing, and I don't dare give him that chance. [Laughter]

But I am happy to have my husband, to have Robin Dole, my brother and his wife and children, with me today. And I'm especially pleased to have my mother, Mary Hanford, from Salisbury, North Carolina, because she has been a real source of support and encouragement and inspiration to me through the years of my life. And certainly from the time I was a small child, it was she who imparted to me the spiritual values that I find so meaningful in my life at this point.

Mr. President, I want to thank you for the challenge, for the opportunities which you have given me to serve as a member of your Cabinet. And I want to pledge to you that I will give you my very best effort, with the help of God, and that I will strive to uphold the traditions of excellence which have been established at the Department of Transportation by my predecessors.

I know that the desk is already stacked high with challenges. So, after this ceremony is finished, I will proceed to the Department of Transportation to undertake those challenges. And I look forward to my opportunity, and thank you so very much.

The President. Elizabeth, let me just say something here. You know, it would be very easy to say that, of course, we're going to miss her here in the White House. But to tell you the truth, she was doing such a wonderful job and working so hard that I didn't see as much of her as I'm going to see now that she's on the Cabinet -- [laughter] -- because the Cabinet meets more frequently than we had opportunities to meet. And I know what she can do, and I'm very proud and happy that she will be a member of the Cabinet. But I also want to say that she has performed magnificently here, and I know that that will be carried on as well by her successor here.

So, I'm just pleased and happy myself.

The Secretary. Thank you.

Note: Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States administered the oath of office to Secretary Dole at 2:09 p.m. at the ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The remarks of the Secretary and the President followed the oath of office.

In her remarks, the Secretary referred to her husband, Senator Robert Dole of Kansas.