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Condoleezza Rice Speaks to WRCOG at Annual Meeting

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Cheryl Brown –

When Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) put on an event they do it big. After a resounding introduction, using the music of the Blackeyed Peas, this year’s speaker was one of the world’s most recognizable figures.

Condoleezza Rice, PhD was the speaker. Giving a shout out to newspapers she said, “When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is to read the newspaper and I look at the problems in the world and say isn’t that interesting. I don’t have to deal with it,” she said.

She said in her speech, today’s headline and history’s judgments are not the same.

But that history is very important and she is concerned that not enough attention is being paid to it. She spoke of its importance as she talked about her favorite historic Secretary of State, William Seward.

He was the one who purchased Alaska from Russia. She had the opportunity to take her Russian counterpart to Alaska once and he said to her this looks just like Russia.

She spoke of the difficulties we are having in the Middle East and said it will be rough for a while but it will change when the people have the opportunity to elect their own representatives. “Can you imagine the campaign slogan, elect me and I will make your children suicide bombers,” said Rice.

She did not criticize President Obama but said the key to growth is the private sector “is more creative, innovative, and risk taking, entrepreneur that is not in Washington. We must center on those values that led us to be the greatest country in the world,” she said.

She touched on immigration and asked when did immigrants become our enemies, as she called on immigration reform. “We are a country of immigrants,” she said. “This country should not be just for people who come here but for those who are born here as well.”

As she spoke of her upbringing in the segregated south, she said the difference in her and others is a thirst for education; her grandfather John Wesley Rice instilled in her a thirst for knowledge. She stated, “He had a belief in the transforming power of education.”

She told the crowd of over 800, he worked hard to get a crop of cotton out so he could go to college. But his money ran out. He saw others going to college and asked how did they pay? The reply was through scholarships. He inquired as to how he might get one and they said these students are going to be Presbyterian ministers. He became a Presbyterian minister.

She said to be successful we should learn about other cultures and languages and find out what you are passionate about.

Tom Mullen, former member of the Board of Supervisors and Dr. Brenda Davis were both given prestigious awards. Mullens received the Norton Younglove Award for Environment and Davis the Community Service Award, for her success in receiving accreditation for Norco Community College.

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