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John Muir-Yosemite

California State Quarter

Transcript of Maria Shriver, Kevin Starr, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and at the State Quarter Unveiling

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Date: Monday, March 29, 2004
Event: Library and Courts Building, Sacramento, CA


Let me begin by welcoming all of you and thanking you all for coming here today. This is truly, as my husband would say, a fantastic day. It's a fantastic day for California because the Governor is going to unveil the new concept for the quarter. It's a fantastic day for everybody who was involved in the process of coming up with ideas for the quarter. This is truly, I think, the people's quarter, and I think there is no better person to unveil the new quarter than the people's governor.

And this is truly a fantastic day for me, also, not because it's the first day of spring break for my kids, but because I get to introduce a truly fantastic national treasure, State Librarian for California, Dr. Kevin Starr. I've been an admirer of Dr. Starr, as has my husband, for many years. I never had the opportunity to meet him until after Arnold won, and one of the first phone calls we made was to Dr. Kevin Starr, because we knew that there was nobody in this state who knew more about the state, more about its history, more about who had done what than Dr. Kevin Starr.

So we called him up and invited him for dinner along with his extraordinary wife, Sheila, and he came down. And I'll never forget it, he walked right in, he had a briefcase, and he sat right down and kind of pushed everything on the coffee table aside and laid out the 20 finalists for the quarter. And then he laid out four or five books, and I was kind of surprised and said, what's this? And he said, "Well, the Governor gets to choose the quarter." And my kids were like, whoa, that's really exciting, he gets to choose the quarter!

And then he said, "And I just brought you a couple of my books that you could read in your spare time." And I was sitting there with our youngest son, Christopher [age 6], and he turned to Dr. Starr and said, "Wow, that's great! - you wrote four books." And without skipping a beat, Dr. Starr said, "I've written 14 books." So that's a true story.

So we have become great friends since that day, and I don't think a week goes by, probably a day doesn't go by when I don't call him, track him down with Sheila's help somewhere to ask him a question, to ask him for some advice, to ask his help with finding remarkable women for California. There isn't any question I haven't asked him that he doesn't know the answer to. He is truly a great, great man who is a great historian who has taken California's dreams to heart and knows everything about our great state, and he's a great treasure.

So I'm so thrilled to be on my first day of spring break and to introduce a great friend and adviser and a great treasure to California, Dr. Kevin Starr.


Thank you, First Lady. I'm delighted by the praise, but I also know that my six grandchildren listened to that very carefully. It's my pleasure to welcome you and to outline the selection process in which I have had the honor of chairing.

The Governor's office accepted submissions from September 9th, Admission's Day, to November 9, 2002. It's a very important program. The program, of course, puts us in California as the 31st coin, because we're the 31st state to be admitted to the union. And as we know, the quarter is the work-a-day coin for today. It used to be a nickel, then it was a dime, now it's the quarter that you use most of the time. So billions, literally, of these quarters will be manufactured, and so what we put forth as our image of California is extremely important.

We screened the selections. We got thousands of them, and we brought them down to the 20 semifinalists, as First Lady Maria Shriver describes, that we brought to Governor Schwarzenegger to look at.

And Governor Schwarzenegger has a background in art history. He's quite an art collector. He has a beautiful library of art books, and is very interested in the visual side of experience, and he had some very interesting comments to make. And he took - I'll let him talk about the time he took to select this concept, but the Governor took this very seriously, as did the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee who brought the final 25 to the Governor. Then we submitted the design to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which is part of the Treasury Department. They met, they approved it, then the Secretary of the Treasury reviewed the design concept and approved the design. And then the U.S. Mint and the Secretary of the Treasury notified us that we could notify the Governor to make the announcement the Governor will be making very shortly.

And now I have the pleasure of introducing a remarkable man whom I have come to, along with 35 million other Californians, come to regard as a friend, a friend of California, a friend of the welfare of individual Californians, a friend to each of us.

On November 17th, 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th Governor of California. His landslide election as the state's chief executive follows a distinctive career in business and entertainment. Like many American success stories, Arnold Schwarzenegger's is routed in humble circumstances. Arriving in America at the age of 21 with $20 in his pocket, Arnold Schwarzenegger has since become one of the world's most recognized people. His dominance in the sport of body building, countless business successes and preeminence in the film industry make him one of the world's most renowned, admired and distinctive personalities.

With the Governor's success has come a life long commitment to improving the lives of others, especially children. He has long actively supported the Special Olympics, served as a leader with the Inner City Games Foundation to foster opportunities for youth, and led the campaign to pass California's Proposition 49 to increase funding for after school programs.

Like the ultimate action hero in films, the Governor has become a benefactor to great causes in his personal life. He has made countless contributions of his time and energy and substantial financial support to philanthropic organizations in America and around the world.

The Governor was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1990 to 1993, and also served as the chairman for the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson. The Governor's professional achievements and personal contributions also distinguish him as a great immigrant success story, something of which he is intensely proud. Throughout his life, the Governor has publicly proclaimed his deep appreciation for the opportunities afforded him by this great country.

My friends, the Governor of California, already in such a short time a great Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Thank you very much, Dr. Kevin Starr, for the wonderful introduction. It's exactly the way I wrote it. [laughter] Thank you.

First of all, I want to say thank you very much to Penny Marshall. I don't know if you all know, the great actress and director, producer is right down here. Thank you for being here.

I want to thank Dr. Starr for being such a spectacular author, great historian and outstanding librarian. He has, like my wife said, been a great contribution to our state. But I think what I really appreciate most is him helping me select the design of this spectacular coin.

This, as he has said, has been a huge process to go through. I mean, it's like one of those things that you never expect when you become governor, you have to do this kind of work. I thought it was going to be easy, all we have to do is fix the budget, get rid of the debt, fix the workers comp problems, get everyone to work, and that's it. But then all of a sudden you have this huge challenge here to make the decision out of thousands of designs, and then narrow it down to hundreds, and then to twenty. But thank God that we had a great selection committee. I also want to thank them, and I want to thank the people of California for helping me make this selection.

When it came down to the five finalists, then my wife and my children that are sitting right out here in front have been very helpful, also, in making the decision. And I have selected - we don't call it the winner by any means, because that would make everyone else a loser, and this is not what this is about. But there were great designs, the five designs were spectacular, and it was really a tough choice to make.

But like I said, with the help of my family, we then did select. And I have selected the John Muir Yosemite design to send to the U.S. Mint. This, basically, is a design that tells the whole story. California's commemorative quarter will display John Muir, Yosemite National Park, and also the California Condor.

And the reason why we picked that is because it tells the story of California and what we want to say, that John Muir, for instance, has been a model for generations of Californians and conservationists around the world. He has taught us to be active and to enjoy, but at the same time protect our parks, our beaches, and our mountains. Yosemite is also on that coin, which is the symbol of California's beauty, and at the same time it reminds us that we must protect this beauty and be committed to the protection of this beauty. And then also on that coin is the condor, the California Condor, which once almost was extinct and then now it's protected and has had an amazing comeback.

Here in California, growth and progress and wilderness protection and the protection of the environment goes hand in hand, even though some people believe that you can only have one or the other, but we want to be committed to make it go hand in hand. I am proud that these three images will show California's wildlife, our majestic landscape, and our commitment to preserving our golden state for future generations.

And the idea of the coin, really, of this selection, is that children, not only today pick up this coin and talk to their parents about it and ask who is this man on the coin, what kind of landscape was used on this coin, what is this bird about, but they talk about that in future generations, because, as we said earlier, we want to make sure that California is preserved and is beautiful a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now as it is today. So we are totally committed to that.

Now. Let's get to the unveiling of this great historic design of this coin here, and I will do that with my First Lady of California together.

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