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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Text of Speech Delivered by John Akouri

Address to the FPS 'New Attitude' Candidate's 'FUN'-raiser Event
Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 6:00 PM at the Farmington Hills Manor
Good evening and welcome to the Farmington Public Schools FPS New Attitude “FUN”-raiser! I am truly thrilled and honored to be here tonight to talk to you a little about our great slate of candidates for the upcoming June school board election.
Many people have approached me lately to find out what the buzz is all about? And I am more than eager to talk to them about it. What is FPS New Attitude? It is about working together, in transparent, agreeable fashion, with teachers, administrators, students and the community to share ideas and work toward solutions for the good of the Farmington Public Schools. It’s about people who are committed to opening up the school board process, so that the public bringing feedback to the board is treated in a cooperative, constructive fashion, and so that there can be meaningful interactions and exchanges between the board and members of the community during meetings, and elsewhere. It’s about people who understand that people can agree to disagree in an agreeable, collegial, “find a common ground” kind of way.
I ask them if they have watched School Board meetings of late – and I tell them this IS a new attitude. But I don’t stop there: I tell them about Cheryl’s commitment to finding workable solutions to the many challenges our district is confronted with which demands leadership to ensure that every solution provides equity amongst our schools, has a basis for accountability and provides the quality education our children deserve. I tell them about John and his belief that teachers, administrators and the community as a whole are partners in the education of our students. And John’s sensible and brilliant idea that one school board meeting a month should be held in a district school building. And lastly, I tell them about my good friend Eric and his understanding of, and appreciation for the fact that our schools are funded by taxpayers and that the proper respect for and allocation of taxpayer dollars is a public trust he vows to discharge with honor and his public pledge of absolute integrity, diligence, and willingness to work with anyone on anything that will benefit the children of our district.
I believe in their leadership and their ability to provide the answers our community so desperately is in search of, but more importantly, because they share in the same vision I do when I say that we, as adults have an obligation to the children and students of the Farmington Schools, to our future leaders in Education, Business, Industry, Technology, Government, Medicine and Law, to provide an education for them that is first rate, schools that are safe, with an environment of learning and the resources by which to attain these goals.
They echo my feelings in a desire to bolster the society we direct for our youth, children and families, strengthen education and the importance of exemplary schools, and a return to core family values. But what kind of society do we aspire to when the basic principles and foundation for which this society was founded upon are denied?
As a student at Kenbrook Elementary School, I was fortunate enough to begin my broadcasting career as a morning PA announcer – starting each weekday by reading aloud throughout the entire school – all the day’s news, weather and sports – but by first starting in leading my fellow students in the Pledge of Allegiance. My friends, I am proud to stand before you today to support a group of individuals who believe when pledging allegiance to our flag and these United States that we do so as: ONE NATION UNDER GOD!
Let us continue our sense of pride here tonight, proving that the Farmington School District truly is the Jewel District of Oakland County and of the State of Michigan. Now make no mistake about it…this race is not going to be easy, but with all of us working together, getting out the vote spreading the message of our candidates ‘new attitude’ we will succeed and we will claim victory in this election! It was the great Lebanese Poet and Writer Khalil Gibran who said: “Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is but today’s dream.” Well, my friends, together with a new attitude and candidates with an esteemed level of honesty, integrity and openness that would suit our Farmington School Board – we can wake up on June 15, and see to it that this dream is indeed a reality.
Again, thank you for your invitation to join you this evening and please know that I extend my full endorsement and support to John, Cheryl and Eric! And before I leave, I would like to offer them this check as a contribution to their campaigns and as proof of my commitment to work to see them elected.
Thank you, God Bless You and God Bless America, and may she continue to shine as a beacon of hope and democracy for all the world to see.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">