As prepared for delivery on May 8, 2018.

Thank you for the lovely introduction Cynthia, I am happy to be here.

Good afternoon everyone.  Thank you all for being here today.  This is the second time we have been able to spend time together at this luncheon and I am honored to be here.

I want to take a moment to recognize our Second Lady, Mrs. Pence.  Karen, you are doing a wonderful job as you travel the country to promote art therapy programs.  You are making a real impact on so many people and I want to thank you for your efforts.  My husband and I are both very grateful to you and Mike for all that you do.

As many of you know, I launched my formal platform yesterday.  BE BEST is an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us – our children.

The goal of BE BEST is to educate children about the many issues they are facing today so that they can grow up as happy, healthy, and morally responsible adults.  They are our future and they deserve every opportunity to thrive.

I believe strongly that as adults we should encourage children to BE BEST in all aspects of their lives and so my initiatives are focused on three major areas; physical and emotional well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.

I plan to continue speaking with children directly about both the small victories and the difficult realities they face every day.  Through BE BEST, I want to help shine a spotlight on the people, organizations, and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the issues they face as they grow up.

One such example of someone who is making a real difference in this world is Preston Sharp.  Preston is an impressive young man that Karen and I had the opportunity to get to know during this year’s State of the Union.  On Veteran’s Day in 2015, when Preston was just 10 years old, he visited his grandfather’s grave and noticed the lack of flags and flowers on other local veteran’s graves.  He decided to create a nonprofit that he called “Preston’s Veteran Flowers and Flags,” which provides an opportunity for people to honor Veterans every day and not just on a holiday.  As a result of Preston’s hard work and determination, more than 40,000 flags and red carnations have been placed on Veterans’ headstones.

I was so pleased when I found out that this year’s donation from the Senate spouses was donated to Preston’s Veteran Flowers and Flags.  That money will make such an impact and allow him to continue his mission of honoring fallen Veterans.

With BE BEST, I hope to encourage others to do all they can to help one another, much like Preston.  Thank you all for the generous donation.

In closing, I would like to ask each of you to join me in my work on behalf of children.

Please reach out to me about the people, organizations, and programs in your states and territories that are helping children overcome the issues or that are doing things to make a positive difference in the life of a child.  I believe that if we all work together, we can start to effect positive change for our children and help prepare them for their futures.

Thank you all for having me here today.  God bless you and your families, and God bless the United States of America.