Press Center

 REMARKS BY U.S. TREASURER MARY ELLEN WITHROW PREVIEW OF THE NEW $20 BILL


5/20/1998

Thank you, Tom. You know I never get tired of talking about money. In the two and a half years since we first let the public peek at our new series joined by Ben Franklin himself, I have spoken to countless people around the country and the world about the redesign. Bankers, small business men and women, Rotary Clubs, and especially schoolchildren are eager for information about the new series, and about the notes to come, the ones we use every day. I often remind people that the twenty represents the things we buy all the time, like a tank of gas.

It's not just because my signature is on the money that this job stays exciting. It's also a chance to participate in a worldwide education campaign that has successfully reached the far corners of the globe, ensuring a smooth transition and the continued trust of all those who use our money. And we have an important message for the public-- LOOK AT YOUR MONEY -- take the time to look for the security features in your currency. We've made it very easy, and it only takes a moment, and it is important.

This year we redouble our efforts to get practical information into the hands of all those who need it. And we are ambitious. We'd like to see tent cards in local banks and businesses; brochures in the hands of tellers, travel agents and shopping mall security chiefs; and posters in elementary school classrooms to encourage kids to learn more about our monetary system. Already, the National Association of Meal Programs has pledged to disseminate one million placemats to its constituents, and we will provide pamphlets and posters to every post office in the country. And we'll keep looking for partnerships with companies and organizations that can help us deliver information to hard-to-reach audiences and those who need it most.

Last fall I traveled around the country to spread the word about the new fifty and about the new feature that is making our currency more readily identifiable to millions of visually-impaired Americans. But this new twenty dollar note marks the first time we have included a new kind of capability -- a machine-readable feature that holds promise for the creation of affordable and portable devices to "read" the currency's denomination. This is a simple feature that easily can be carried over into future generations of currency, regardless of design.

So as time passes and new notes replace older ones, our currency will more and more be readily identifiable to those who are blind. We've already begun to reach out to machine manufacturers and organizations, and are confident such devices will emerge to meet this need. I am proud to be a part of that effort.

Later on in the program we will discuss the many new and improved features of the new currency series in more detail. The Series 1996 design, with its beautiful engravings of Andrew Jackson and the White House and its new security features, is a great accomplishment, and I think you will be pleased with the results of our work.

Now, I am very pleased to introduce the Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin.


Bookmark and Share