West Virginia is Prepared to Face New Challenges
From The Governor's Desk: A weekly column by Gov. Joe Manchin
This week, I officially began my second term as your 34th governor. I am humbled by the voters' confidence in me, and I was deeply honored to stand at the podium and take my second oath of office.
People across our state traveled to Charleston to join in the two-day inaugural festivities. Even though it was bitterly cold outside, their support warmed my family's hearts. I want to thank everyone who joined us - we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the journey we've made together, to build a new West Virginia.
Gayle and I look forward to working with the people of West Virginia during the next four years to find innovative solutions to the challenges that face our state. And I know that many challenges lie ahead.
Over the past four years in West Virginia, we came together - members of all political parties and those with no party affiliation - and made the tough decisions that built a stronger, fiscally responsible state. By making those tough decisions and shoring up our state's finances, we've helped to boost our economy, create jobs and improve our business climate.
This positive buzz about West Virginia, both in-state and around the globe, is helping to foster a new mindset about our state. We must realize that good things have happened because we worked hard and we were accountable.
It wasn't easy, but we set our priorities, met our challenges and put our financial house in order. New and expanding businesses have invested nearly $8.5 billion here since 2005. We've strengthened our schools and health care programs, and improved services for our veterans and seniors. We have reduced taxes for families and businesses, without cutting essential government services. This past summer, West Virginia led the nation in economic growth.
We are in a better position today than we were in 2005, but the next four years are going to be even tougher. Now, more than ever, we must stay vigilant during this global economic downturn. And now, more than ever, I believe we can accomplish whatever we set out to do. I know we can weather this financial storm and we will be stronger because of it.
As I stated in my inaugural address, it's not enough to simply call something "new." A new West Virginia requires a renewed commitment. So let us commit to making West Virginia even stronger in the next four years. Let's work together to create more jobs, provide a stronger education system for our children and make health care affordable and accessible for every working West Virginian.
We have built a new West Virginia - and with your continued hard work, it's only the beginning.