No Lame Duck Session Either
Hi Alaska, I appreciate speaking directly to you, the people I serve, as your Governor.
People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing's more important to me than our beloved Alaska. Serving her people is the greatest honor I could imagine.
I want Alaskans to grasp what can be in store for our state. We were purchased as a territory because a member of President Abe Lincoln's cabinet, William Seward, providentially saw in this great land, vast riches, beauty, strategic placement on the globe, and opportunity. He boldly looked "North to the Future". But he endured such ridicule and mocking for his vision for Alaska, remember the adversaries scoffed, calling this "Seward's Folly". Seward withstood such disdain as he chose the uncomfortable, unconventional, but right path to secure Alaska, so Alaska could help secure the United States.
Alaska's mission - to contribute to America. We're strategic in the world as the air crossroads of the world, as a gatekeeper of the continent. Bold visionaries knew this - Alaska would be part of America's great destiny.
Our destiny to be reached by responsibly developing our natural resources. This land, blessed with clean air, water, wildlife, minerals, and oil and gas. It's energy! God gave us energy.
So to serve the state is a humbling responsibility, because I know in my soul that Alaska is of such import, for America's security, in our very volatile world. And you know me by now, I promised even four years ago to show my independence no more conventional "politics as usual".
And we are doing well! My administration's accomplishments speak for themselves. We work tirelessly for Alaskans.
We aggressively and responsibly develop our resources because they were created to be used to better our world... to help people... and we protect the environment and Alaskans (the resource owners) foremost with our policies.
Here's some of the things we've done:
We created a petroleum integrity office to oversee safe development. We held the line for Alaskans on Point Thomson - and finally for the first time in decades - they're drilling for oil and gas.
We have AGIA, the gasline project - a massive bi-partisan victory (the vote was 58 to 1!) - also succeeding as intended - protecting Alaskans as our clean natural gas will flow to energize us, and America, through a competitive, pro-private sector project. This is the largest private sector energy project, ever. This is energy independence.
And ACES - another bipartisan effort - is working as intended and industry is publicly acknowledging its success. Our new oil and gas "clear and equitable formula" is so Alaskans will no longer be taken advantage of. ACES incentivizes new exploration and development and jobs that were previously not going to happen with a monopolized North Slope oil basin.
We cleaned up previously accepted unethical actions; we ushered in bi-partisan Ethics Reform.
We also slowed the rate of government growth, we worked with the Legislature to save billions of dollars for the future, and I made no lobbyist friends with my hundreds of millions of dollars in budget vetoes... but living beyond our means today is irresponsible for tomorrow.
We took government out of the dairy business and put it back into private-sector hands - where it should be.
We provided unprecedented support for education initiatives, and with the right leadership, finally filled long-vacant public safety positions. We built a sub-Cabinet on Climate Change and took heat from Outside special interests for our biologically-sound wildlife management for abundance.
We broke ground on the new prison.
And we made common sense conservative choices to eliminate personal luxuries like the jet, the chef, the junkets... the entourage.
And the Lt. Governor and I said "no" to our pay raises.
So much success in this first term - and with this success I am proud to take credit... for hiring the right people! Our goal was to achieve a gasline project, more fair oil and gas valuation, and ethics reform in four years. We did it in two. It's because of the people good public servants surrounding the Governor's office, with servants' hearts and astounding work ethic... they are Alaska's success!
We are doing well! I wish you'd hear more from the media of your state's progress and how we tackle Outside interests - daily - special interests that would stymie our state. Even those debt-ridden stimulus dollars that would force the heavy hand of federal government into our communities with an "all-knowing attitude" - I have taken the slings and arrows with that unpopular move to veto because I know being right is better than being popular. Some of those dollars would harm Alaska and harm America - I resisted those dollars because of the obscene national debt we're forcing our children to pay, because of today's Big Government spending; it's immoral and doesn't even make economic sense!
Another accomplishment - our Law Department protected states' rights - two huge U.S. Supreme Court reversals came down against that liberal Ninth Circuit, deciding in our state's favor over the last two weeks. We're protectors of our Constitution - federalists protect states' rights as mandated in 10th amendment.
But you don't hear much of the good stuff in the press anymore, do you?
Some say things changed for me on August 29th last year - the day John McCain tapped me to be his running-mate - I say others changed.
Let me speak to that for a minute.
Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations - such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters' questions.
Every one - all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We've won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled out some two million of your dollars to respond to "opposition research" - that's money not going to fund teachers or troopers - or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the "politics of personal destruction" Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining public resources - spending other peoples' money in their game.
It's pretty insane - my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this instead of progressing our state now. I know I promised no more "politics as usual," but this isn't what anyone had in mind for Alaska.
If I have learned one thing: life is about choices!
And one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down, or build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and productivity. I choose not to tear down and waste precious time; but to build up this state and our country, and her industrious, generous, patriotic, free people!
Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and "go with the flow".
Nah, only dead fish "go with the flow".
No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time... to build up.
And there is such a need to build up and fight for our state and our country. I choose to fight for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and life... I'll work for and campaign for those proud to be American, and those who are inspired by our ideals and won't deride them.
I will support others who seek to serve, in or out of office, for the right reasons, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all. Inside Alaska - or Outside Alaska.
But I won't do it from the Governor's desk.
I've never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this - to make a difference... to help people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more "freedom" to progress, all the way around... so that Alaska may progress... I will not seek re-election as Governor.
And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade - as so many politicians do. And then I thought - that's what's wrong - many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and "milk it". I'm not putting Alaska through that - I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! That's not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old "politics as usual." I promised that four years ago - and I meant it.
It's not what is best for Alaska.
I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and not so comfortable.
With this announcement that I am not seeking re-election I've determined it's best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell; and I am willing to do so, so that this administration - with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future - can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.
My choice is to take a stand and effect change - not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities - and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.
Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me - sports basketball. I use it because you're naïve if you don't see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And I'm doing that - keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities - smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it's time to pass the ball - for victory.
I have given my reasons candidly and truthfully and my last day won't be for another few weeks so the transition will be very smooth. In fact, we will look to swear Sean in - in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our Governor's picnics.
I do not want to disappoint anyone with my decision; all I can ask is that you trust me with this decision - but it's no more "politics as usual".
Some Alaskans don't mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor. And my children won't allow it either.
Some will question the timing. Let's just say, this decision has been in the works for awhile
In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life - my children (where the count was unanimous... well, in response to asking: "Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children's future from outside the Governor's office?" It was four "yes's" and one "hell yeah!" The "hell yeah" sealed it - and someday I'll talk about the details of that... I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we all could learn so much from someone like Trig - I know he needs me, but I need him even more... what a child can offer to set priorities right - that time is precious... the world needs more "Trigs", not fewer.
My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who sacrifice themselves in war for our freedom and security we can ALL learn from our selfless Troops they're bold, they don't give up, they take a stand and know that life is short so they choose to not waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than self... and to build up their families, their states, our country. These Troops and their important missions - those are truly the worthy causes in this world and should be the public priority with time and resources and not this local / superficial wasteful political bloodsport.
May we all learn from them!
*((Gotta put First Things First))*
First things first: as Governor, I love my job and I love Alaska. It hurts to make this choice but I am doing what's best for Alaska. I've explained why though I think of the saying on my parents' refrigerator that says "Don't explain: your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway."
But I have given my reasons no more "politics as usual" and I am taking my fight for what's right - for Alaska - in a new direction.
Now, despite this, I don't want any Alaskan dissuaded from entering politics after seeing this real "climate change" that began in August no, we need hardworking, average Americans fighting for what's right! And I will support you because we need you and you can effect change, and I can too on the outside.
We need those who will respect our Constitution where government's supposed to serve from the bottom up, not move toward this top down big government take-over but rather, will be protectors of individual rights - who also have enough common sense to acknowledge when conditions have drastically changed and are willing to call an audible and pass the ball when it's time so the team can win! And that is what I'm doing!
Remember Alaska America is now, more than ever, looking North to the Future. It'll be good. So God bless you, and from me and my family - to all Alaska - you have my heart.
And we will be in the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor. And it is my promise to you that I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.
In the words of General MacArthur said, "We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction."