Thank you Mike [Foust, CEO Digital Realty Trust] and congratulations on choosing Richardson for this project.
It's a real privilege to join the good people of Richardson in dedicating a facility that holds the promise of new growth and new opportunity for the Telecom Corridor.
Over the last few decades in this country, we've seen a number of city, state, and even regional economies decimated when core industries fade away, move overseas, or get shouldered aside by newer technology.
The ability to rebuild, reinvent and repurpose entire industries is key to economic survival in this increasingly competitive world.
This facility shows that Texas is still competing and winning because of hardworking visionaries and committed economic development organizations who are willing to think bigger and work harder than anyone else.
In Texas, we've worked hard to cultivate an environment that is conducive to the creation of high-tech jobs, where innovation is rewarded and employers have the best chance to succeed.
That environment attracts the best and brightest researchers and thought-leaders like Digital Realty Trust.
That favorable climate is basically built upon three things: a comparatively strong state economy, a tradition of high-tech excellence and a workforce ready for the challenging jobs of the 21st century.
When it comes to economic strength, I wouldn't trade places with any other governor in America.
Our unemployment rate is a point-and-a-half below the national average and Texas employers have produced more private sector jobs than any other state in the nation over the past ten years.
Texas remains the top exporting state in the country and is home to more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state.
I attribute the core strength of our economy to a few key factors, starting with hardworking Texans.
These folks are succeeding in an environment shaped by our commitment to low taxes.
Just last month, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranked Texas first among big states and No. 2 overall among states with the lowest tax burden on small businesses.
That's from their study of all taxes, from capital gains to unemployment to state gasoline levies.
We have a predictable regulatory climate so employers know what to expect when they're risking their capital.
We've also reformed our legal system to cut down on over-suing.
This approach allows employers spend less time in court fighting frivolous suits and more time creating jobs.
These core values support an economy that is faring considerably better than the rest of the nation, and proving the wisdom of our approach, including our strategic investments.
For example, our Emerging Technology Fund has provided over $135 million to bright minds, helping move their discoveries from the lab to the marketplace and making sure great ideas born in Texas remain in Texas.
We've also invested more than $153 million in research projects at our universities, investments that help draw some of the world's top subject matter experts to Texas.
In turn, their presence attracts more bright minds and investment, strengthening our critical mass.
That all adds up to a pretty attractive package for high-tech companies deciding where to locate their headquarters and start hiring.
To keep strengthening our workforce, we're continuing our efforts to prepare Texas students to fill those jobs.
Following the last legislative session, I signed House Bill 3, which not only placed greater emphasis on the basics, but also ratcheted up the level of accountability.
It ensures our standards, curricula and textbooks are college-ready, while giving students more flexibility to choose courses that interest and motivate them.
Our goal is to prepare high school students to graduate college or career ready no matter what their economic status.
We will also build on the success of our STEM academies, which teach the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math that our students need to succeed.
Since I announced the T-STEM initiative almost five years ago, we have funded 46 of these remarkable schools in Texas, and watched them change the lives of at-risk high school students.
Already, 86 percent of these schools are exemplary or recognized, and all are meeting state standards.
On average, T-STEM campuses outperformed their peers by 18 percentage points in the 2008 Math TAKS, and 19 percentage points in the 2008 Science TAKS.
Our focus on improving public education is essential because our schools are grooming the next generation of innovators.
They're the ones who must be prepared to adapt as the marketplace continues to change, just as Digital Realty Trust and other visionaries are helping adapt the Telecom Corridor to accommodate the rapidly-growing data needs of today and tomorrow.
To everyone involved in this project, I commend you for your success, I encourage you to continue striving and I thank you for making our state a better place to live.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.