Good morning, my name is John Perdue and I want to be West Virginia's next governor.
When I was growing up in southern West Virginia, it never crossed my mind that I would be standing here today, in front of my family and all of you, announcing my candidacy for the highest office in the state.
West Virginia is full of small towns, and I grew up in one of them. We didn't have much, but we had what we needed.
I am proof that working hard and getting a good education can open up opportunities that you never dreamed possible. For me: being Governor of the state I love.
I am honored to have with me today my wife Robin and my two daughters, Jessica and Emily.
I have been honored to serve as your state Treasurer and I will be honored to be your Governor, as well.
In the fourteen (14) years I have served as your state Treasurer, we established the successful SMART529 College Savings Program, returned over $100 million in Unclaimed Property, and returned financial integrity back to the state and Treasurer's office.
I am also proud that I have helped West Virginia achieve one of the highest bond ratings in the country.
I was recently asked by a reporter: why do you want to be governor? My response was this. A year ago, one of my daughters came to me and said: "Dad, I have a Master's Degree and I still can't find a job." She was considering leaving the state.
We have to find a way to keep our state's best and brightest here in West Virginia so they can help us build a West Virginia unlike any we've seen or experienced yet.
Today - West Virginia stands at a crossroads. While other states are raising taxes and cutting jobs and services, we in West Virginia have an opportunity unlike any that we have seen before.
Will we continue to be near the bottom of everyone's list on health, business growth and education?
Or will we invest in our businesses and our people to create real opportunity and growth for our state?
Over the past few months, I have listened to many West Virginians about their hopes and dreams.
They want a good paying job. They want a better life for their children.
They are concerned about skyrocketing utility costs.
Like my daughter, they want to live and work here in West Virginia and not be forced to go elsewhere because the opportunity isn't here.
From those conversations, I have developed the beginning of a Plan for West Virginia.
Over the years, we have watched other states, our neighboring states, prosper. It was like someone whispering in our ear. "You wait West Virginia. It's not your time yet."
I say our time has come. West Virginia's time has come.
But we need strong leadership for these tough times.
We need a Governor who knows the difference between spending money and investing in our future.
We need a Governor who can stand up to the utility companies and tell that their many rate increases over the past two years are crippling our people and our businesses and we aren't going to stand for it anymore.
We need a Governor who will work with small businesses to help them find the money they need to grow their companies and create jobs.
We need a Governor who will put people back to work fixing our roads and bridges.
We need a Governor who has a plan - a vision for our state that will create jobs, expand our economy and make sure that every person in our state has the opportunity to prosper.
Our plan will create jobs.
Our plan will grow our economy.
And our plan will open up opportunities for all of those who want it.
Our plan calls for investment in research to help our coal and gas industries. It's time for West Virginia to take control of the national debate on energy.
We have what the rest of the country needs: coal and gas reserves.
West Virginia can be the nation's energy leader, not just in production, but in research and development. I will be proposing a plan to work with industry leaders to establish a matching grant program that will fund clean energy research.
More than 90 percent of the jobs in our state are provided by small businesses. If we want to create real opportunity, we need to help small businesses expand and grow.
I don't know how many small business owners I have talked to over the past two years who tell me they can't grow their business because they can't find anyone to loan them money.
We need an educated workforce. Our plan establishes programs to improve our education system and particularly the recruitment of new teachers in underserved areas. We also propose new technology to bring quality education to every student no matter where they live in our state.
Our plan is to give teachers the tools and the money they need to teach and then get out of their way.
Let me finish by saying this. Time is short. We only have 92 days left until Election Day.
If you believe that West Virginia's time is now. If you believe that we can - together - create jobs, grow our economy and finally make our state the envy of the region.
If you believe that West Virginia needs a strong leader in these tough times.
I stand ready to serve with you.
I've reformed how our state manages money. I've put some money back in your pockets through Unclaimed Property. And, I've helped you save money for your child's college education.
Now, I'm running to be your next governor to reform, change and improve the way our state's run.
Thank you and God bless you and our great state of West Virginia.