Thank you Janine [Turner] for that introduction.
I'd also like to take a moment to thank a woman who's certainly close to my heart, someone who every day defines exactly what it means to be a Texas Woman: my wife, the First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry.
Anita personifies the character of the women of our state, who never stop working to make Texas a better place to live.
Where they see the need, they get involved, and they make the changes happen.
Whether serving as First Lady, on the Governor's Commission for Women, in our Senate or House of Representatives, as Secretary of State, or as a Justice on our Supreme Court, women continue to improve the lives of Texans everywhere.
For that, you have our everlasting gratitude.
When John Connally formed the Governor's Commission for Women in 1967, the world was quite a bit different, full of possibility, but still tied down to the traditions of the past.
Today, thanks to the pioneers who broke down barriers and flew in the face of stereotypes, a girl born in Texas knows in her heart that the only limits placed upon her are the size of her dreams.
As a state, and as a nation, we've come a long way toward meeting the spirit of the first Governor's Commission on Women, but everyone here knows we've a long way to go yet.
To that end, I commend the commission for its efforts in advancing the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to Texas girls.
These STEM subjects are not only key to the lifelong success of the next generations of Texas women, they're key to the success of our state as a whole.
When it comes to the jobs of the future, our daughters won't be competing against the best from the next school district over, or even the next state.
They'll be competing against the best and brightest from all around the world, and you can bet they're bringing their "A" game.
Making sure Texas girls have the opportunity to earn an education in these STEM subjects means they'll have the opportunity to earn those jobs, which makes for a stronger Texas, in the long run.
A strong Texas means strong jobs, and we need to maintain the sound policies that have helped Texas employers create more jobs than any other state through the first decade of this century.
Those jobs meant new paychecks for families that perhaps weren't earning one before. Or a better job, leading to more free time with the kids, or time spent with a spouse.
Strong jobs mean better lives for all Texans.
Therefore, we have to remain true to the simple, conservative values that have kept Texas' economy a national leader.
One, don't spend all the money and keep our taxes low.
Two, keep regulations predictable, so employers know what to expect from one day, one quarter, one year to the next.
Three, limit junk lawsuits so employers can spend time creating jobs, and doctors can focus on caring for their patients instead of defending themselves against frivolous claims.
Four, make the schools more accountable, so the workforce of tomorrow is better educated.
Those simple principles have imparted stability to our economy and encouraged entrepreneurs to create jobs.
Jobs are key to strong families, as well as a strong sense of self-worth, whether you're a young woman fresh out of college, or someone with a decade or two of experience under your belt, in the workplace or at home.
When it comes to strong homes, the strongest I know belong to those supporting the members of our U.S. military.
Throughout Texas, and across our country, military families have been divided as the brave men and women of our armed forces fight for freedom around the globe.
It takes a special kind of strength to hold a family together in the face of extended absences, all-too-infrequent phone calls, missed holidays, and the stress of knowing a loved one is in harm's way.
It is our obligation to do everything we can to ease the burden on our military families...and that's an obligation Texas will keep.
Whether you're a woman serving in a military zone, holding the family together at home, volunteering for a cause you believe in, or creating jobs as one of our visionary entrepreneurs, you are all essential to the Lone Star State.
I commend everyone here for the hard work you put in, freeing every Texan to contribute the best of his or her ability, to help keep our state the best place to live, work and raise a family.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.