Around the country, Delaware's known for a lot of things -- For our history, as America's first state,
And for our industries -- as one of the nation's financial centers, and a launching pad for scientific innovation.
Most Delawareans, and a growing number of Americans, know that our largest industry is actually agriculture- which drives around $8 billion dollar of economic impact each year.
Last week, we introduced a balanced budget proposal that made clear that jobs, education and governing responsibly remain our state's top priorities. It helped chart a path forward in each area, including support for our state's Young Farmers' program.
Shortly after that unveiling, I had the chance to join our US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who was in town to address the annual Agricultural Industry Dinner, to share his support for our critical ag. industry and to explain a bit about the President's efforts in Washington to keep the national economy moving.
Both before and during the dinner, we spoke with pride about our state's 2,480 farms and cover more than 40% of our state's total area- over 490,000 acres.
And we talked about the Delaware values of hard work, cooperation, diligence and focus that are part of everything we do.
It was inspiring to hear how much the Secretary knew about our state's great farmers, how important he considered our role in the nation's food supply and how he shared our optimism for the growing role our farms and farmers would play in exporting Delaware agriculture abroad.
You know, you always hope people leave our great state with a positive impression.
In this case, that hope was rewarded.
When asked what he took away from his time here, the Secretary said he was moved by so many of the great people he met, and by: "the opportunity to hear directly from Delawareans on how we work together to build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules."
He pledged that "together we will keep our nation moving forward and rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded."
To me, it sounded like he was pledging to try and bring to Washington the kind of work we get to do each day here in Delaware, where -- whether it's in farms or finance, Selbyville or Smyrna -- we keep working together to keep Delaware, moving forward.