Thank you, Richard, for that kind introduction.
Your friendship means a lot to me.
Your Southern charm and kindness have been a welcome addition to Arizona.
I do want to thank the Copper Club for recognizing the men and women of Arizona's copper mining industry as its "Copper Persons of the Year."
I accept this award on their behalf with deep gratitude. I know just the place for it in my conference room where we can show it off to the whole world.
How wonderful it is that the Copper Club chose to meet here in recognition of Arizona's Centennial.
As you know, the copper industry has played -- is playing -- and will be playing -- a key role in the development of our state.
Arizona recognizes and honors the importance of copper in many ways. Quite simply, metal matters for Arizona.
We have a copper star in the middle of our state flag.
Our state Capitol dome is made of copper.
Our state seal has a miner in it -- and I want to tell you more about him in a minute. Arizonans are reminded of copper in a variety of ways on a daily basis.
All types of businesses use "copper" in their names -- from Copper State Bolt & Nut, the famous Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, to the "Copper Blues" -- a nightclub and comedy club in downtown Phoenix.
We even had a "Copper Chopper" motorcycle that toured the state in celebration of our centennial.
Arizona has the headquarters of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold in Phoenix and Asarco in Tucson. And, Arizona mines produce more copper than all the other states combined. But, don't be fooled, Arizona is not resting on its laurels.
Like all of you, in Arizona we recognize the importance of capital investment for new and expanding copper mines -- and we understand the need for better tax, labor and regulatory policies. Under my watch, here's some of what we've done:
It was recently announced that Arizona is ranked as the 10th best state for its business environment according to the May, 2012 edition of the Chief Executive Magazine -- up from 13th place last year.
One of my first acts as Governor was to impose a moratorium and review of all new and existing regulations.
I just signed Senate Bill 1287 into law that eliminates four areas of redundant or excessive regulation of the mines.
The bill was the result of my Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Mining Association working together to identify areas where the state over-regulates.
The State of Arizona is aggressively implementing the "lean" waste elimination principles to reduce environmental permit processing times.
We aim to reduce permitting processing times by one-third to one-half without sacrificing environmental standards.
Now, I realize we can only do so much when we have a federal government that's pursuing the opposite course of action -- with more and more regulation and regulatory uncertainty for our mines and business in general.
Frankly, I was astounded recently when the current administration filed a challenge with the World Trade Organization against China's export restrictions on rare earth minerals.
These minerals are critical for the creation of a modern economy. I understand that China has cornered the market by producing 95 percent of all rare earth minerals.
Well, here's an idea instead of suing China, let's mine those minerals right here in the United States! -- and sell them to the rest of the world!
Before I close, I want to tell you about that miner on our state seal.
His name was George Warren -- and his life story is filled with legend, mystery and scandal. An itinerant prospector, Warren was financed by another prospector who had been mining in the Mule Mountains where traces of copper had been discovered.
Subsequently, in 1877, Warren filed more than 20 mining claims including the Mercy Mine which became "Queen of the Copper Camps" in Bisbee, Arizona, one of the world's most productive copper mines.
But, Warren liked to drink, tell tale tales, make wild wagers, and not pay his debts.
In an 1879 bar-room wager, Warren bet all of his claims that he could run faster than a man on horseback -- 50 yards, around a pole and back to the starting line. Well, to the surprise of no one except Warren he lost.
In May 1881, Warren was found to be insane by a Cochise County Court Probate Judge and his property -- including real estate, and any remaining interests in mining claims -- were sold at public auction.
Warren lived out his last days in Bisbee, doing occasional work for the Copper Queen Mining Company. He died of pneumonia and heart failure in 1893.
With no one to cover his burial costs, he was buried in the pauper's section of Evergreen Cemetery, marked by a wooden plank labeled "G.W. 24."
But, that was not the end of the story of George Warren.
Before his death, Warren's tall tales and exploits caught the attention of a frontier photographer, who took photos of Warren in a prospector's signature pose, leaning on a miner's pick.
One of those photos subsequently hung in the office of William Brophy.
He was the founder of the Bank of Bisbee and general manager of the Phelps Dodge Mercantile Company -- and the photo was noticed by a delegate to the Arizona constitutional convention who was looking for a photograph of a miner to use as a model to go on the Arizona State seal.
So, today, there on the Great Seal of the State of Arizona, posing, with right arm on a pick and his leg propped up, stands miner George Warren; the man who lost everything except Arizona mortality.
I wanted to tell you about George Warren because, as a miner -- as a copper miner -- he is a part of Arizona -- a vital part of our history and heritage.
The honor you have bestowed on the men and women of Arizona's copper mining industry -- as its "Copper Persons of the Year" -- strengthens the tradition of that great industry you all represent.
I have come here this evening to say -- from the bottom of my heart -- and, on behalf of the Copper Persons of the Year
Thank you, and may God bless you all!