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Doing the Responsible Things Earns Public Support, Even in Difficult Times


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I've read all the postmortems and punditry about the "meaning" of the November 2nd election results. I believe most of it is well-intentioned, although there certainly is a fair amount of cynicism, condescension and sour grapes involved. And yes, there has been a little chest thumping too. None of it is warranted.

The most disappointing part of any campaign season, for me, is the degree to which we question one another's motives and civic virtue. The truth is that each of us from our own perspective -- regardless of our political affiliation -- are doing our level best to make Idaho a better place for our children and grandchildren than it is today. We agree on more than we disagree, and we mutually embrace more values than divide us.

One of those shared values is a commitment to the process we just experienced -- voting, and peacefully expressing our views about our state, our republic, and the public policies that we create to bring order and stability to our society. My takeaway from Election Day was gratitude for that process and for the opportunity it gives citizens to weigh in on what we've done and what we propose to do.

I also am grateful and honored to be given the chance to continue advancing the policies of limited government and unlimited opportunity that characterize my administration and inform my decisions as your Governor. I take the election results, in my own race as well as those for the Legislature, as an endorsement of our determination to make the tough decisions necessary to ensure that State government lives within the people's means.

That does not mean everyone agrees with all our decisions; clearly they do not. However, it does mean voters understand the difficulty of those decisions and appreciate our willingness to make them and take responsibility for them. When I say that you can expect to see more of the same in 2011 and beyond, I mean that you can depend on us to continue making the best and most responsible decisions we can, no matter the circumstances, and then we'll "own" the results.

It is encouraging to see confirmation of my firm belief that the people of Idaho reject government policies that enable the culture of entitlement and dependency that is dragging down so many other states and creating an enormous national debt that will be burdening our descendants for decades.
While we are seeing some positive signs in Idaho's economy, there is a lot of work left to be done to restore the level of prosperity we all want. We are on the right track, advancing our economic development goals and stabilizing our business climate. But those of us in State government realize all too well that setting the next budget will be even tougher than it was last winter. Revenue is nowhere near where we'd like it yet, and our fiscal realities are further complicated by bad federal policies -- especially when it comes to health care and other unfunded mandates.

With your renewed vote of confidence, the Legislature and I look forward to meeting our challenges head on by further improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of government, by doing more with less, and by finding new and better ways to do the people's business.

First and foremost, that business is ensuring that Idaho is a place where our existing businesses have the opportunity to grow, where out-of-state businesses want to expand or relocate, and where global investors want to grow with us and create career opportunities for Idahoans. Success in that endeavor will enable us to provide an education system -- K-12, colleges and universities, and vocational-technical training -- that is cost effective, results oriented, and most of all responsive to the needs of our citizens.

All that won't happen overnight, or during the 2011 legislative session -- maybe not even during the four years of my second term. But the sentiment I heard throughout the recent campaign, and what I believe the election results reflect, is that my job and our responsibility is to build our future on a firm foundation of fiscal responsibility, efficient and sustainable services, and adherence to the proper role of government. You have my pledge to continue doing the right thing for Idaho and the people I serve.

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