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Public Statements

Second Inaugural Address

Location: Unknown

Mr. Chief Justice, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Pro Tem, fellow constitutional officers, our congressional delegation, honored legislators, judges, county and city officials, citizens…fellow Idahoans.

Thank you for being here today to share once again in this celebration of our freedom.

I offer my congratulations to our returning legislators whose work earned the continuing support of the voters.

And I extend my sincere thanks to the newly elected legislators entering the arena of public service at a very challenging but exciting time in Idaho's history.

I also want to offer my compliments and best wishes to my fellow constitutional officers and the many other individuals at every level of government who worked hard to earn the people's confidence.

And I especially want to thank my family -- and especially your First Lady, Miss Lori -- for their patience, understanding and unwavering support during the past four years and during a very tough campaign.

Finally, allow me to thank our State employees, whose hard work and dedication and sincerity to public service make up such an important part of our social fabric, and make this job so fulfilling.

Four years ago I stood before you on this very spot, on the steps of the People's House, to take the oath of office as your Governor and to thank you for trusting me to lead State government in a way that is consistent with the principles we share.

Idahoans are deeply concerned with decisions that affect the liberties and opportunities available for future generations.

Idahoans take seriously their job in electing individuals who will safeguard those freedoms.

That's why I am even more grateful and humbled to once again be standing here as the person you chose to be your Governor for the next four years.

I am reassured and reaffirmed that the work I did in the past four years lived up to the assignment we were given -- to ensure that government maintains its proper role as the people's servant.

From advancing Project 60 to instituting zero-base budgeting; from reaching a landmark nuclear waste agreement to fostering the emergence of a world-class renewable and alternative energy industry; from establishing a framework for addressing water management issues to resolving a lingering dispute over field burning; and from enabling the people to create the
College of Western Idaho to building the Idaho Education Network.

We have accomplished a lot and begun tackling even more during the last four years.

Unfortunately, the economic landscape of our country also has changed dramatically since 2007.

As a result, Americans have a renewed appreciation for fiscal caution and the virtue of frugality -- in government and in their personal lives.

As I stand before you today, my thoughts are with the 70,000 Idahoans who are out of work -- many through no fault of their own.

My message to them is that those of us in State government are more committed than ever to addressing the root of our economic woes by tapping into the enterprising spirit of our communities, our families, and individual men and women to create new opportunities.

We also must continue to reflect in our State budget the way in which we all have handled the financial circumstances of our personal lives.

The key is using common sense to restructure government in ways that foster collaborative partnerships, produce efficiencies and make better use of our tax dollars -- now and in the future.

As President Reagan said in his second inaugural address, "We must act now to protect future generations from Government's desire to spend its citizens' money and tax them into servitude when the bills come due."

Unfortunately, our national government has continued to grow dramatically in size and scope -- disproportionately to our population growth and far beyond its intended role.

The sense of personal responsibility and public accountability that guided and inspired generations of Americans from our founding has been dangerously diminished over time.

In 1816, in the early blush of our national government's growing influence, Thomas Jefferson already was sounding the alarm. He wrote, "We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude."

You all have seen it happen -- tolerance for mission creep spawns an attitude of passive acceptance that government's needs come before those of the people. The divide is increasingly drawn between those who work for a living, and those who vote for a living.

Ladies and gentlemen, that day is gone.

Frugality in the public sector should not be seen as cruel or careless, but rather as necessary to maintaining our economic and personal liberties.

Thomas Jefferson would be pleased to know the Republic -- as he and the Framers intended it -- is alive and well in Idaho.

It's alive and well because people like you remain willing to take a stand, to post your standard of state sovereignty and say no when confronted with a federal government that is spinning out of control and has lost its bearings.

President Reagan could have been speaking directly to us today when he said on beginning his second term that Americans "must not repeat the well-intentioned errors of our past. We must never again abuse the trust of working men and women by sending their earnings on a futile chase after the spiraling demands of a bloated federal establishment."

Responsible management of State government spending and pushing back against federal intrusions on our sovereignty are important parts of my job as your Governor. But they're not the only ones.

Over the next four years you can expect my administration to keep building partnerships for addressing some of our most pressing challenges, to keep clearing the way for entrepreneurs to create more career opportunities, and to keep protecting our Idaho way of life.

You will see what started as emergency measures taken in response to the Great Recession's impact on Idaho become standard operating practices in our State government -- permanent changes in how we do business, aimed at leaving a smaller, better-defined and more constructive imprint on our people's lives.

Idahoans are best characterized by their determination.

We always are determined to improve ourselves and our communities, and we depend on each other to make that happen.

We labor together, we celebrate our victories together, and together we work to make our State an oasis of personal compassion and unlimited opportunity.

We are a home for heroes -- like those thousands of brave Idaho men and women, those gallant war fighters, from the National Guard and Reserve now once again in harm's way in far away lands.

Our hopes and prayers are with them as we hold their loved ones in the protective embrace of our Idaho Family back here at home.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to be part of this Idaho Family, and I know you will join me in continuing to meet our challenges head on.

With your help, creativity and civic virtue, I am confident that the opportunities ahead of us will be limitless.

Thank you once again. God bless you, God bless Idaho, and God bless America.

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