Shalom, Boker Tov. Good morning. Thank you very much for the opportunity to join you here at the Stock Exchange. I bring you greetings from your friends in Maryland. We have a group of business and university leaders with us. Together, we are working to strengthen the already strong business, cultural, academic, and diplomatic ties between the people of Israel and the people of Maryland.
By applause how many of you have family or friends in Maryland? This is my third visit to Israel, and during every visit I've been struck by how many people I meet who have a cousin in Baltimore or an uncle in Rockville.
The ties between Israel and Maryland go all the way back to the earliest days of modern Israeli statehood. The good ship Exodus set sail from the shores of Baltimore. It's fitting that so many years after this ship would embark on its mission to save lives, Maryland and Israeli researchers, scientists, and businesses would continue to work together to save lives.
In fact, in sector after sector, Israelis and Marylanders are partnering together on discoveries, cures, and technologies that are remaking the way we feed, fuel, and heal our planet.
I wanted to share with you a little bit about the work we are doing in Maryland to create jobs through innovation -- and why we hope you will consider bringing your business to our State.
Like the modern Israeli economy, Maryland's economy is an Innovation Economy. We have identified certain innovation sectors where we have the greatest competitive advantages. This tune will sound familiar to many of you, because they are sectors where Israeli businesses, scientists, and researchers are established global leaders.
One of these sectors is life sciences. I am told that Israel exports more healing per capita than any country on earth -- a beautiful illustration of the higher principles of Tikkun Olam. This is quite an inspiration for us in Maryland, where we are known as the "home of the genome."
Many of the 59 federal government facilities in our State are places of leading bioscience research and discovery -- including the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
We're are also home to one of our country's two largest per capita clusters of biotech companies. Companies like Israel's own Teva Pharmaceuticals. Companies like MedImmune, where
Marylanders created the first no-needle H1N1 vaccine, which is easier to administer to children, Companies likes Novavax, where Marylanders are producing the next generation flu vaccine that is able to adapt to changes in the strains of virus that can occur anywhere in the world, .
There are also major discoveries happening at our universities. At Johns Hopkins University, for example, Marylanders are working on the first synthetic dividing cell. At the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Gallo is leading a team researching a promising new HIV vaccine.
Maryland also leads in space, aerospace and defense -- as your colleagues at Elta can attest: they recently chose Maryland to house their U.S. operations. We are the home of NASA's Goddard Space Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Hubble Telescope, and Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Lab.
As the home of America's Cyber Command and the National Institute of Standards & Technology, Maryland is our country's epicenter of Cyber Security.
And with America's 4th largest percentage of workers employed in green jobs, we're also putting a special priority on green technology and clean, renewable energy.
To support these sectors we've created targeted tax credits -- including a credit I recently signed into law for cyber security. In addition, we're partnering with employers as well as NGOs and higher education to provide more workers with skills training.
We support innovation and education in Maryland by taking a balanced approach to budgeting. On one hand, we have cut more stand spending than any Administration in our State's history while protecting our Triple A Bond Rating.
We've balanced these reforms with modern investments in priorities like public schools, affordable higher education, and upgrades to our roads, bridges, school buildings, community colleges, hospitals, clean water infrastructure, and cyber infrastructure.
We choose this balanced approach because we believe in Maryland something that you believe in Israel: to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: innovating, education, and rebuilding for our children's future.
We believe something else as well: that to innovate in the private sector we also must be willing to innovate in the way we govern: setting public goals and measuring government performance on a weekly basis; eliminating and reforming pages of regulations, fast tracking jobs projects; streamlining business licensing; creating public-private partnerships; reforming public education to reinvigorate education in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math.
These better choices have allowed us to deliver better results. For example: last year, Maryland ranked #1 in our region for job growth. For the last five years, America's leading education periodical has ranked Maryland public schools #1 best in America. Our country's national Chamber of Commerce ranks us #1 for innovation and entrepreneurship. We also rank #1 for affordable college. #1 for PHD scientists and engineers per capita. And we're #1 for research and development.
We are also in the Top 2 for science and technology and human capital capacity -- the strength of our workforce.
As I close, I just wanted to share a few other reasons that Maryland is the ideal U.S. location for your business. Maryland is often nicknamed "America in Miniature" -- and we are a very diverse State; diverse in geography, diverse in economy, diverse in people, diverse in culture.
We are home to Baltimore, one of America's great cities, and we are next door neighbors to Washington DC. Much of the city's professional and diplomatic community reside in our State.
We are close to all major international embassies and home to a growing number of foreign nationals.
We're only a quick train ride or flight to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston -- and with two airports, multiple rail options and a worldclass port -- we have the transportation infrastructure that allows businesses to create jobs and prosper.
Maryland is one of America's most vibrant centers of Jewish life,and we have a large community of Israeli residents already working in Maryland and participating in social and business networks.
In fact, I'm told that there is an apartment complex in Rockville that is home to so many Israeli families that it's known as "the Kibbutz." We are even home to a Hebrew language Tzofim. For these reasons, we are home to nearly 20 Israeli companies -- and we hope yours will be next.
Todah Raba. Thank you very much.