Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's 2012 State of the State Address
Read Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's 2012 State of the State Address
Speaker Tobin, President Pierce, Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Centennial Legislature, Chief Justice Berch and Justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers, tribal leaders, honored guests, and my fellow Arizonans:
I probably don’t have to tell you that I love Arizona.
It’s my home. It’s our home.
It’s an extraordinary place.
After a long, hard day, I look forward to walking into my garden to rest and to relax, enjoy the wildlife, watch the sun set, and plan for the challenges ahead.
Yes, even including preparing for a State of the State address.
But, it’s impossible to be in this chamber today, and not recall that terrible day a year ago – a day that is now a part of our history – the day evil came on a sunny morning in Tucson.
We knew Saturday, January Eighth, 2011 -- would be a mark on our memory: Fixed. Forever.
We knew that time could not wash it away. So, we remember. And, in that reflection – today -- the tears belong to Arizona.
I know countless prayers have been offered this past year -- and continue to be offered -- for those we lost –
-- Judge John Roll
-- Dot Morris
-- Phyllis Schneck
-- Dorwan Stoddard
-- Gabe Zimmerman … and …
-- Christina Taylor Green.
Though the completeness of life has been broken by their absence -- we continue with their memory close to our hearts.
And, we celebrate the continuing – and inspirational -- recovery of those who were wounded in the attack -- including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords – our friend and colleague.
We emerge from tragedy and crisis because we’re Arizonans – we’re WESTERN strong.
We enter our Centennial Year proud of the land that our founding pioneers both tamed and developed -- while they were tested by time and circumstances.
The great names … Udall … Hayden … McFarland … Fannin … Pyle … Rhodes … and Goldwater …
-- They’re all giant bookmarks in the pages of Arizona history.
And, yes, there were women, too, who have rightly taken their place in those pages, -- women like Lorna Lockwood. She was elected to the Arizona Supreme Court in 1960 and served as vice chief justice and chief justice. She became the first woman chief justice in Arizona and in U.S. history.
We’re proud to be their children.
Proud of what they gave us.
Arizonans – native-born and coming from all parts of the nation and world – found their opportunity to succeed or fail in the last great frontier of the continental United States and built this state.
So let us, here today, make this pledge for Arizona's second century:
We will not betray their confidence or squander our state inheritance!
Arizona will remain the last frontier of opportunity!
I’ve always held a special place in my heart for these Arizona pioneers – I’ve always been inspired by their strength -- their sense of family and heritage – their reverence for tradition …
Many of the images you’ll see on the screen today were taken by Scott Baxter, part of a Centennial Legacy Project called 100 Years 100 Ranchers – memorializing Arizona ranching families who have been on the land for more than 100 years.
As you can see, Scott’s work beautifully captures the strength and dignity of the Arizona rancher, and we are grateful for his work, allowing all of us to see deeply into our roots. We’re proud to have Scott here today … Scott would you please stand and allow this Chamber to thank you for your great gift and outstanding work.
These titans of the century that we’re leaving behind understood – and it’s important for us to remember – that the federal government played a key role in the development of Arizona. It’s an example of how federal and state cooperation can – and should – work.
Now, as you might have heard, I take a back seat to NO ONE when it comes to taking on Washington D.C. – when it comes to standing up for Arizona. But, there was a time when we could forge the RIGHT partnership with Washington, unfortunately, in far too many instances -- that’s just not true anymore.
Today, Arizonans and Americans are saying to Washington, D.C.:
We don't like an ever-expanding government threatening our personal liberties.
We don't like government living beyond its means and trying to be everything to everyone.
We don't like unconstitutional -- and unfunded -- health care mandates.
And, by the way -- we don’t like open borders either.
We have so many monuments in Arizona that remind us of how things are supposed to work -- in partnership with Washington.
Last March, I was privileged to help mark the 100th anniversary of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, a great monument built at a place the early pioneers called "THE CROSSING."
The crossing in the Salt River was where Native Americans, farmers, and ranchers would ford the river, in the narrow gorge just below the confluence of the Salt River and Tonto Creek.
President Roosevelt’s signature on the Reclamation Act of 1902 supplied the funding mechanism for the dam -- and other projects – triggering the development of the Salt River Valley and the greater Phoenix metropolitan area by providing an assured water supply.
Another monument to federal-state cooperation started in 1973, at Lake Havasu, and … twenty years, 336 miles and $4 billion later -- the Central Arizona Project was completed – bringing life-sustaining water to cities, and farms and Native American communities.
In October of last year, I had the honor of helping dedicate the O’Callaghan-Tillman
Memorial Bridge. It’s an extraordinary structure –the product of the late Arizona Congressman Bob Stump’s relentless pushing and prodding. The bridge restores the freedom to move commercial traffic across Hoover Dam.
With the completion of the bridge, now is the time to add another monument to federal-state cooperation – the future interstate highway linking Phoenix and Las Vegas – the “I-11.”
It will connect two of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.
By the way -- these are the two largest cities in the nation not connected by the inter-state highway system. This project will promote commerce, tourism and trade across the western United States.
We must not wait.
These are markers to celebrate and to revere.
Still, we all remember Arizona’s dark times as we headed into 2009.
I took the helm of a ship I cherished – but it was a ship that was sinking, weighed down by over-spending and expanding bureaucracy – and – quite simply – poor navigation.
Frankly, those dark times are worth remembering -- so we can truly appreciate how far we’ve come -- together.
I know the struggles in this chamber were not fun. I know sometimes tempers were frayed -- patience abandoned, and decorum tested.
But, I also know this …
Arizona has been saved. And, you were a part of that great mission.
We all know it wasn’t by accident.
We had a plan – and, it was the right plan.
How do I know? Because I stand here in front of you, and proudly say …
Ladies and gentlemen, Arizona now has a balanced budget!
Arizona now has a positive cash balance!
But, there’s more …
Our State Government is smaller.
Our State Government is more efficient.
Our State Government is focused on the future.
Now, an integral part of our recovery plan was the passage of Proposition 100 – the one-cent sales tax approved overwhelmingly by the voters for three years.
The voters were promised it would be temporary. Many doubted that.
Well, I gave my word to the voters.
And, a promise is a promise …
So, I’m here today to say: This tax will end on my watch!
This tax will end after three years in 2013.
We’re blessed to live in a growing state where Arizona families will --- and should --- turn to public schools with confidence to educate their children. Our state is a leader in allowing parents to choose a school that best meets their children’s needs.
We must find a way to fund the results we want and reward those educators who guide us into our next century.
That's my commitment to children for the next century -- quality teachers -- a safe environment -- a setting of parents' choosing – data driven decisions and the highest of standards.
That’s the foundation for job creation – something we’re doing as a part of the great Arizona comeback
We’re creating jobs -- 46,000 of them in the last year alone.
In fact, Arizona’s job growth ranks 7th best in the nation.
Not bad, my friends, not bad at all.
And, we’re just getting started!
There’s more good news. Our state credit outlook has stabilized. Companies are again locating in Arizona – attracted by our lean regulations -- competitive tax policies and ready workforce.
While this is all great news – it’s not enough.
Too many Arizonans remain unemployed or underemployed.
This economic downturn has been tough for them and their families.
I haven’t forgotten about them.
Together with all of you here, I intend to do everything in my power to help Arizonans prepare for our ever-changing economy.
Together, just like last year, let's continue to lower taxes, cut regulation and tell all employers that Arizona means business!
Arizona is open for business!
We need to make Arizona the free-market beacon to the nation and the world where you have the opportunity to prosper.
How are we going to create the conditions for success?
Well, today I’m releasing a detailed written policy agenda.
Now, you’ll be glad to hear I won't be going through it line-by-line this afternoon -- so relax.
Rather, today is a day for reflection on an extraordinary milestone of Arizona’s first century – it’s a time to look forward to our second century.
I asked for this job because I want to permanently reform state government.
I’m here to make a difference.
We’re ALL here to make a difference.
Here’s what Arizonans -- the nation -- and world -- will see when we succeed:
They’re going to see the personal incomes of Arizonans increase.
They’re going to see us recapture our position as a top job creator by getting back to the fundamentals that built Arizona in the first place.
They’re going to see excellence and accountability in our education system.
They’re going to see a refashioned government equipped for our next 100 years of prosperity.
It will be a limited, efficient, nimble government – including personnel reform that improves the management of the workforce -- restructures the grievance and appeal systems -- and modifies human resource practices.
And, they’re going to see our passion for border security and public safety make Arizona a special place for families and businesses to thrive.
Arizona deserves no less!
This past summer, Arizona faced a frightening enemy – an enemy that threatened lives and livelihoods and the natural beauty of our state. More than 1 percent of the total land mass in Arizona burned.
Those fires proved -- once again -- that federal land management policies have left our public lands overgrown and vulnerable to the kinds of massive blazes we saw last year. We need a return to responsible thinning and active management of federal lands.
Here is my question to the federal government: How long will Arizona and other western states have to burn before you do something? We can’t afford another disaster.
Arizona is trying to lead the way with its 4 Forest Restoration Initiative. 4FRI has been delayed almost a year now. We need a contractor to be chosen so we can start thinning our forests. 4 FRI was a truly collaborative process and it needs to be implemented NOW!
We’ve done our part. We need the federal government to do ITS part!
Along with the physical devastation, personal tragedy struck when veteran firefighter “Dino” Classay was killed in the line of duty while responding to the Diamond Fire on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation near Whiteriver. He was a Fort Apache Hotshot Crew veteran, one of only seven all-Native American interagency hotshot crews in the country.
That heroism is not uncommon in our state -- -- but, tragically -- neither is
grievous loss of those who gave the last true measure of devotion for their communities and their country.
They are now forever a part of Arizona -- -- part of its history of courage and sacrifice.
They are Arizonans who loved their country and their state with affection only heroes can know. Here are those in uniform Arizona lost in the past year, including a Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy killed just yesterday.
Let our service in this building honor their sacrifice.
Please rise and join me in saluting them.
On February 14, 1912, President William Howard Taft proclaimed Arizona the 48th -- and last -- of the contiguous states to enter the Union of the United States of America.
Ten decades later, we celebrate Arizona's 100th anniversary of statehood and I know the Arizona Centennial Commission has been hard at work traveling the state and encouraging all Arizonans to get involved.
Nearby this Chamber is the building that was created as part of an effort to demonstrate that the Arizona Territory was ready for statehood.
Its design -- by James Gordon -- called for the Capitol to be much larger -- with a more prominent rotunda and large wings for both houses of the Legislature on each side of the current building.
But, a shortage of funds meant the project had to be scaled down – to what it is today.
I think that building is a perfect symbol for this New Year.
We’re scaling down this government.
We’re making it fit what we can afford.
In my mind, it's pretty simple: less government means more freedom and opportunity for Arizonans!
I’m sure you’ve seen that the dome of this Capitol is shining once again.
I like to think that it’s shining with the same copper brilliance once intended. It’s a brilliance that says … Arizona’s gleam is back, and, its future is bright.
There’s just one problem … most of our Capitol Complex -- including the building we gather in today, is not ours.
So, to fortify that symbol – to make all of our capitol truly ours once again -- I’m asking that you send me a bill by Statehood Day that allows me to buy back the Capitol Complex!
Together, we can celebrate the burning of that mortgage!
… And, just east of Phoenix International Raceway -- near Turn #4 -- there is a hill often used for seating called Monument Hill. Toward the top of the hill is another symbol – it’s a little known historical marker with a concrete "X."
Called the Initial Point, its where surveys for the state first began and still remains the site for all surveys conducted in Arizona. As the official midpoint of the state, Monument Hill is essentially "the heart of Arizona."
The Arizona Centennial -- like the monuments that mark Arizona’s 100 year-old path -- such as the Initial Point – gives us a chance to set our bearings for the next century – an opportunity for all Arizonans to share our great pride in the past, and prepare for the future with a compass heading that is true, worthy and resolute.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Centennial Legislature, WE are the Architects of our Second Century.
So, will you please join me as we continue to re-build this great state – a state with restrained regulation – limited government -- a steadfast commitment to the 10th Amendment -- an unwavering commitment to advancing freedom.
I ask you, once again, to join me in securing those freedoms:
-- Freedom to build a business -- without suffocating regulation.
-- Freedom to build a life and to raise a family -- without the "nanny state" interfering.
-- Freedom to speak the truth about government -- and those who would lead it -- without fear of retribution.
-- And freedom to increase your income -- without someone telling you that you’re making too much money.
However, freedom should never be separated from responsibility.
So, I’m asking every one of you in this room – every Arizonan beyond these walls -- to make a personal statement in support of our Centennial year.
I’m calling on everyone to make a contribution to the future – volunteer – volunteer at your local school – volunteer in service at your place of worship – volunteer at shelters, at food banks.
People are still hurting.
So, volunteer for the least and the lost.
Volunteer to provide food or clothing to the less fortunate. Lend a hand at a charity, retirement home, hospital – anywhere your talents, time and heart can be invested in the lives of others.
Let the spirit of service be at the heart of our centennial year.
Barry Goldwater wrote an article for the February 14, 1962, edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen -- titled “Arizona’s Next Fifty Years.”
He concluded his look 50 years into the future where we stand today -- with the following words:
My children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be as happy living here as I have been during the first 50 years of statehood, because the people will remain warm and kind and thoughtful. And even though much of what we know as desert will have disappeared, there will remain a sufficient amount of natural beauty to satisfy all of the desires of the 10 million people who will live here.
And, Barry Goldwater closed with -- Even though I hope to be on Cloud Nine -- or Ten -- or whatever they allot me -- I am sure that 50 years from now, I will look down on this delightful spot on earth, and be envious of the people who call Arizona their home in the year 2012.
Well, we know that Barry Goldwater – and the rest of our pillars of the past – are still watching -- watching what we do with the next 100 years.
Our future depends on the choices we make.
And, if there's one thing I learned from my mother and my years of public service it’s that life is about choices.
It’s choosing what's tough over what's tempting.
It’s choosing the truthful over the false.
And, it’s choosing a government that’s necessary -- over a government that’s merely desired!
America is an exceptional nation, and I believe Arizona is an exceptional state.
I believe our destiny arrives -- in this time -- and in this place -- and binds us together in some wonderful and mysterious way with the great giants of our past.
I believe that we -- in this chamber -- and the people we represent -- are connected in common purpose with the Keepers of the Arizona range.
To each, we say: You have shown us the way. You, and your families, plowed the fields -- harvested the crops -- mined the ore -- raised the cattle -- and endured the dust and the heat -- the rains and the wind -- to allow this territorial land to rise up as a symbol of what freedom and individual courage can create.
I hope, years from now, that my career, my record, my life … guided by God’s grace … all stand as proof of my love for this beautiful state -- and my caring for all who call this place home.
In his, February 14, 1912 inaugural address, Governor George W.P. Hunt, concluded his remarks by saying, “I have the hope, the ambition and determination to so discharge my public trust that it will be said of me that ‘he started the state off right’.”
Well, I have similar hope -- and determination -- to so serve the people of Arizona that it will be said of you and me together -- one hundred years from now -- “They started the state off right … into its Second Century.”
May God bless you – and our glorious 100-year-old state -- and may God always bless and protect the United States of America.
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