Monday, January 10, 2011

Portion of Text from Governor's Inaugural Address

These highlights come from the We Are Politics website, click on the post title to follow the link.

Highlights of the Inaugural Address of Governor Nathan Deal:

Throughout this "Experiment in Democracy," there has been a healthy skepticism by "We the People" about the role of government which we have "ordained and established." The lingering pain of this "Great Recession" in which we are still engulfed has underscored the urgency of re-examining the role of government in our lives.

Presently, one out of every thirteen Georgia residents is under some form of correctional control. It cost about Three Million Dollars per day to operate our Department of Corrections. And yet, every day criminals continue to inflict violence on our citizens and an alarming number of perpetrators are juveniles.

Our dedicated law enforcement officers must not be targets for criminals. Anyone who harms one of them harms us all.

Breaking the culture of crime and violence is not a task for law enforcement officials alone. Parents must assume more responsibility for their children. Communities must marshal their collective wills; civic and religious organizations must use their influence to set the tone for expected behavior.

One of the other core responsibilities of State government is the education of our children. This is an undertaking that has been the primary focus of several of my predecessors in this office. Despite their best efforts and that of dedicated teachers and educators all across our state, our public education system in grades K through 12 has failed to make the progress we need.

This failure is a stain on our efforts to recruit businesses to our State and is a contributing factor in the frightening crime statistics previously mentioned. High dropout rates and low graduation percentages are incompatible with the future I envision for Georgia.

I ask the members of the General Assembly and our State School Board to work with me to restore discipline in our schools, eliminate bureaucratic nonsense, adopt fair funding mechanisms and reward quality and excellence. If we do these things, we will convey the magic of learning to our children and restore the joy of teaching to our educators.

I am dedicated to honoring the promise that has been made to our students through HOPE and will work with the General Assembly to tailor the program to the financial realities we face today. I was not elected to make easy decisions, but difficult ones. In this legislative session we will save the HOPE for future generations.

We will do our part to deepen the Savannah port in order to accommodate the larger vessels that will soon pass through the Panama Canal. But we must do more. Our rail capacity and cargo routes must be improved and expanded. We must not miss this opportunity to provide jobs for Georgians.

Highway congestion, especially in the Greater Atlanta area is a deterrent to job growth in the region. If we do not solve this problem soon, we will lose the businesses who want to expand or locate in our State.

I am dedicated to working with all elements of government to improve our transportation system and I call on all Georgians to join us. We must put aside some of the regional differences of the past and work for the common good of our State.

As Governor, I will continue to pursue negotiations with Alabama and Florida to reach a resolution of the long standing dispute over the use of water in our Federal reservoirs and our major rivers.

We will develop regional reservoirs and continue our conservation efforts. We have been blessed with abundant water resources and we must use them wisely.

As Governor, I will resist the efforts of the Federal Government to mandate its solutions on our people, our businesses and our State government.

We will do our part to provide healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens, but government cannot make or keep us healthy. The primary responsibility for good health rests with individuals and families. We can help cultivate a culture of wellness in our educational programs and offer incentives in Medicaid and the State Health Insurance Program, but it is only individuals and families that can make healthy lifestyle choices.

So today as we embark on this journey to lead our State forward, I call on all Georgians to assume responsibility for themselves and their family. I call on communities and civic and religious organizations to continue and expand their efforts to serve the needs of people in their area. State government cannot and should not be expected to provide for us what we can provide for ourselves.

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