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Inauguration Speech

Jan 03 2005

Inauguration Speech

Inauguration Video (RealPlayer required)

Chief Justice Durham
Governor and Mr. Walker
Governor and Mrs. Leavitt
Governor and Mrs. Bangerter
Governor Rampton
Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Herbert
Legislative Leaders
Constitutional Officers
Ambassador Zoellick
Religious and Community Leaders
International Friends
Friends and Fellow Utahns

In my remarks I cannot hope to match the beauty of voice we have just heard but I do hope to draw from the inspiration of today's music to share some thoughts with you about the future of the state I love.

First, however, I wish to thank our Inaugural Committee and the National Guard and Reserves, under General Tarbet's leadership. The Guard has never been stretched this thin in the history of our state and we honor their service in particular today. To our men and women in uniform we offer our most heartfelt gratitude.

For me, this day is both exciting and humbling-humbling because today I assume an office that has been held by so many great leaders who have gone before me. I will strive to the best of my ability to always remember the lessons and contributions of our former governors.

I particularly will remember the help that Governor Walker provided to make this such an efficient transition. Thank you for your years of service to a grateful state.

Most importantly, I want to acknowledge my wife Mary Kaye, our six children, and all of my family here today. Thank you for believing in me and seeing me through to this day. I love you all very much.

If I had listened to my mother as a young boy and paid more attention to music lessons, I might now have my back to you conducting Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto with the Utah Symphony. But like the great Maestro Abravanel, after whom this magnificent building is aptly named, I now have a similar - some would say sacred - obligation to conduct a different symphony - one with many voices and competing interests - that is performed by the most unique orchestra this world has ever known - American Democracy.

As Governor, I will work to ensure as Maestro Abravanel did that there is balance among the sections: the brass, the percussion, the strings of this orchestra that is our ever-growing and complex society.

To those who have grown tired and cynical, to those of the emerging generation who think political activism is extinct, I stand before you in the pure spirit of public service - not as a protector of the status quo, but as an agent of change. I stand before you with a burning desire to prove an often forgotten point - that public service is noble, honorable, and in need of greater trust and confidence by you.

Our system relies on each succeeding generation making a sacrifice in the name of service. As a newcomer to elected politics, I ask for your confidence, I ask for your goodwill, I ask for your friendship and your ideas. Will I make mistakes along the way? Unquestionably. Will I occasionally need forgiveness and understanding? Absolutely. What I can promise each of you is my very best.

During the last year and a half, I have been exposed to great ideas generated at the localist of levels, by acquaintances old and new, and by perfect strangers who care deeply about a better tomorrow.

I sometimes felt like Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831 as he discovered the soul of America. Only in my case, I discovered the heart, mind and soul of the greatest people on Earth who proudly call themselves citizens of the greatest state in America.

You are the people I have been elected to lead - and I do so with deep humility and an enormous responsibility -- not to let you down - but I will lead and I will take an occasional risk. We live in an era in which taking no risk is sometimes the biggest risk of all. As Fred Wilcox used to say, "You can't steal second base while keeping your foot on first."

We are all here because of those who came before us: most of us are a generation or two removed from the land, but we share a common heritage with those who farmed land not fit for farming, built magnificent structures with only their hands and hearts -- and risked their lives in dangerous mines so that their children could have a better life.

We owe a great debt to our ancestor immigrants - whether they came in 1847 or like my in-laws during the last generation. They're the ones who built Utah's infrastructure and left us a remarkable legacy.

In my own family, I have war veterans and teachers; public servants and private business owners; proselytizers and saloon keepers. Regardless of our origin or family background, we as Utahns share an undeniable bond - a link to our past - something that gives us purpose and a living frame of reference.

It is the reason we name our children after our grandparents. It is the reason we keep family businesses intact through the years. It is the reason I chose to use my grandfather's Bible as I took the Oath of Office this day. We all long to stay linked to our past because it defines us.

The histories of our ancestors are filled with countless stories of courage and faith and an indomitable will to embrace change rather than be defeated by it. Their contributions echo off canyon walls and down city streets, across wind-swept dunes and over snow-covered peaks. They speak to us through the years from the lonely expanse where once a golden spike united an entire continent, and down the information highway that will continue to impact our lives in ways we cannot fully comprehend.

As Utahns, we are all defined by hard work, strong morals, and love of state, but I fear we are losing one trait that our forbearers found indispensable - the ability not to fear change - for with change comes progress and opportunity.

To contemplate the changes experienced by recent generations is overwhelming; because our preceding generations knew no fear, look at the marvelous things they accomplished in just the span of last century.

My recently deceased Grandmother Ruby went from horse and buggy -- to the automobile -- to the airplane -- to seeing a man walk on the moon -- to the development of a microchip that can hold the history of all these events in an area smaller than a pinhead.

As Governor, I will not allow us to lose the valuable lessons from generations past. This state was built on opportunities - the rugged individuals who put progress before self...who took extraordinary risks...and who ventured eagerly into new frontier territories all in the name of a better tomorrow.

This same spirit is at the very core of who I am and what will define my administration. We will not fear change. We will embrace opportunity.

And so we stand here today emboldened by the past and committed to the future. Like my ancestors, I will seek opportunities for Utah. My administration will deliver innovative and novel approaches for creating jobs and expanding our economy. This will be my single-minded resolve because so much - educating our children, providing health care for all Utahns, and paying for badly needed improvements to our infrastructure - depends on a viable economic base.

But in getting there, let me promise you this: my proposals will not be influenced by personal ambition or political need. It has often been said that political power is finite - that is the more you use, the less you have. If that is true, whatever political capital I now possess will be used for the good of this state.

And if at the end of four years the bank is empty, but the economy is stronger, I will be grateful. If at the end of four years our children have more money for books and our teachers are better paid, I will be satisfied. And if at the end of four years we have provided the infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of the next generation, I will consider my tenure a success.

My father, one of the great entrepreneurs and philanthropists of this state, taught me that capital, monetary or political, is to be used to benefit others. I intend to continue that tradition.

Utahns are tremendous workers, innovators and visionaries. We are linked not only to our past, but just as importantly to our future - to our children. Our time is today, but the impact of our actions will truly be felt tomorrow. We provide the door through which the traditions, accomplishments, and vision of our forbearers will pass to our grandchildren and beyond.

Call me an optimist, but that is exactly what I am.

  • I see our world more interdependent and opportunity rich each day.
  • I see our country as one that is still the land of the free and the home of the brave.
  • I see our state leading other states in new advances in areas such as biotechnology, aerospace, communications, high technology and travel and tourism. - I see our local communities flourishing under our new economic revitalization plan.
  • I see our children with unprecedented opportunities to remain in a state they love.
  • I see our lives as being better tomorrow for our hard work and action today.
The nay-sayers will say it can't be done - "we can't afford it. - "The legislature won't work with you" -- or "Washington won't pay attention." To them I say; stand aside and let those who believe lead out.

Remember the desert basin that would never blossom like a rose? Remember the Olympics we were never supposed to win? Remember the human genome project that would never be completed? Remember the citizen army called the National Guard that was never supposed to straddle two simultaneous conflicts? Remember the Utah Football Team that wasn't supposed to survive an undefeated season?

My desire is to usher in an unprecedented period of cooperation and community building. People reaching across boundaries -- be they religious or race -- political or geographic -- a state that is truly civil and respectful for each individual's pathway toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be our hope.

It must be clear that although our defining roots may be different, they need not divide us. A fundamental aspect of my administration will be to eliminate divisions by creating a common destiny. The best way to bring people together is by developing ways to work together and by doing so we learn that our differences are not always as great as we might imagine.

May we remember that all hearts beat alike and yearn for the same wants and desires - education, jobs and a secure environment -- regardless of our point of origin. Our new Administration's theme suggests "A New Day for Utah". The words I have imparted today represent that noble expression.

I call upon all Utahns to place state before self - to fully appreciate our increased diversity because by it we are strengthened. In life we will have our differences, but with it must come greater appreciation and respect for those differences. This is after all, the American Dream and we must continue to ensure it remains the Utah Dream.

God bless America and God bless Utah.

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