Posted: Jan 3, 2011 2:39 PM
PHOENIX (KPNX) - Republican Jan Brewer on Monday took the oath for a full four-year term as Arizona's governor, acknowledging she faces "an unfinished task" in resolving the state's budget crisis.
"We will keep faith with the people who have placed their sacred trust in us," Brewer said. "And, when we have fulfilled our calling here, we intend to leave Arizona with a budget that is balanced, fueled by private enterprise, unencumbered by heavy regulations and unnecessary rules."
Two months after her general election win over Democrat Terry Goddard, Brewer was sworn in to the office she assumed as a fill-in just under two years ago, when Democrat Janet Napolitano resigned, elevating Brewer from secretary of state.
"I'm honored to have been chosen to lead Arizona for the next four years, and I intend to lead with the mandate I've been given by the people," Brewer said. "I'll continue with a commonsense government -- one that is ever mindful of what individual freedom is."
Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch administered the oath during a noon ceremony on the Capitol Mall. An invitation-only reception was to follow in nearby Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.
Other elected statewide officials starting new terms Monday included Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Attorney General Tom Horne, Treasurer Doug Ducey, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and Mine Inspector Joe Hart. Hart and Bennett, whom Brewer appointed to replace her as secretary of state, are the only holdovers.
Since taking office in January 2009 when Napolitano left to become President Barack Obama's Homeland Security secretary, Brewer has faced a continuing state budget crisis. Since then, the state has cut services, approved a temporary sales tax increase and relied on borrowing, federal stimulus funding to cope with a plunge in tax revenue.
The state still faces a $825 million revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year's budget and a projected $1.4 billion gap in the next budget.
Brewer, the state's fourth female governor, spoke only in general terms about the state's fiscal condition during her seven-minute-long inauguration remarks. The 66-year-old ex-legislator and former county official saved specific proposals for her Jan. 10 State of the State address, and the details on implementation will come when she releases her budget proposal Jan. 14.
Brewer said the state has an "overdue obligation" to live within its means and she has taken decisive action to cut spending and keep the state's fiscal ship afloat. But she said more work is needed to leave Arizona with a balanced budget and a prosperous private sector.
Thanks to her proposal for a sales tax increase, Brewer was in political trouble a year ago as her campaign for a full term was in its early stages.
However, her prospects soared when she signed SB1070, the state's controversial law targeting illegal immigration, last April. That and voters' overwhelming approval of the sales tax increase that lawmakers sent to a May special election ballot put her on a path to easy victories in both the August primary and the November general election.
Brewer has emerged as a prominent critic of Obama on such issues as border security and the federal health care overhaul.
Below is the full unedited text of Gov. Brewer's inaugural address:
Honorable Governor Castro,
Vice President & Mrs. Quayle,
Congressman-Elect Ben Quayle,
Commissioners Burns, Stump, Pierce, Kennedy and Newman,
Mr. Speaker and Mr. President,
Madame Chief Justice, and associate justices, Secretary Bennett,
Attorney General Horne,
Mine Inspector Hart,
Members of the Legislature, and honored guests . . .
Let me just say at the outset ...
Though I have nothing against our current system of succession for the Secretary of State to become Governor ... I can tell you from experience, that there's nothing like an ELECTION to make the office feel A WHOLE LOT BETTER!
I am a fortunate woman.
I have a loving and supportive family, a VERY patient husband ... Dr. John Brewer ... and a great state to run.
But, there's an unfinished task ahead of me.
When I took the oath of office two years ago, I took the helm of a marvelous state that had been poorly commanded -- badly navigated - and was dead in the water.
Worse, it was leaking -- and sinking fast.
I faced a state budget deficit of nearly five billion dollars across two fiscal years - and a federal government whose unfunded mandates and sweetheart deals were stealing Arizona's freedom and threatening to bankrupt our state.
Yes, these were difficult times.
But, I did what my mother taught me. I did not give up. I did not give in. I fought for what I knew was the right thing to do.
Every day -- every waking hour -- I fought for every single one of you -- and the future of the state I love.
Let's face it, I wasn't all that popular then.
But, I saw what had to be done.
And I did it.
But, I didn't do it alone.
No one can be in this office and do it alone.
I asked an extraordinary group of people to join me in this mission of recovery. They left their good paying jobs and solid careers, and went to work with me, to right the great ship of Arizona.
I will always be grateful for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the people of Arizona.
And, so, our work began.
We started the Arizona Comeback by restoring
fiscal discipline and we made deep cuts to spending - without harm to education and public safety.
I established the Arizona Commerce Authority and a private-sector leadership board focused on growing and diversifying Arizona's economy and creating quality jobs - including jobs in rural Arizona.
Meanwhile, we attracted over one billion dollars in new capital investment, and helped create thousands of jobs.
We've been named the country's solar king, offering the highest solar power potential in the nation, while attracting new companies - and at the same time rededicating ourselves to business retention.
We've set in place historic education reforms and we've become a NATIONAL LEADER in the fight FOR border security and AGAINST Obamacare.
I'm honored to have been chosen to lead Arizona for the next four years, and I intend to lead with the mandate I've been given by the people.
I'll continue with a common sense government - one that is ever mindful of what individual freedom is.
I believe the leaders you've chosen to administer the affairs of state with me - all of those here with me today - are united in that mission.
We will keep faith with Arizona.
We will keep faith with the people who have placed their sacred trust in us.
And, when we have fulfilled our calling here, we intend to leave Arizona with a budget that is balanced; fueled by private enterprise, unencumbered by heavy regulations and unnecessary rules.
It will be a state with a solar industry that is the envy of the world, one which continues to lead with innovation and cost-effective technologies.
We will leave a Commerce Authority, self-sustaining and vibrant in its ability to attract companies involved with science and technology, aerospace and defense, small businesses and renewable energy - while keeping those businesses we already have.
We will have a border region -- and beyond -- that works - it will be one that is both safe and accessible --- and enhances the competitiveness and quality of life for Arizona AND Mexico.
We will have an education system that demands student performance with standards that are clear and predictable - a university system that is as prudent with its EXPENSES as it is LAVISH with its time INVESTING in undergraduates ---
We will have a criminal justice system that is focused on justice, public safety, and the rights of crime victims.
Ronald Reagan once said, history is a ribbon, always unfurling. And so, just a year from now, we will celebrate together Arizona's 100th birthday, and pay tribute to our own unfurling ribbon, and the exciting journey this young state is taking through history.
That is the state I intend to leave behind -- to you -- the people of Arizona.
I am humbled by the honor you have given me.
I will not let you down.
You and I together, will bring Arizona back to her place of enduring strength.
You and I together, will fulfill ALL of her great and abiding promise.
You and I, will be forever guided and sustained by God's grace in a calling that draws us together on this mighty ship - Arizona -- now fit for any peril on the sea.
God bless you, and your families, God bless our glorious state, and God bless the United States of America.
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