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Excerpts From Davis' Inaugural Speech

January 07, 2003

Here are excerpts from Gov. Gray Davis' second inaugural address, delivered Monday in Sacramento:

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My fellow Californians, I'm honored to stand before you and almighty God to take the oath of office as governor of this, the greatest of these United States. I am humbled and inspired to be standing in the footsteps of giants like Hiram Johnson, Earl Warren, Ronald Reagan and Pat Brown....

It will be a great honor for me to serve and lead our state for the next four years. But leadership begins with a clear vision. Here is mine: The primary mission of government is to provide everyone the opportunity for a better life -- not just the few, not even the many, but everyone....

Over the last four years, we've been blessed by moments of ascendancy and great achievement. But we've also been challenged by crisis, hardened by tragedy and tested by terror. And we've emerged from this adversity, tougher and stronger.

Now, we face a severe budget shortfall. Its sheer magnitude boggles the mind and threatens the unprecedented progress we've made together. This is a national crisis, afflicting nearly every state in America....

From this day forward, the first goal of my administration will be creating new jobs and improving California's economy. Every dream begins with a job. And every new job elevates our economy. Jobs are the financial engine for better schools, safer streets, affordable health care and a cleaner environment. Without them, we cannot invest in our people or their dreams.

As governor, I will bring an intense, unshakable focus to creating new jobs. And I will direct every resource at my command to re-energizing our economy. In the days to follow, I will be releasing details of a new California Jobs Plan. With this new initiative, I am setting a statewide goal of 500,000 new jobs over the next four years.

First, we will "Build California" -- a comprehensive plan to accelerate school and road construction and stimulate new housing and home ownership.

Second, we will make California more small-business-friendly. After all, America's largest state relies on small business to create more than half of its jobs. Together, we will eliminate unreasonable regulatory hurdles and strengthen our small business environment.

Third, we will make California America's arsenal for homeland security. Our aerospace and defense workers once supplied the stockpile that won World War II, then the Cold War. Today, California possesses the ingenuity and technology to lead the triumph over terror and help all Americans secure their homeland.

Fourth, we will make California the world's nucleus for life science innovation. This sector of the economy, perhaps more than any other, ... has high growth potential, high wages for its workers and a higher purpose -- using cell technology to build healthier, happier lives. We'll build on our existing successes to put California at the center of this remarkable industry.

Finally, we must find a way to wean state government off the feast-and-famine budgeting it's experienced for generations.

For too long, our investments in education, health care, public safety and vital services have been determined by a roller-coaster ride of revenue peaks and valleys. This year, we must do more than just patch over the problems that plague our fiscal house. Our task is far greater than balancing the books. We must rewrite the book on California budgets.

None of this will be easy. It will require hard work, long nights and great sacrifice. But it can be done -- and done fairly.... My friends, our challenges are great, but our will is greater. Together, we will build a future worthy of our glorious past. We are California. A California worth fighting for. A special place, graced by God, where all dreams, large and small, can and do come true.

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