The Honorable C.L. “Butch” Otter
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Mr. Pro Tem, honorable members of the Legislature, Mr. Chief Justice and distinguished members of the Judiciary, my fellow Constitutional Officers, First Lady Lori, my family, and my fellow Idahoans.
Before I begin, let me recognize our NEW lieutenant governor, Brad Little. Congratulations Brad, and good luck.
Thank you for being here today, for the second and probably the last time that this State of the State address will be delivered at Boise State University’s Special Events Center.
I’m grateful to President Kustra and his staff for being our hosts in this fine facility. … My thanks to Bob and Kathy Kustra, and all our hosts here at Boise State.
Also, I want to thank those of you who are watching or listening to this broadcast across the Great State of Idaho.
And I want to send along Idaho’s collective prayers and best wishes to former Senator Jim McClure, for a speedy and full recovery. God bless you Jim and Louise. You remain in our thoughts and prayers.
It’s my hope and certainly our intention that we all will be back in the renovated Capitol Building by this time next year. Work there is progressing well – on time and on budget – and the restored Capitol promises to be a grand and historic home for the people’s business for years to come.
This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for all the people of Idaho to participate in our government – in this great legislative process that is the manifestation of our freedom and our responsibility as citizens, and as a state.
Times such as these make it possible to celebrate, reflect and learn from the miracle of Philadelphia.
There is no doubt that our nation is going through troubled times. But I firmly believe that Idaho can provide leadership for an anxious nation – to be what Franklin referred to as the “Laboratory of the Republic.”
States have a unique ability and I believe a responsibility to experiment and make America better for future generations.
Of course that means keeping the ideals of freedom, personal responsibility, and empowerment of the people at the forefront of any government agenda.
Indeed, in these times of economic challenges and societal change, there is no time like NOW to realize the hopes and dreams of present and future generations of Idahoans.
Hopes for a state where individuals and ideas can take root and grow.
Dreams of a state government that understands its intended role in people’s lives and – first and foremost – a government that understands how to live within the people’s means.
Idaho has had several years of being among the nation’s economic leaders, growing at a phenomenal pace. But as the nation’s economy has slowed and even stalled, so has Idaho’s.
We are better off than many states. However, we as leaders must be sensitive to the fact that far too many Idahoans are out of work or under-employed. Too many Idahoans are struggling to make ends meet, and having to make tough choices in their personal and household budgets.
We are not immune from the global economic downturn.
While it may not feel like it now, your wisdom and frugality have helped position us to make Idaho’s recovery less difficult and – we hope – quicker than it might otherwise be.
Idaho’s independent, common-sense character and wise regulatory oversight under Finance Director Gavin Gee have kept us and our financial institutions out of the riskier and more volatile situations contributing to the world’s economic challenges.
The diversity and entrepreneurial spirit of Idaho’s citizens has enabled us to make real progress in advancing initiatives on energy, the environment and job development. And our conservative values and commitment to making the best use of our resources are contributing to a positive sense of community, shared responsibility and real opportunity.
I applaud all Idahoans for pulling together and recognizing opportunities to help a neighbor, or to support your local businesses – especially during the past holiday season.
No doubt about it – times are tough. But they have been tough before, and we have weathered the storm by working together with a common purpose.