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State of the State Speech

Delivered January 9, 2007

Governor Schwarzenegger delivered his 2007 Inauguration speech where he laid out his plans for 2007. This speech focuses on finding the center compared to last year's 2006 speech focused on rebuilding the State while the 2005 speech focused on reform. The next week the Governor delivered the 2007 State of the State speech. Assembly Nunez offered his response as well as Senate Leader Perata offered his repsonse.

Text of the Governor's Inauguration Speech


My fellow Californians, three years ago you elected me as your governor. These three years have been the most fulfilling of my life. Every day has been an adventure. My escapes have been more hair-raising than anything I did in the movies.

And throughout it all, it has been an absolute joy to serve you -- the people of California. Thank you, I am grateful beyond words for your continued faith and hope. Faith and hope are two qualities that are in short supply in the world right now.

When I was a boy in history class in Austria, we learned about the Fertile Crescent, that region of the Near and Middle East where agriculture first flourished.

oday, the region is fertile with bloodshed and hate. Further south in Africa is a place of genocide called Darfur. Imagine the terror of running for your life, but not knowing where to run to escape the killing, the disease, the hunger. There are such deep divisions in our human family.

And yet here in this nation-state of California, people from all over the world live in harmony. I call California a nation-state because of the diversity of our people, the power of our economy and the reach of our dream. Every race, every culture, every religion has been drawn to California.

The commerce and trade of the nations of the earth pass through our ports. The world knows our name. We are a good and global commonwealth. Yes, we have problems that must be solved. But, it remains true, what a prosperous, peaceful, golden state in which we live and work and raise our families. We should never forget the joys and blessings of being Californians.

As governor, I feel a responsibility to conduct the public business in a way that furthers these blessings, so that our people continue to live in harmony and prosperity. How we do that is what I’d like to talk to you about today.

Three years ago when I was sworn in, I said that the recall election was not about replacing one man or one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of the state. It was about creating a new culture in Sacramento. It was about fulfilling the will of the people.

In 2005, the special election, I took the wrong approach in trying to do these things. But in my failure, I rediscovered my original purpose. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, I had an experience that opened my eyes. And what was it that I saw? I saw that people, not just in California, but across the nation, were hungry for a new kind of politics, a politics that looks beyond the old labels, the old ways, the old arguments.

As a matter of fact, California historian Kevin Starr says that we must think of ourselves as belonging not just to the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, but to the Party of California because California is a collective ideal worth preserving. The Party of California is beyond ideology and one to which all of us belong.

There are growing numbers of independent voters in this state. In fact, if the current trend continues, they will outnumber each of the major parties in 20 years. They like some Republican ideas. They also like some of the Democratic ideas. They think some Republican ideas are too far to the right. And they think some of the Democratic ideas are too far to the left. And they rightly know that if you stick to just one party’s proposals you miss half the good ideas.

Some pundits said that I won reelection because I co-opted the Democratic agenda. Some said that the Democratic Legislature, by working with me to increase the minimum wage or reform prescription drug costs, abandoned the Democratic nominee for governor. This is the kind of partisan thinking that frustrates the voters and diminishes our democracy. The people are disgusted with a mindset that would rather get nothing done than accomplish something through compromise. I want to thank the Legislature for taking action this past year on behalf of the people, not politics. I thank them for taking that risk.

The question is not what are the needs of Republicans or Democrats? The real question is what are the needs of our people? We don’t need Republican roads or Democratic roads. We need roads. We don’t need Republican health care or Democratic health care. We need health care. We don’t need Republican clean air or Democratic clean air. We all breathe the same air.

When California’s leaders have worked together, we have accomplished great things. Consider the danger of global warming. Imagine your child is sick with a rising fever. If 98 out of 100 doctors said that the child needed immediate treatment and two doctors said that the child was just fine, who would you listen to? The 98 or the two?

Should we do nothing about global warming on the slim chance a few skeptics who deny its existence may be right? No, we should not.

So this last year, California passed the world’s most comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases. Why? One, because it’s the environmentally moral thing to do. Two, because, although the United States represents only 5 percent of the world’s population, we emit 25 percent of the greenhouse gases. And three, because California genuinely has the power to influence the rest of the nation, even the world.

Now, capping emissions – the government stick approach – by itself could harm our economy, so we created a free-market system to trade emissions. By turning carbon into a commodity and trading it as a financial derivative, we have harnessed the self-interest of capitalism to heal the environment. And with the power of California’s trillion dollar economy behind us, we have set something else in motion. We became the best place in the world to invest in new, green technologies.

And in time, this will further strengthen the foundation of California’s technological economy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we face important issues that should unite us. I believe we have the opportunity to move past partisanship, to move past bi-partisanship, to move to post-partisanship.Post-partisanship is not simply Republicans and Democrats each bringing their proposals to the table and then working out differences. No. Post-partisanship is Republicans and Democrats actively giving birth to new ideas together. I believe it would promote a new centrism and a new trust in our political system. And I believe we have a window to do it right now.

At one time, the greatest public policy innovations came from liberals, such as during the New Deal. Then the most innovative ideas came from conservatives, such as Ronald Reagan. It is time we combined the best of both ideologies into a new creative center. Now this is a dynamic center that is not held captive by either the left or the right or the past.

Centrist does not mean weak. It does not mean watered down or warmed over. It means well-balanced and well-grounded. The American people are instinctively centrist. So should be our government. America’s political parties should return to the center. They should return to the center where the people are.

No one ideology can solve prison reformor immigration reform or any other of the challenges facing us today. It will take the best ideas of everybody, everyone. It will take creative thinking. It will take negotiations. And it will take letting go of the past.

And what will be the result of us all working together? Let me tell you my vision of California 20 years from now. It is a big vision. Now, in reply, some may say, "Arnold, it’s just a dream." Well, yes, it is a dream, but how can we grow into something greater, something better, something more meaningful without a dream to guide us?

What would such a California look like? Well, our people, no matter their culture or religion, still live in peace. Their health is strong because of the air they breathe and the care they receive and the lifestyles they lead. Their children are educated in schools that open the doors to a productive and fulfilling life. Because we rebuilt our infrastructure, we have the schools, the roads, the ports, the water, the levees, the communications to grow with prosperity. Because we committed ourselves to the environment, we lead the world in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and, as a result, a clean-tech industry has sprung up creating jobs for our people. And because we were leaders in stem cell research,California’s bio-tech industry has boomed, offering new cures for spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases.

And because we took action to correct our fiscal crisis, state government will have learned, once and for all, to live within its means. And because we strengthened and reformed representative government,our state’s elected officials now reflect the views of the mainstream, not the fringes. In return, our citizens once again would have trust and respect in the government.

So I ask you, why can’t California be this dream? The United States needs us to be this. The world needs us to be this.

For billions of people around the world, California itself is a dream. They ache to have what we so often take for granted. If they simply could live here, work here, raise their families here, their dreams would be fulfilled. So, to the cynics, I say, "Do not dismiss dreams as idle visions."

Ladies and gentlemen, my dream is that California, the nation-state, the harmonious state, the prosperous state, the cutting-edge state, becomes a model, not just for the 21st century American society, but for the larger world.

It’s been said that most places are united by their pasts, but California is united by its future. Other places are united by what was, but we are united by what can be.

So, as I begin this new term as your governor, I make this simple pledge to the people of California: I will look to the future, I will look to the center and I will look to the dreams of the people.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Text of the Governor's State of the State Speech


Lieutenant Governor Garamendi, Speaker Nunez, Senate Leader Perata, my fellow servants of the people, ladies and gentlemen... I am honored to stand here once again.

I want to thank the legislature, as I did in my Inaugural, for putting the people above politics last year--an election year. The federal government was paralyzed by gridlock and games. But you here in this chamber acted on infrastructure, the minimum wage, prescription drug costs and the reduction of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. What this said to the people is: we are not waiting for politics. We are not waiting for our problems to get worse. We are not waiting for the federal government. We are not waiting--period. Because, the future does not wait.

I believe that together not only can we lead California into the future...we can show the nation and the world how to get there. We can do this because we have the economic strength, the population, the technological force of a nation-state. We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta.

As you know, California, if a nation, would be the sixth largest economy in the world. But it goes so much beyond that. According to The Economist magazine, California is home to three of the top six universities in the world. California has more Nobel Laureates, more scientists, more engineers more researchers, more high-Tech companies than any other state. We are responsible for one of every four U.S. patents. We account for one of every five U.S. technology jobs. We attract almost half of all U.S. venture capital, which funds the ideas and industries of the future. California leads the nation in biotechnology. We lead the nation in nanotechnology. We lead the nation in medical technology. We lead the nation in information technology. We will soon be the recognized leader in clean technology.

Worldwide, clean-tech investments are up 50 percent in the first nine months of last year alone. California is spurring clean technology by the environmental standards we are setting. Our innovation, our science, our knowledge, our creativity is un-equaled on the face of the earth. The 21st century can be the Golden Century for the Golden State.

I have asked myself, what must we do in this chamber to help fulfill this future? It starts very simply. We can start by working together.

Usually when a governor gives his State of the State Address, he talks about his vision. This year I want to talk about "our" vision, because I think we all want the same thing for Californians.

Let me tell you about some of the ideas of our legislative leaders. Speaker Nunez has made research into alternative energy and transportation fuels a top priority this year. Speaker Nunez, I will work with you.

A top priority for Senate Leader Perata is to create a world-class water transit system in the Bay area that could maintain vital transportation links after an earthquake or other disaster. Senator Perata, I will work with you.

Republican leaders in both the Senate and the Assembly have made debt reduction and building water storage their top priorities this year. Senator Ackerman, Assembly Leader Villines, I will work with you.

Let me explain some of the other areas where we can come together this year. In November, the people approved the first phase of infrastructure bonds necessary to rebuild our state.

During a speech at the Pat Brown Institute, I heard Senator Perata say that the people of California expect to see the construction cranes right away. They want to see action. Senator, I agree absolutely. We, the elected leaders, must authorize the cranes, the bulldozers, the cement trucks to begin their work without delay.

This is a test for those of us in this chamber in another way. Will the process turn into a porkfest as it did in Washington with all the earmarks and the backroom deals? Or, when we have allocated the spending, will the people say, "They spent our money wisely?" Yet this is more than just about the people's money. It is about the people's trust. Let us not disappoint them.

We must also be good stewards, because we must go back to the people for permission to build more and finish the job. The building has just begun. One year ago I unveiled the 200 billion dollar plan that prepared California for the next ten years. We are a big state and we have big needs. And we made a big down payment. But the job is not finished.

Some areas, such as prisons and water storage weren't included. And we still have more roads to build, more schools to construct, more universities to equip to keep up with the future. As I said last year, California's population is expected to increase by as much as 30 percent over the next 20 years. That is the equivalent of adding three new cities the size of Los Angeles'. We have to prepare for that growth.

So this year we must invest in five infrastructure areas in particular --public safety, water supply, transportation, education and disaster preparedness.

Let me give you a couple of examples why we must act. Public safety is the first priority of government. Our prisons are in crisis. We have inherited a problem that was put off year after year. Last year I called a special session to address the crisis. That session was not successful, so I declared a state of emergency. It is still an emergency. Our prison system is a powder keg. It poses a danger to prisoners, a danger to officers... and a danger to the well-being of the public if -- as the federal courts have threatened -- we are forced to release prisoners because of overcrowding. We have thousands of prisoners housed in gymnasiums, TV rooms, dining rooms, hallways, anywhere there is a space. 172,000 prisoners in facilities designed to hold about 100,000. That is a danger and a disgrace.

Here are the court-ordered choices we face: We build more prisons or we release criminals. We build more prisons or the court takes money from education and health care and builds the prisons itself. I am not in favor of releasing criminals. I am not in favor of taking money from classrooms and emergency rooms to build cells. Where do you stand? We must act. And we must act this year. Which is why on December 21st, I stood with Senator Gloria Romero and Senator George Runner and Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian to introduce comprehensive prison reform. We need a justice system that's fair, that's tough and that offers hope for those who can still turn their lives around.

Let me give another infrastructure example. The number of high technology companies we have in California is related to how many brilliant scientists we have in our universities...which in turn is related to how many smart undergraduates we have... which is related to the number of high school students who graduate... and so on down through the grades. That small child with the sticky hands starting the first day of kindergarten is the foundation of California's economic power and leadership.

We must invest in education. It's not just how much money we spend but also how we spend it. I have seen the need with my own eyes as I've toured schools across the state. I went to a school with bed sheets on the windows rather than blinds. I went to a school that was so overcrowded the gyms locker-room was used for teaching space.

The education bond that passed in November builds 10,000 new classrooms and renovates 38,000 more, but that gets us only through the next two years. We need to build for the future.

This year I ask you to invest in 15,000 more classrooms and renovate 40,000 more. Yet we must build not only structures, but accountability and transparency into our education system. As a step toward the day when parents will have real choice in our public education system where to send their children, we should provide parents with relevant, accessible information, not bury it in the bureaucracy. If you can get information about a car online, why can't you get information about your local school online? What percentage of money goes into the classroom? Does the school offer after-school programs, music, art, PE programs? What is the graduation rate? The drop-out rate? You cannot easily get this information today.

So how can a school or a school district be held accountable? I want to work with the legislature to make this information readily available and user-friendly for the parents so that they can make intelligent choices about their child's school.

We must also continue to reinvigorate career tech education, support quality charter schools and find innovative solutions to the teacher shortage. I will not discuss all of our infrastructure proposals this evening, but I want to say one final thing about this topic. Rebuilding California is not a burden. It is not a chore. It is a privilege. It is a privilege to be able to help this state reach its full potential. It is a privilege to be able to help future generations fulfill their promise. And when they look back, they will see you in this room, and they will be grateful for what you have done.

Now, in addition to addressing our infrastructure last year, the legislature joined with me in passing the historic global warming measure that caps greenhouse gas emissions.

We hear so much about climate change. One area where we definitely need the climate to change is the national government's attitude toward global warming. It would not act so California did. California has taken the leadership in moving the entire country beyond debate and denial... to action. As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation.

I ask you to appropriate the funds to implement this global warming legislation, so that we can become part of the world market that is already trading credits for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

I also ask you to work with me on another environmental first. I propose that California be the first in the world to develop a low carbon fuel standard that leads us away from fossil fuels. And let us use the freedom and flexibility of the market to accomplish it. Let us blaze the way, for the U.S., for China and for the rest of the world. Our cars have been running on dirty fuel for too long. Our country has been dependent on foreign oil for too long.

I ask you to set in motion the means to free ourselves from oil and from OPEC.

I ask you to encourage the free market to overthrow the old order.

California has the muscle to bring about such change. I say use it.

When I first came here in 1968, one of the first things I did was to ask people where I could get health insurance because I knew that, as an athlete, injuries can happen. Here is the ironic thing about health care today. California's medical care, its medical knowledge, its medical technology is as strong and vibrant as a bodybuilder. Yet our health care system itself is a sick old man.

You know the reasons --rising costs, lack of coverage -- nearly 6.5 million Californians have no insurance at all. Recently I visited California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. Last year, the uninsured people who came to the emergency room left behind 60 million dollars in unpaid bills. That's in one hospital. Multiply that by the number of hospitals in California, and the amount runs into the billions. Guess who's paying for all this? You and me and all of us who are lucky enough to have coverage. That's who pays.

The people with insurance pay a hidden tax through higher deductibles, higher costs, higher premiums, higher copays.

This year we must take action on health care. Yesterday I announced my proposal. I know you also have proposals. I have always said you can never have too many ideas. So all ideas, regardless of origin, are still on the table. I do believe, however, that the ultimate answer will come from the principle of shared responsibility --by the government, by employers, by health plans, by doctors, by hospitals and by the individual.

In the past, health care reform was always dead on arrival. But this year you can feel something different in the air. You can feel the energy, the momentum, the desire for action. You can feel that the time is right. Both leaders have said to me, "We will get this done." Ladies and gentlemen, we will get this done. California is going to lead the nation in breaking new ground to meet the health care needs of its people.

Tomorrow, I will outline my budget, which is balanced and which fully funds education. When I first became governor, we had an operating deficit of $16.5 billion. I said that through discipline and through new revenues that flow from economic growth, we would reduce the deficit over time. Last year, we got it down to $4 billion. Tomorrow, I will propose a budget that will dramatically reduce this deficit even further.

Now here is the great thing. We have made this progress without raising taxes. We have reduced the deficit, not by burdening the people and our businesses, but by encouraging economic growth. This year California has the highest revenues in its history and the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. Ladies and gentlemen, the state of our state is strong.

We still have very difficult choices to make on the budget, and I am eager to work with you on these choices. I am not asking you not to be a Republican or not to be a Democrat or to give up your principles. I am asking you to be Californians and to work out a solution that is the best possible answer to the challenges we face. As long as we recognize some progress toward our individual visions -- whether Republican or Democrat --this should allow us the freedom to reach a budget agreement and to go forward together.

One last item. I again this year raise the issue of political reform. California politics is a centrifuge that forces voters, policies and parties away from the center. The centrifuge is powered by the way our legislative and congressional districts are drawn. They are drawn to eliminate party competition. They work against the mainstream, which is where most Californians are. Currently, ours is not a system of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a system of the parties, by the parties, for the parties.

In the past three election cycles, only 4 of California's 459 congressional and legislative seats changed hands. There was more turnover in the Hapsburg monarchy than the California legislature.

I ask you to work with me to create an independent commission to fix a political system that has become petrified by self-interest. California certainly is not alone in this. No state legislature in U.S. history has put a redistricting reform on the ballot. California can be the leader.

You will not benefit politically from this. I will not benefit politically from this. But the people will benefit from this. I ask you to work with me to do the right thing for the people.

Let me close with this thought. We accomplished historic things last year. Let us make this year historic as well. I know that what I have proposed is an ambitious agenda. I heard that last year and the year before that and the year before that. Yes, it's an ambitious agenda, but we must be ambitious to get California to the future. We are addressing needs that have been ignored for decades. This is important work. It is hard, heavy work. What we are doing relates directly to the kind of state this will be in ten or twenty years. But is this not what government should be doing?

For too long Californians just stared at this mountain called the future. We couldn't climb it because our current problems blocked the path. We couldn't climb it because it was politically too steep. We couldn't climb it because we couldn't agree on the route that takes us there. But last year, we made the decision, we took a deep breath and we began our ascent. Working together we can scale that mountain. We can stand on top of it. And one day we will look down from it and say to ourselves, look how far we've come, look where we are, look what we've accomplished for the people. Ladies and gentlemen of the legislature, let us continue the climb we began last year.

Thank you very much.

Speaker Núñez:

“Tonight we heard the Governor talk about his priorities. And like last year, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get things done for California. Working with the Governor, we raised the minimum wage and passed a plan to provide affordable prescription drugs. We enacted a landmark bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is attracting attention worldwide. We are eager to continue this bipartisan momentum and move California forward.”

“But bipartisanship only works when we can agree on the problems we have to solve, and the urgency of solving them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to tune out the hyper-partisan politics advanced by the extremes on the right and focus on the big problems facing our state.”

“That begins by fixing California’s broken health care system. Our plans include employers, employees and, only where necessary, government. To keep health care affordable and accessible, we focus on wellness, keeping costs down, and making insurance companies pay their fair share.”

“We’ll also focus on keeping our air healthy to breathe. Building on last year’s victory for the environment -- our landmark global warming bill -- we will be introducing new legislation to help develop clean alternative fuels, as the Governor mentioned. This will help all of us play a role in reducing the tailpipe emissions that make up 40% of all greenhouse gases.”

“We also will be relentless in focusing on education. Nothing is more important than ensuring children can get the education they need to compete and succeed. We will not retreat in our pursuit of educational reforms.”

“Finally, we are facing a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But at a time when our state is enjoying unprecedented prosperity, we will not balance the budget on the backs of seniors and our most vulnerable citizens.”

Senator Perata:

“Last year, we accomplished something pretty remarkable for a bunch of politicians: We stopped telling everyone else how to do their jobs and instead we did ours. In November, voters approved our bipartisan plan to rebuild California -- a $37 billion investment to modernize and strengthen our economy.”

“You gave us a vote of confidence. We must honor that confidence by putting those dollars to work right away rebuilding California’s highways, schools and levees. But, Rebuilding California is about more than cement and steel – it’s about prosperity and safety. It’s about strengthening and expanding the middle class. It’s about better schools, affordable health care and clean air and water.”

“We look forward to working with the Governor again this year, but let’s be clear: We will not just pay lip service to achieving these goals. We won’t take breakfasts away from poor kids. We won’t let Wall Street traders control our fight against global warming.”

“Tonight’s about speeches – and the Governor set some lofty goals. But even the best speech won’t build a school for your kids, won’t help your family get medical care, won’t reduce global warming. It’s not what the Governor says in January that counts, it’s what he signs in September.”

“The work of government does not take place once a year under bright lights and cameras. Like your job, lawmakers must work day after day after day to get results. Last year, we showed what we can do working together for California. Together, Democrats are out to prove that last year’s progress wasn’t a fluke.”


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Last modified: January 5, 2007

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