My fellow Californians, I stand before you today humbled, grateful and honored to serve you as your next Lieutenant Governor.
I stand before you here to swear an oath to you, the people of California, that you will always be my top priority – not finger pointing, not partisan fighting, not politics – you.
This is your seat, this is your government, and this is your future.
But in defining our future, and working together to rebuild California, we should look first toward our past. We can find wisdom and courage there. The kind that has all but disappeared from this building.
We must look toward the great leaders who shaped our state and our nation – leaders who
stamped their mark on California’s history.
We must look to leaders like Ronald Reagan, Hiram Johnson, Earl Warren, and for me in particular—Romualdo Pacheco. 138 years ago, Romualdo Pacheco became the first
Republican Hispanic Lieutenant Governor of California. I am just the second. I have a great mentor and a great example to follow.
Pacheco was a rogue. He was a maverick. He was a Democrat who became a Republican during the Civil War. He wasn’t a prisoner to any ideology. He wasn’t afraid to put his principles above his party. To me, that is courage; to me, that is leadership; to me, that is a true public servant.
He was also a rancher. He represented San Luis Obispo County in the State Senate.In fact, my family owns some of the same land he owned over 140 years ago.
So I am tied to Romualdo Pacheco: through my heritage, through my culture, and through the rich, California soil that he farmed more than a century ago. That same soil that sustains my family to this day.
But my strongest bond to Mr. Pacheco is my commitment to the people of the state of California. He has a history that I am happy to share; and through him and others like him, and through our proud past, we find the strength and inspiration to meet California’s vast challenges and to define our future.
I have found that strength. My future begins today.
The words ―thank you‖ cannot even begin to describe my overwhelming appreciation to
Governor Schwarzenegger, the legislative leaders, my former colleagues in the Legislature and to you, the people of California. Thank you for your support and thank you for your trust.
I will justify your faith in me.
I think the question on a lot of people’s minds is: Now what? I’ve been
confirmed. California finally has a Lieutenant Governor.
Now what? Unfortunately, in this economy, we hear this phrase all too often. I’ve lost
my job. Now what? I’ve lost my home. Now what?
Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a time of grave uncertainty. What is the stock market
going to do? Will my job still be there tomorrow? Will we have enough money to pay our
We’re worried. There is a crisis of confidence in our state. And at a time when many of us are looking to government for leadership, all we see is the same senseless fighting, the
partisanship, the gridlock, and the dysfunction that has helped bring my state to its knees.
Now what? Now, ladies and gentlemen, I will tell you what: now the real work
begins. The California renewal begins. It won’t be easy; but that has never stopped
Unemployment is over 12 percent. Our deficit is almost 20 billion dollars. We might owe
500 billion in unfunded public employee pensions. The meaning of these numbers is clear:
today we are a state on the brink.
But this is not a time for fear. This is not a time to be limping into Sacramento or
chipping away at the edges of our problems. This is a time for leadership. It is time for
everyone to pull in the same direction and to take part in the California renaissance.
California is not too big to fail; but it is too great to fail. We cannot let it fail we will not
let California fail. We owe it to the men and women who paved the way for our
prosperity. We owe it to the people like my dad who came here with nothing and built
California up with their values, their hard work and their determination. We owe it to the
children who deserve the same opportunity their parents had
In these times, leadership is not an option; leadership is a responsibility.
Make no mistake, today’s challenges are stark. But in a way we are lucky. We have a
long list of problems, but we only need one solution. It’s called economic recovery. It is
the cornerstone to a new California. Now is the time to commit ourselves, as elected
officials, as residents of this great state, to work together toward that one, common goal:
turning California back into the job creating powerhouse that drew people from around
the world to our shores.
These can’t just be buzz words. They have to reflect a set of real-life, reasonable,
pragmatic and tangible solutions. Podium politicians and platitudes and campaign
promises will never get us back to work.
So when the question is asked: Now what? The answer must be: Create jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs! It is the first domino we have to knock over to get everything else into place.
Sacramento politicians have clamped an iron band of regulations around the chest of our economy. It is time for the politicians to let our businesses breathe again, to prosper.
The time is now. It is time for leaders who know business, not for career politicians who have never created a job in their life. And I promise you this, I will be a part of the job creating revolution.
I want every business that is even thinking of leaving California to call me. To pick up the phone and call me. And I want to talk to those business owners not just as the Lieutenant Governor, but as a businessman myself who knows the roadblocks Sacramento puts in the way of success.
But I have a message for them today: we must end this standoff between business and government.We need government and business to be partners in prosperity.
And this is a message I want everyone in Sacramento to hear as well.We need to work together toward a better California; we can’t work against each other and let California fail. We can’t let California fail just to prove a point or to teach our political opponents a
lesson. Because then what happens?
So here is the lesson I want to teach: compromise. I’ll never ask anyone to compromise on their principles. But I will demand that people come to the table with principled compromises. It works. I have lived it. It is not as simple as reaching your hand out across the aisle. Yes, there is risk involved. But I have seen the power of coming together and it is exactly what California needs. We need explosive job growth. Because it isn’t going to be the government that brings California back – it is going to be the small,
family-owned businesses, the entrepreneurs, and the job creators who will turn the California economy around.
So I know my job isn’t to create jobs, because no politician can magically make jobs
appear. And I think we’re all tired of those empty promises. But I can make it easier for
businesses to thrive.
California dominated the 20th century economy because it was the birthplace of dynamic industries: Hollywood, aerospace, Silicon Valley. These are synonymous with California and with dynamic job creation. And we’ve seen the next frontier for the California economy already.
It’s called green energy. Green energy has already attracted billions in venture capital to our state. Green energy can help us kick our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and provide our country with valuable energy security. And green energy can help us avoid the kind of environmental catastrophe we are seeing today in the Gulf of Mexico, where thousands of barrels of oil are bubbling up and threatening the shorelines of Louisiana.
We need to own green energy: wind power; solar power; wave power. All of it. The
demand for renewable power is going to explode and we have to be ready to meet it.
So this is a key area for job growth in California today and for decades to come. As
Lieutenant Governor, I’m a voting member of the States Lands Commission. I will lead
a focused effort of regulatory reform on that commission to aid in the development of
new and alternative energy facilities. We will make it easier for private industry to invest
in our state’s green future by streamlining regulations, and cutting the time that stops
businesses from making a commitment to California and creating jobs. That is a concrete
example of how the lieutenant governor can play an important role in the vibrant
economic future of this state. And it will be one of my top priorities a lieutenant governor.
I will also bring a new focus on jobs and the economy to my position as a Regent for the
University of California and a Trustee in the California State University. I will advocate
for the creation of an economic development subcommittee for both the UC Regents and
the CSU Board of Trustees
We have some of the state’s most brilliant minds sitting in those meetings; leaders from
all walks of life. And if we don’t have them focusing at least partly on the economy, on
the area that fuels everything else in this stat,then we are missing a tremendous
And there is even more I can do. I will make it my mission to reach out to businesses and
bring their message to the governor, and bring it to the Legislature, and bring it to the UC
and CSU boards. I will work with everyone, big and small, Democrat or Republican,
public or private. Let’s come together. Let’s forget about ruling our own kingdoms Let’s serve California and let’s work together and find a solution to our problems.
Tied down in red tape? Ok, let’s unravel the red tape and get you through the process quicker.
Are you a business in California that’s hiring? Great! I want to help find you
Are you a business that needs to train and re-train your employees? No problem. The
Employment Training Panel provides free training.
California provides unique programs and opportunities for businesses found nowhere else
in our nation. But these programs are underutilized and under-promoted. I’m here to say:
Businesses create jobs, but I will ensure they have every state tool at their disposal to
make this happen. I will be a communicator. I will be a salesman for California. I will not
rest until we see businesses investing, expanding, and hiring more workers in this state.
Since our first day as a state, people have come to California for one reason and one
reason only to work. Our history is written by the jobs we’ve created. By the 49ers, the farmers, the inventors, and the teachers. That’s why my father came here. He had nothing; only the shirt on his back and a few meager possessions. He didn’t come here for the nice weather. He didn’t come here for the beaches. He came looking for an opportunity and for a job. And now, more than 43 years later, he has gone from a job
seeker to a job creator. Only in America. And especially in California.
When I look at our history for guidance, when I look to the past, I see what makes
California stand alone among all the states: it is that economic opportunity that sets us
Only in America, and only in California can a person spend their childhood next to their
parents in the fields, picking fruits, picking vegetables, and grow up to fulfill their
dreams. Only in California can a young child look at the impossible and say, ―I can do
that.‖ We don’t just dream, we set goals, we focus, and we succeed.
Only in California can a young man rise from humble beginnings in the fields to achieve
his dream to become an astronaut. Are you confused? I’m not confused. I’m not talking about my story. I’m talking about the dreams of another young man, Jose Hernandez, who grew up poor with the hot sun on his back as a fieldworker in Stockton, CA. What is
he now? He is now a NASA astronaut. Jose could not be here today, but I am proud to
see his parents in the audience.
My family’s story, my story, Jose Hernandez’s story they are amazing stories. But they are not unique. They are etched all over the map of our great state. That is the miracle of
yesterday’s California our stories are not the exception, they are the rule. This is the story of hundreds of thousands of immigrants of the poor and the disenfranchised; the voiceless
and the vulnerable; those who have risen above to achieve the California dream.
I bet each and every one of us knows someone with a similar story. And I bet, if you
asked that person how they did it, how they succeeded, that one theme would stand far
apart from the rest: education. Because when you’re sitting in a classroom you’re not a
fieldworker; you’re not poor; you’re not the son of immigrants. You’re just a
student. Education is more than the great equalizer; it empowers; it motivates. It is what
makes the impossible possible. A first-class education will let our children paint their
dreams in the bright colors of unlimited opportunity.
We must have the best schools in the country. Right now, we do not. Actually, far from
it. Even with all our investment, with the fantastic teachers and school leaders, and the
committed parents and students around the state, we are still lagging behind. We need to
do more and we know it.
There is no easy solution to fixing our state’s education system. But more than some, I know the value of education. It is a priceless commodity that keeps our economy solvent.
Having a highly educated workforce is like pouring rocket fuel on our economy. We
must have the workers for the 21st century and we must produce them right here in our
own public schools. And as long as I hold this seat, I will work to make our public
universities the finest in the world.
The lieutenant governor is uniquely positioned to help promote and improve our higher
education system. It’s one of the many things that excites me about this job. And right
now, our UC and CSU systems need help. The entire system is in danger of becoming
inaccessible, of becoming too expensive and too impacted. And we’re not here to lock out or price out a single dream in our state.
The UC and CSU system are faced with challenges. But California is defined by our
ability to meet these challenges. We’re not intimidated; we’re empowered to change—
and we need to improve. A California future that is as bright as California’s past means
maintaining our universities as the benchmark for public education in our country.
Our history is filled with examples of adversity and perseverance. We must draw upon
that history now as we face today’s challenges. California is an amazing state. It always has been. That is why above and beyond the American dream, there is something even
more coveted: the California Dream. We do more than celebrate history here; we make it.
We imagine the products that will define our future.
We’re farmers and surfers. We’re environmentalists and loggers. We’re cartoon animators and iPod designers. We’re inventors. We’re innovators. We’re vaqueros. We’re Californians. We deserve a government that serves the people. And as long as I’m lieutenant governor, this office will work for Californians. I am tremendously proud of California, the land of opportunity. It’s not a place to live; it’s a way of life. And
this is my home state. Together, we can make this a better place for everyone.
Thank you again for sharing in this day with me. God bless America, and God bless