January 1, 2007
Governor Spitzer: All actions in Albany must focus on government ethics and economic growth
Declaring that “New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by,” New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said in his inaugural address that every action by his administration will focus on the twin goals of ensuring an ethical government and rebuilding New York's economy.
“Every policy, every action, every decision we make in this administration will further two overarching objectives: we must transform our government so that it is as ethical and wise as all of New York, and we must rebuild our economy so that it is ready to compete on the global stage in the next century,” Governor Spitzer said. “The simplicity of articulating these principles belies the complexity of the task. But victory will be ours, as it must be.”
In a 19-minute address delivered in the cool, dreary afternoon outside the state Capitol, said New York's experience in the last decade has shown “what can happen when our government stands still in the face of great challenge and inevitable change.”
“We've seen it in the burdensome property taxes and the health care we can't afford, in the jobs that have disappeared from our upstate cities and the schools that keep failing our children, in a government that works for those who hold office—not those who put them there.”
He added, “Today is the day when all of that changes—when we stop standing still and start moving forward once more.”
Governor Spitzer warned New Yorkers to expect resistance to reforms designed to make businesses more competitive, schools more accountable, health care more effective and affordable, public officials more ethical, and elections more competitive.
“With most of these reforms, there will be those who say we can't, we shouldn't, and we won't,” Governor Spitzer said. “They will peddle the politics of cynicism that we must now make the politics of yesterday. Because if we band together and succeed in our efforts, our future will mean a New York that values the dignity of each person—and once more offers opportunity for all.”
Because naysayers of various stripes can be expected to resist reform, meaningful change will not be easy, the Governor said.
“Easy is spending your tax dollars without consequence or sacrifice. Easy is saying yes to supporters and no to opponents,” Governor Spitzer said. “Easy is looking the other way while costs rise, debts mount, and families lose ground. Easy is what we've had, but easy is not where we need to go.
Achieving this change, he added, will require “a new brand of politics, a break from the days when progress was measured by the partisan points scored or the opponents defeated.
“No longer can we afford merely to tinker at the margins of the status quo or play the politics of pitting one group against another. We must replace delay and diversion with energy and purpose in the halls of our Capitol.”
He also rejected the notion that government can cure all of New York's ills.
“No one any longer believes in government as a heavy hand that can cure all our ills, but rather we see it as a lean and responsive force that can make possible the pursuit of prosperity and opportunity for all,” he said.
Governor Spitzer said New York must pursue a politics in which all regions and parties work together “toward our common dream,” with a new commitment to compromise in pursuit of “principled consensus.”
Hailing New York's past and current immigrants, Governor Spitzer said, “What has always united us as a people is the recognition that we are all on this journey together, and if are willing to catch each other during our stumbles and look out for one another during the tough times, we have it in our power to remove any obstacles in our path and walk toward that brighter day.”
“No matter how great the challenge, no matter how impossible the odds, our destiny will never be a path to follow, but always a trail to blaze.”
The full text of Governor Spitzer's inaugural address is at www.ny.gov/governor/press/0101071.html.