With gratitude we salute my predecessor, Gov. Mike Easley, for his years of service.
I want to thank so many of you. Especially my husband Bob Eaves
North Carolina's first "First Gentleman." And, my two sons Emmett and Garrett, who have been a part of this journey from my very first day of public life.
To all the family, friends, colleagues who have gathered for this celebration. I say -- there is simply nothing finer than to be in North Carolina.
Today a new administration begins, one that is different from any other. My presence before you represents a departure from our past.
It is a new beginning.
Today, I pledge that this new beginning is much more than symbolic. I accept this oath of office to serve as North Carolina's 73rd governor with complete resolve to meet the challenges before us -- directly and forcefully.
With a profound sense of duty, I intend to do everything in my power to provide opportunity to all who live here from Murphy to Manteo.
North Carolina has sometimes been slow to answer history's call. For too long, too many were held back by poverty, discrimination and the lack of an education. Our ability to confront these challenges is what has enabled us to move ahead.
More than two hundred years ago, North Carolina widened the doors of opportunity by establishing the nation's first state supported university -- the University of North Carolina.
Big thinkers staked North Carolina's claim as a leader in learning and discovery at the Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the world.
Prosperity is coming back to the old textile town of Kannapolis with the creation of a world-class, bio-tech center that will provide thousands of jobs to our people.
Our history books tell story after story of bold acts of leadership that brought hope and progress to our people.
Now it is time for us in the old North state to confront new challenges. We are in the midst of a global economic crisis. People are worried about losing their jobs, paying their mortgage, and planning for their future.
Now is not the time for us to hunker down. We cannot "just" cut back. And, we will not lower expectations.
I feel the urgency and I know you do, too. What we will do is accept this time of challenge as an opportunity to think big, dig deep, and push ahead. What we do over the next four years will define our future.
You have a governor who will speak candidly and who will act boldly.
I will focus on building on our core strengths and building up new strengths.
That's what we do in North Carolina. No other state can claim to have turned the practice of hauling moonshine into the high-tech, fast-growth engine, known as -- NASCAR.
It took grit and toughness to establish prosperous industries in agriculture and manufacturing. With innovation we will take those economies and create new ones in the life sciences, defense, and green technology.
We will remain true to our commitment to education. We'll retrain displaced workers and educate our people for 21st century jobs. No child in North Carolina has permission to drop out of school. We all benefit when learning is seamless from the high chair to the rocking chair.
In this time of tremendous economic crisis the people of North Carolina need and deserve a state government that works for them, not against them. We must take an outdated 20th century bureaucracy and move it into the 21st century. It is time for government to invest more wisely and run more efficiently.
Government must be more accountable to the people. The state's business must be conducted in the sunshine, to inspire confidence, not cynicism.
I pledge to be a fully engaged, hands-on governor. The people's problems will be solved when we listen to them. Really listen to their needs, hopes, and aspirations.
I can't do this alone. Let's all raise our expectations. You have a right to expect a lot from me. And, I have high expectations of you.
I call on each of you to engage as citizens, neighbors, and friends. We will accomplish more working together. In these tough times your neighbors need you.
As we begin anew, we do so with confidence because this is North Carolina. Here anything is possible.
This is the place where in 1775, fearless patriots from Mecklenburg County were the first colonists to declare their independence from England.
This is the place where the men and women of our armed forces have proudly stepped forward to answer the call to defend our freedoms.
This is the place where the daughter of parents who didn't graduate from high school can take the oath of office as governor of the greatest state of the greatest nation in the world.
It is a privilege and honor to serve you. I want you to know as we embark on this new beginning that I believe in the fundamental promise of America. In this great country there are no limits to do or be anything. With hard work, good education, and faith anything is possible.
Even in these trying times, the American Dream is alive. It lives in the hard work, sheer determination, and sacrifice of our people. Together, we can race boldy toward our future.
God bless you and God bless North Carolina.