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    In Full: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Inaugural Address As Delivered

    (November 19, 2003) -- We post the verbatim text of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Nov. 17 inaugural address, as delivered, immediately after taking the oath of office.

    Mr. Chief Justice - Governor and Mrs. Davis - Governor and Mrs. Wilson - Governor and Mrs. Deukmejian - Governor Brown - Legislative Leadership - Constitutional officers - My fellow Californians.

    I am humbled, I am moved - and I am honored beyond words to be your Governor. [applause]

    To the thousands of you who came here today - I have taken the oath to serve you.

    To the others across this state - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - it doesn't matter - I took the oath to serve you.

    To those who have no those who have dropped out - too weary, too disappointed with politics as usual - I took the oath to serve you.

    I say to everyone here today and to all Californians...I will not forget my oath and I will not forget you. [applause]

    Let me first thank Governor Davis and Mrs. Davis and their entire administration for a smooth transition. There's been a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, and I want to thank you for that. Thank you very much, thank you. [applause]

    My fellow citizens: Today is a new day in California. [applause] I did not seek this office to do things the way they've always been done. What I care about is restoring your trust in your government. [applause]

    When I became a citizen 20 years ago, I had to take a citizenship test. I had to learn about the history and the principles of our republic. And what I learned - and what I've never forgotten is - that sovereignty rests with the people, not with the government. [applause]

    In recent years, Californians have lost confidence. They've felt that the actions of their government did not represent the will of the people.

    This election was not about replacing one man or one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of our state.[applause]

    Everywhere I went during my campaign, I could feel the public hunger for our elected officials to work together, to work openly, and to work for the greater good.

    The election was the people's veto for politics as usual. [applause]

    With the eyes of the world upon us, we did the dramatic. Now we must put the rancor of the past behind us - and do the extraordinary. [applause]

    It is no secret that I am a newcomer to politics. I realize that I was elected on faith and hope. And I feel a great responsibility - not to let the people down.

    As soon as I go inside the Capitol behind me, I will sign my first order as Governor.

    I will sign Executive Order Number 1 - which will repeal the 300% increase in the car tax. [loud applause]

    I will issue a proclamation convening a Special Session of the Legislature to address California's fiscal crisis.

    I will issue a proclamation convening a Special Session to reform our workers' compensation system.

    I will call on the legislators to repeal SB-60 [applause] and I will work hard to reform government by bringing openness and full disclosure to public business. [applause]

    I enter this office beholden to no one except you, my fellow citizens. [applause] I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests. [applause]

    So I have appointed to my cabinet Republicans, Democrats and Independents - because I want the people to know that my administration is not about politics. It is about saving California. [applause]

    The State of California is in a crisis.

    As I've said many times, we have spent ourselves into the largest deficit in the nation.

    We have the worst credit rating in the nation.

    We have the highest worker compensation costs in the nation.

    And next year we will have the highest unemployment insurance costs in the nation.

    And we have the worst business climate in the nation.

    But even though these problems are staggering, they do not even compare with what Californians have overcome in the past.

    Our state has endured earthquakes, floods and fires. The latest fires have destroyed lives, homes, businesses, and devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of land that we love.

    On behalf of my fellow citizens, I salute all of those who have served on the front lines of the battle. The firefighters, emergency workers, law enforcement officials, National Guard, and the thousands of volunteers. As we watched the firestorms raging - we saw bravery that never faltered and determination that never wavered in a fight that never flagged.

    To the families of those who gave their lives and those who lost their lives - your loss is ours. As Californians, we mourn together - we fight together - and we will rebuild together. [applause]

    And just as California will come back from the fires...we will also come back from fiscal adversity.

    I know there are some of you who say that the Legislature and I will never agree on the solutions to our problems. But I've found in my life that people often respond in remarkable ways to remarkable challenges.

    In the words of President Kennedy, "I am an idealist without illusions."

    I know it will be hard to put aside years of partisan bitterness. I know it will be hard to overcome the political habits of the past. But for guidance, let's look back in history to a period I studied when I became a citizen. The summer of 1787. Delegates of the original 13 states were meeting in Philadelphia.

    The dream of a new nation was falling apart. Events were spiraling downward. Divisions were deep. Events were spiraling downward. Merchant against farmer. Big states against small. North against South.

    Our Founding Fathers knew that the fate of the union was in their hands - just as the fate of California is in our hands.

    What happened in that summer of 1787 is that they put their differences aside - and produced the blueprint for our government; our constitution. [applause] Their coming together has been called "the Miracle of Philadelphia."

    Now, the members of the Legislature and I must bring about the "Miracle of Sacramento" [applause] - a miracle based on cooperation, good will, new ideas - and devotion to the long-term good of California.

    What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those years of lifting and training hard, when I thought I couldn't lift another ounce of weight.

    What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know. And California is like that, too. We are stronger than we know. [applause]

    There's a massive weight we must lift off our state. Alone, I cannot li1ft it. But together, we can. [applause]

    It is true that things may get harder before they get better. But I have never been afraid of the struggle. I have never been afraid of the fight and I have never been afraid of the hard work.

    I will not rest until out fiscal house is in order. I will not rest until California is a competitive job-creating machine. I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives and not a roadblock to their dreams. [applause]

    Today I ask all of you to join me in a new "Partnership" for California.

    One that is civil and respectful of our diverse population. One that challenges each and every one of us to serve our state in a joyful, productive and creative way.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I have an immigrant's optimism - that what I learned in citizenship class is true: The system does work, and I believe that with all of my heart. [applause]

    I have big hopes for California. President Reagan spoke of America as "the shining city on the hill." I see California as the golden dream by the sea. [applause]

    Perhaps some think that this is fanciful and poetic, but to an immigrant like me - who, as a boy, saw Soviet tanks rolling through the streets of Austria. To someone like me who came here with absolutely nothing and gained absolutely everything, it is not fanciful to see this state as a Golden Dream.

    For millions of people around the world, California has always glimmered with hope and glowed with opportunity. Millions of people around the world send their dreams to California with the hope their lives will follow.

    My fellow citizens, I have taken the oath to uphold the Constitution of California. Now, with your help and God's, I will also uphold the dream that is California.

    Thank you very much, and may God bless California. [sustained applause]

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