Mississippi Inaugural Address 2000


JACKSON, Mississippi - Jan 11 - Following is the text of Gov. David Ronald Musgrove's 2000 Inaugural Address:

When we ordered the weather for today, we had no idea the Lord would bless us with hot weather. But compared to those tremendous events that I've participated (in) in times past, I will take the hot weather over the cold weather any day.

Melanie and I thank you for joining us on such an important and significant day and on such short notice. They said it couldn't be done. Just your being here today is proof that we did it. I would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers that worked literally 24-hour days to make this day happen. Thank you very, very much. It is truly a tribute to the strength and the spirit of Mississippi.

I am honored and awed by the duties and responsibilities that I have just accepted with the oath of office. I want to tell you that it is not possible unless you have a family that supports and loves you. And I want to say thank you very much to my wife, Melanie, and our two children. She will make a great first lady.

I would like to thank the dignitaries and special guests that have traveled from across the country and around the world to be with us today.

Truly, I am blessed to be able to stand before you as your 62nd governor, and truly we are blessed by birth or choice to be Mississippians.

We pick up the dust of the roads that we travel. As a boy in rural Panola County, a young man in junior college, a student in law school, I dared to dream that I could make a difference in my community and in my state. As a state senator and lieutenant governor, I dared to say it could be done.

Many roads lead us here today. As your governor, I will once again dream and dare you to believe that it can be done. As we talk about our future, let the excitement be contagious, for there is greatness around the corner for Mississippi.

We begin today to capitalize on the momentum that carried us this day and this far and the optimism I see on your faces. Together we will reach new heights, if only we dare to say we can.

Imagine for yourself a Mississippi with the courage to set unprecedented goals. Imagine leaders committed every day to achieving unparalleled progress in this Capitol and throughout every community in our state.

The opportunity belongs to us to forget excuses and focus instead on solutions. It is not enough, however, to just say the words. We must take calculated risks when the rewards are great. We stand on a rock-solid foundation of faith. We build with the strength of the men and women who have come and gone, who dared to look ahead and to think about us. We look to the future of promise and potential that together we can seize if we will not turn a blind eye to our challenges. And we make steady progress for our people when policy becomes more than words on paper. Policy works for our people when we breathe the life of leadership into it.

Our schools are stronger. Our income is higher. Our hope is broader, and our determination is unwavering. This is our Mississippi. Together, we have the courage, the confidence, the commitment to set unprecedented goals and to make unparalleled progress.

We can offer better child-care opportunities for Mississippi's working families. We can meet our growing transportation needs. We can expand our workforce training programs, and we can create agricultural success, not agricultural struggle.

I challenge you to think bigger than ever before. We will raise our expectations in education. We will find creative, innovative ways to grow new jobs, and we will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and our friends. We will pursue unprecedented goals and strive for unparalleled progress. From now on, just working to stay off the bottom is not an acceptable goal. Mississippians want and deserve to reach for the top.

I remember when Panola and Tate counties put me in the state Senate. I remember what the teacher salaries were at the time. I think I still have a scar or two from the floor fights during that time. Salaries for teachers the ones to whom we entrust our children are higher, but they're not high enough. The Southeastern average is not too much for Mississippi teachers who see the future of our state shining in the eyes of Mississippi's children. We will not be told it can't be done.

We will reach for that goal, and we will continue to strengthen public schools in every city and county.

Yes, personal income is up and new jobs have been created even in the wake of NAFTA-driven factory closings. But operating on decades-old economic incentives is no better than working with decades-old computers. We will work with Mississippi's proud business leaders, the state Legislature and others to forge a new plan for promoting growth for the decades to come.

Yes, children of working families are gaining access to health insurance. But local hospitals are closing, and family doctors are leaving. We cannot let this exodus from rural Mississippi continue. Our people deserve progress, not promises.

We will ask more of ourselves. And we will ask more of you, too. To governor's staff, to our department heads and others, I issue you this challenge, this day: Look beyond today. Yes, meet the immediate needs and set your sights on what we can accomplish with a little common sense and a lot of hard work.

And then my staff and agency directors will join me in urging legislators and everyone associated with Mississippi government at all levels to set unprecedented goals to look beyond what has been done before, to what can be done better. We cannot be satisfied with small steps. Mississippi can no longer afford to play "catch up." The future is here. And the future is now.

Although my administration will serve as a catalyst, the issues and opportunities facing Mississippians are more important and bigger than any party, any governor, any administration and any Legislature. I look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Tuck and with Speaker Ford. Together, we can forge a mission for the Legislature that is not solely about deciding how to spend tax dollars. It must be about how to reach common ground on which we may find solutions and upon which we can achieve unparalleled progress. We must work together to break traditional political and conventional barriers and to think differently than ever before.

Toward that end, I want to take a moment to thank Congressmen Shows, Thompson and Wicker, as well as Sen. Trent Lott for being here today. We want to work with you, along with Congressmen Pickering and also U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and Congressman Taylor, in cooperation for the benefit of Mississippi. I look forward to working with the members of our congressional delegation and our U.S. senators to find more and innovative ways to seize opportunities on the national and international basis for our people in Mississippi. Let our progress be the success story for the next decade. We must go after opportunity, not just wait for it to come to us.

I believe in Mississippi I always have. I believe we are poised, more than ever before, ready to realize our potential. As governor, I pledge we will work hard. We will work in a spirit of cooperation with the Legislature, with statewide and federal officials and local communities and the private sector to make sure that we make Mississippi a better place to live. We will set and pursue ambitious goals in order to achieve unparalleled progress.

I look forward to serving with you as all Mississippians pull together to realize our full potential. We will plan. We will build consensus. We will achieve. No excuses, only solutions.

Thank you for the opportunity that you give me to allow me to stand here today. Thank you for allowing me to lead the great state of Mississippi. But thank you for your commitment to work together to make our state a better place to live.

God bless the great United States and the great State of Mississippi. Thank you very, very much.


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