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Gov. Bob McDonnell Tapped for GOP SOTU Response

2:30 PM, Jan 21, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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And it is here, today, that an average middle class kid from Fairfax County, a grandson of Irish immigrants, is given the enormous honor of becoming the 71st Governor of Virginia.

As it turns out, I succeed another descendent of Irish immigrants, Governor Timothy Kaine.

On behalf of the grateful people of Virginia, I thank Governor Kaine for his leadership and service to our Commonwealth.

Today’s Virginia is a thriving and diverse home of nearly 8 million people, with one in ten born outside the United States.

A state of rich history and strong people, we do face many challenges together.

We do not face the challenges of forming a new government or securing a young nation, as did Washington, Jefferson and Henry.

We do not encounter the devastation and destruction of Civil War, as did Lincoln and Lee.

We do not struggle with the injustice of slavery and its legacy of segregation as did Governor Wilder as a young man.

We do not march into bullets and artillery shells, as did the Greatest Generation on the beaches of Normandy and the islands of the Pacific. Two members of that generation, who served in World War II, my father Jack McDonnell and my father-in-law Frank Gardner, join us here today.

 On behalf of a grateful Commonwealth I thank them, and all military members and veterans, for their incredible sacrifice and service to our nation that continues today.

 The actions of those patriots that came before us had a common purpose—to create and expand freedom and opportunity for the generations that came behind them.

The creation of, and desire for, new opportunity has shaped Virginia from its foundation.

It was in seeking the Opportunity of a New World that Captain John Smith and 104 settlers braved the perilous Atlantic to step onto the sands of Cape Henry in April 1607.

It was in securing the Opportunity of a New Nation that Virginia patriots joined together with their fellow colonists in the first fight for freedom and independence, and thus was born a country of ordered liberty that, 234 years later, is the beacon of hope for the world.

It was in seizing the Opportunity of equality and education that a courageous 16 year-old girl named Barbara Johns, memorialized behind this majestic Capitol at the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, stood up and walked out of Moton High School in Farmville 59 years ago this spring.

New opportunity helped them meet the challenges of their time.

Greater opportunity will help us meet the challenges of ours.

Together we must create jobs and economic opportunities.

Provide new educational opportunities for all Virginians.

And enhance family and community opportunities by easing government burdens on free people.

As Virginians, we believe that government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their God-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream.

Where opportunity is absent, we must create it.  Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it.  Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone.

Our Administration will be dedicated to building “A Commonwealth of Opportunity” for all Virginians. 

It starts with restoring economic opportunity to Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth.

Tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors have lost their jobs.

Thousands more worry they could be next.

As we confront the worst economy in generations, the creation of new job opportunities for all our citizens is the obligation of our time, so all Virginians who seek a good job can find meaningful work and the dignity that comes with it.

Virginia has received high rankings over the years for being a business-friendly state.

Those rankings speak well of our past. They do not determine our future.

Competition for jobs is intense among the states, and between nations. States are aggressively positioning themselves to best appeal to job creators and entrepreneurs.

We must make this the best state in which to start and grow a small business.

It is why we will reduce burdensome taxation and regulation that impede job-creation.

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