The first step toward restoring America's promise, is to elect a president who keeps his promises.
How do I know conservative values and principles can rescue our economy and reform our government? Because in Minnesota, for the last eight years, they already have. I love my state but let's face it: it's one of the most liberal states in the union.
Minnesota's big-government legacy presented me with the same type of problems Barack Obama found in the nation's capital. But my approach – and my results – were very different from his.
When I became governor, Minnesota's two-year budget had been increasing an average of 21% for over forty years. During my eight years, that changed dramatically. I passed a budget that actually reduced state spending in real terms for the first time in the 150-year history of Minnesota.
For decades before I was elected, governors tried and failed to get Minnesota out of the top-ten highest taxed states in the country. I actually did it.
Minnesota faced health care costs that were spiraling out of control. Sound familiar? I know how to do health care reform right. I've done it at the state level. No mandates, no takeovers… and it's the opposite of Obamacare.
I took on the public employee unions before it was popular to do it. For example, our government bus drivers had benefits similar to those that are breaking budgets in California, Illinois, and half of Europe. I wanted to bring those benefits in line. The union refused and went on strike. It became one of the longest transit strikes in the history of the country. People picketed my house, the media trashed me, and the buses didn't move. But neither did we. On the 45th day of the strike, the union came back to the table, and taxpayers won. Today, we have a transit system that gives commuters a ride, without taking the taxpayers for a ride.
I stood up to the teachers unions and established one of the first statewide performance pay systems in the country.
And I appointed new conservative justices to the state Supreme Court. They understand that judges are supposed to rule according to the language of the law, not the preferences of their party. You know something about that here in Iowa.
In Minnesota and in Washington, the issues were the same: taxes, spending, health care, unions, and the courts. But in Washington, Barack Obama has consistently stood for higher taxes, more spending, more government, more powerful special interests, and less individual freedom.
In Minnesota, I cut taxes, cut spending, instituted health care choice and performance pay for teachers, reformed our union benefits, and appointed constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court. That is how you lead a liberal state in a conservative direction.
The problems we face as a nation are severe. But if we could move Minnesota in a common sense, conservative direction, we can do it anywhere -- even in Washington D.C.
It won't be easy, but it's not supposed to be. This is America - we don't do easy.
Valley Forge wasn't easy. Normandy wasn't easy. Winning the Cold War wasn't easy.
If prosperity were easy, everyone around the world would be prosperous.
If security were easy, everyone around the world would be secure.
If freedom were easy, everyone would be free.
They're not. But - Americans are - because our Founders and generations before us chose to be, and insisted, sacrificed - and risked everything - so that we could be.
That's their legacy. Now it's our challenge.
We are up for it.
In 2008, Barack Obama told us he would change America . . . and he has.
In 2012, we will change America again . . . and this time, it will be for the better.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.