- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Speaker Bosma, President Pro Tem Long, Lt. Governor Ellspermann, Senator Lanane, Representative Pelath, distinguished members of the General Assembly and Judiciary, honored guests, my fellow Hoosiers.

Thank you for that warm welcome. After last week, warm is my favorite word! I want to thank all of you in this room and your families for your service to the people of Indiana in this historic place.

One year ago today, we started on a journey together. I’ve learned a great deal traveling this state over that year, being with Hoosiers in good times and bad. From hiking with kids in Lincoln State Park to walking neighborhoods in Kokomo devastated by tornadoes, I’ve seen the character and spirit of our people firsthand_hardworking, resilient, and generous to those in need.

And from all that I’ve seen, I can say with conviction that the state of our state is strong and growing stronger every day. We have good government, because we serve great people!

And nowhere was that more obvious than during last week’s arctic storm.

There was heartbreak of course, but it could have been a lot worse were it not for the efforts of our first responders who_without regard for their own health and safety_rescued countless Hoosiers, and our highway crews, utility workers, churches and charities who opened their doors to shelter those in need.

To our local police, fire, EMS, to our highway workers, and state police, to every Hoosier who reached out to a neighbor, thank you.

And I offer special appreciation to our citizen soldiers, who on short notice, deployed Highway Assistance Teams to rescue stranded Hoosiers and assist local first responders in the midst of the storm.

Joining us here tonight representing all those who answered the call of duty are Sergeant First Class Malika Dowdell from the 38th Infantry Division, Staff Sergeant Nick Leis of the 113th Air Support Operations Squadron, and Sergeant Marc Muehling of the second of the one-fiftieth Field Artillery.

The people of Indiana thank you all for your service, and so do I.

Moments like this should be about the future, but it’s also important to see how far we’ve come in the past year.

Last year I told you we would make job creation job one, live within our means, improve our schools and cut taxes.

Thanks to the hardworking people of this state and all of you in this room, we did just what we said we would do. We balanced our budget, created jobs, cut red tape by 55 percent, improved our schools and roads, and paid down state debt.

I even put the state’s plane up for sale. If you know anyone looking for a great deal on a Beechcraft King Air 200, give me a call!

We did all of that and gave Hoosiers the largest state tax cut in Indiana history.

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