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Inside Politics

Schwarzenegger's inauguration speech

Arnold Schwarzenegger takes the oath of office as governor of California on Monday.
Arnold Schwarzenegger takes the oath of office as governor of California on Monday.

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SACRAMENTO, California -- Following California's historic recall election, Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn-in today as the state's 38th governor. After the 56-year-old Austrian immigrant took the oath of office, he said: "I must bring about the miracle of Sacramento."

SCHWARZENEGGER: Mr. Chief Justice, Governor and Mrs. Davis, Governor and Mrs. Wilson, Governor and Mrs. Deumejian, 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.

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 power, to those who have dropped out, disappointed in 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.

Let me first thank Governor Davis and Mrs. Davis, and the entire administration for a smooth transition. There has been a spirit of mutual respect in our cooperation, and I want to thank you for that. Thank you very much. Thank you. My fellow citizens, today is a new day in California.

I did not seek this office to do things the way things have been done. What I care about is to restoring your confidence in your government.

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

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

This election was not about replacing one man. It was not about replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of this state.

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. This election was the people's veto for politics as usual.

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.

It is no secret that I'm a newcomer to politics. I realize 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 capital behind me, I will sign my first order as governor. I will sign Executive Order No. 1, which will repeal the 300 percent increase in a car tax.

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 worker's compensation system.

I will call on the legislators to repeal SP-60.

And I will work hard to reform government, but bringing openness and full disclosure to public business.

I enter this office beholding to no one, except you, my fellow citizens.

I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests.

So I have appointed to my cabinet the Republicans, Democrats, and independents because I want the people to know that my administration is not about politics, it is about saving California. 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's 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 in 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 worker, law enforcement officials, National Guards and the thousands of volunteers.

As we watched the fires storms 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 have lost the lives, your loss is ours. As Californians, we mourn together. We fight together. And we will rebuild together.

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 their problems. But I have 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 hard to put aside years of partisan bitterness, I know it will be hard overcome the political habits of the past. But for guidance, let's look back in history to a period that I started 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. 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 is in their hands. Just as the fate of our 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.

They are coming together, has been called the miracle of Philadelphia. Now the members of the legislature and I must bring about the miracle of Sacramento. 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 in all these years of training and competing. I learned something from all of these years of lifting and training hard. I thought I couldn't lift another ounce of weight. What I learned was that we are always stronger than we know.

And California is like that, too. We are stronger than we know.

There is a massive weight we must lift off our state. Alone, I cannot lift it. But together, we can.

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 our fiscal house is in order. I will not rest until California has 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.

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 have learned in citizenship class is true, the system does work, and I believe that with all my heart.

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

Perhaps some think that this is fanciful and poetic, but to an immigrant like me, who as a boy saw the 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 California as the 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 sent their dreams to California, with the hope that their lives will follow.

My fellow citizens, I have taken the oath to uphold the constitution of California. And now, with your help, and with God's, I will also uphold the dream that is California. Thank you very much. And may God bless California. Thank you very much. Thank you.


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