George Deukmejian

35th Governor, Republican

Second Inaugural Address

Delivered: January 5, 1987

Second Inaugural Address - January 3, 1983


Four years ago, I stood before you and promised a common-sense government that listens to the people. Today, I am indeed honored to renew that pledge.

Our mission was to restore confidence and respect in government so that once again people would be proud to live in this great state. We endeavored to give you all of the government that you paid for, but not any more government than you need. We wanted to do the basic things well -- in education, job creation,public safety -- so that you could do extraordinary things with your future.

Some equate a visionary Administration with the number of new massive and expensive programs that are proposed. We embrace the vision of our nation's founders that only limited government is compatible with liberty and democracy. What they promised then, and what we promise now, is not cradle-to-grave dependency but lifelong opportunity.

By keeping faith with that promise, California is again doing what it does best -- blazing new trails of excellence and crossing new frontiers of human progress. Four years ago, California's wagons were in a circle. Today, California stands in the winner's circle.

Excellence is at home here. Opportunity brightens with each new sunny day. And the bold banner of leadership among the states is firmly planted in our sturdy soil.

Yet America's leadership state must not be satisfied with what is. Instead, we want to do what we know we can do in the future.

Between now and the year 2,000 our population will grow from 26 million to 33 million. We must create 6 million new jobs and we must build 3 million new homes just to keep pace. And if you think that our highways and freeways are crowded today, in just 15 years we're going to be sharing the road with 15 million additional trucks and cars.

In our second term, I pledge a California that continues to be the state where America's future begins.

Later this week, I will present my State of the State address and my new budget to the Legislature and the people. These plans will include ideas for improving the quality of our schools. Education will continue to be California's highest budget priority.

We will launch a California competitiveness campaign to bolster our basic industries, conquer new markets and create jobs, jobs and more jobs for our people.

We will substantially expand our transportation program and improve our network of roads and highways. We'll take sure aim at toxic waste that's in our state by implementing our plan to clean up every unsafe toxic waste site. And, with bipartisan support, we'll get that job done.

I also want to simplify the state Tax Code. And we can save the taxpayers millions by breaking the unwarranted concentration of programs and power that's here in Sacramento by returning much of the decision-making to local communities and to school districts.

California must always keep faith with its responsibility to improve care and opportunities for our senior citizens. And we will implement a California children's initiative to protect young people from disease, disability, criminal exploitation and drugs.

Let me add that we will not break faith with the people. We will keep these promises the same way we kept our promises during our first term: with a balanced budget, a prudent reserve for emergencies and no general tax increases on the people or on business.

Californians have given us one other critical assignment.

With their votes last November, citizens exercised their constitutional rights and charged us with a solemn task -- to restore the stature and the credibility to our state Supreme Court.

I can assure the people that their message was heard and that all of my appointees to our courts will be common sense judges who embody the qualities of experience, fairness, integrity, and intelligence.

By taking the action they did, Californians reminded their government that in our democracy the people are the highest authority. They told us again, as they have so many times in the past, that life is sacred and that we must do everything that we can to protect the lives of innocent citizens.

Fellow Californians, I have spoken about what state government intends to do for us. Now, I would like us to consider what we should do for ourselves. The challenges that we face to protect and improve our future are not just government's challenges, they are our challenges. If the people rely only on Washington and Sacramento to meet every need, provide every service, tackle every problem and determine every goal, then surely we will fail to climb every mountain and California will have squandered its greatest gift – the initiative, talent and the spirit of free citizens standing on their own.

Our fundamental quest must be to assist our children to be the best, not government to be the biggest. We can spend all the money in the world on our schools, but if parents don't ensure that children do their homework, if the children don't want to learn, or if the teacher is mediocre, then students will not receive a good education.

We can increase the number of peace officers and we can toughen new laws, but if citizens don't support responsible law enforcement, respect the law and involve themselves in neighborhood crime fighting efforts, then California will lose the battle against criminal terror.

Public safety does not begin at the judge's bench in a courtroom, but it begins in the lessons of civility that our children should be taught by their parents.

We can invest billions in our economic base, but if our business executives don't manage with great skill and efficiency, and if workers don't take genuine pride in their work, then we will lose our markets and California will not be able to keep or create jobs in the 21st Century. For prosperity does not flow from the state purse, but from the strong hearts and the creative minds of our workers, shopkeepers, farmers, and entrepreneurs.

Ladies and gentlemen, if California were a separate country, we would have the 14th-largest budget in the entire world -- and we don't even have a Department of Defense. There is a legal limit to how much we can spend. There is also a common-sense limit to how much we should spend, but there are no limits on what Californians can achieve.

It's time that we remembered that in a democracy, government begins with principles, not with the pocketbook. In California, I want government to stand for opportunity so that families can stand on their own.

The early settlers who blazed our trails turned barren deserts into the most productive farmlands in the world. They laid down their lives to lay down the railroad tracks that forged these American states into one nation. They mined the rich and golden veins of opportunity and sparked the rise of a new civilization on the Pacific.

Then, new pioneers unlocked secrets of science and technology in their workshops and in their garages and forever changed the way the world works and thinks and communicates.

And whoever may doubt that today's California heroes are in short supply, they need look no further than to the crew and the creators of the Voyager. They soared where eagles soar, crossing all boundaries of human endurance and imagination. And when their dream was complete, pilot Dick Rutan spoke for the potential within us all when he said, and I quote, 'That we did this as private citizens says a lot about freedom in America.'

We Californians have been given the gift to build. God has blessed us with that skill. We are the builders of inventions and industries, of bountiful fields of produce and bustling, productive cities. We build American dreams, and turn them into bright reality.

My fellow citizens, the opportunities at the doorstep of our future have never been greater. Let's cross that challenging threshold together. We need not be just the government and the governed, we can be teammates in triumph. And I pledge to you a government that brings out the best in people, so that people can bring out the best in California.

But let us not forget that individual initiative needs room to breathe, and dreams need the positive, sunny climate of freedom to flourish. Preserving our golden legacy of individual liberty, nurtured by a responsible government and a caring community, is the bold promise that we make to our children and our grandchildren.

Now let us get on with the work God has given us to do.

Thank you very much.