On Monday, Jan. 6, I attended the Inaugural Ceremonies at the State Capitol. I met many state leaders, some old friends as well as tribal leaders. I started the day with a breakfast with Peter MacDonald and George Cordova in downtown Phoenix.
There was hope and optimism in the air despite the state budget crunch. I met former Governors Ev Mecham, Rose Mofford and Raul Castro as well as outgoing governor Jane Hull. I told Gov. Hull that if she ever gets restless, her old teaching job in Chinle is waiting.
“I just might do some substitute teaching,” she said.
The state leaders that spoke, Speaker Jake Flake, Senate President Gant, all spoke of cooperation to address the budget crisis. State Senator Jack Brown of St. Johns said he started serving in the state when Gov. Fannin was governor.
“We had good leaders in the past, and I know the new leaders will do as well,” he said.
Janet Napolitano’s inaugural speech was simple, direct and [delivered] with gusto.
“Let us meet the challenges, as one people,” she said.
Speakers invoked the names of Kennedy, F.D.R. and mentioned the successes of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society as a way to overcome adversities.
It will take a strong governor to get the legislature to stop quibbling and to start addressing the budget crunch with realistic solutions. The Republicans control the house and senate, and if they fail to come up with the necessary solutions, there’s a re-election in two years.
The Navajo Nation was represented by President-elect Joe Shirley, Jr. and Vice President-elect Frank Dayish. Indian leaders were not highlighted as was done during Bruce Babbitt’s inauguration. Instead, the Blacks and the Hispanics were showcased in these inaugural activities.
To put state fiscal mess back in order, state economy must be recharged so that goods and services will provide both the jobs and the revenues to restore fiscal soundness to state government.
Happy with President Bush
As we begin a new year I hope you reflect on the progress that President Bush’s leadership has brought about in the last year. Thanks to his leadership, America has made our homeland safer, put more money into the hands of America’s working families with tax relief and enacted historic education reform to make sure every child in America learns because our schools will be held accountable.
This progress came in spite of Democrat obstruction and delays. With President Bush’s leadership and the new leadership by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist the compassionate conservative agenda is on track and I am excited about what the new Republican majorities will be able to accomplish in the year to come.