Good evening. I'm Bob McDonnell. Eleven days ago I was honored to be sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia. I'm standing in the historic House Chamber of Virginia's Capitol, a building designed by Virginia's second governor, Thomas Jefferson.
It's not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly ten minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter.
I'm joined by fellow Virginians to share a Republican perspective on how to best address the challenges facing our nation today.
We were encouraged to hear President Obama speak this evening about the need to create jobs.
All Americans should have the opportunity to find and keep meaningful work, and the dignity that comes with it.
Many of us here, and many of you watching, have family or friends who have lost their jobs.
1 in 10 American workers is unemployed. That is unacceptable.
Here in Virginia we have faced our highest unemployment rate in more than 25 years, and bringing new jobs and more opportunities to our citizens is the top priority of my administration.
Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector's ability to create new jobs.
We must enact policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, so America can better compete with the world. What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation, and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class.
It was Thomas Jefferson who called for "A wise and frugal Government which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry ….and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…" He was right.
Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much.
Last year, we were told that massive new federal spending would create more jobs 'immediately' and hold unemployment below 8%.
In the past year, over three million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren.
The amount of this debt is on pace to double in five years, and triple in ten. The federal debt is already over $100,000 per household.
This is simply unsustainable. The President's partial freeze on discretionary spending is a laudable step, but a small one.
The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level.
Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity.
In recent months, the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them.
We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship.
There is much common ground.
All Americans agree, we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality.
But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.
Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes.