Iowa’s new governor says the state is poised for "a new era of greatness." Governor Chet Culver took the oath of office this morning and delivered his Inaugural Address in Des Moines."My fellow Iowans, this is our time," Culver said. "It’s our time to accept the challenge, to explore and discover Iowa’s unlimited potential….Let us all come together as one and lead our own ’21st Century Iowa Expedition.’"
Culver told the crowd at Wells Fargo Arena that Iowa has always been a state of explorers and pioneers. "Our state has always been a state of explorers and pioneers. Chief Black Hawk and the Native Americans taught us how to live off the land. Marquette and Jolliet were the first Europeans to navigate the Mississippi River in 1673. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark made their famous expedition up the Missouri River along our state’s western border. These explorers were fearless! They faced many obstacles, but showed great courage in their pursuit," Culver said. "Today, we should challenge ourselves to emulate their commitment to pushing the limits of discovery."
Culver promised during the campaign to create a one-hundred million dollar "Iowa Power Fund" to push the state toward the goal of becoming the world’s leading producer of alternative energy. "There is an energy frontier open before us, and we must explore it immediately! America and the world are counting on us," Culver said. "Simply put, we can’t afford to duck this responsibility."
"We have already led the nation with ethanol and biodiesel. Now we must maintain that leadership. With the eyes of the world upon us, we must prepare for the next generation energy economy." Culver chronicled the advances Iowa has already made in so-called renewables. "Whether it’s the production of soy lubricant in Waverly, the development of a biorefinery in Emmetsburg, the manufacturing of corn-based plastics in Clinton, the wind storage project in Dallas County, or the new biomass option of burning oat hulls in place of coal in Cedar Falls — Iowa is on the frontier," Culver said. "Our dreams of an amazing future, one of energy independence, prosperity and a quality of life second to none, are within our reach. I know we can turn our dreams into reality."
Culver also used his first speech as governor to call for a new era at the statehouse. "May our inevitable disagreements reflect deep conviction but not contempt, honest difference but not divisiveness," Culver said. "Let us work together in a sincere and inclusive way, to create One Iowa. After all, we serve the same Iowans, they are counting on us, and this state’s future belongs to all of us." Culver laid out the "One Iowa" theme that prompted him to hold Inaugural events in western and eastern Iowa yesterday.
"It doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent. Whether you live in rural Iowa or urban Iowa. Whether you are a native Iowan or a new arrival. Young or old. What does matter is that we lock arms for the common good and tap our gold mine of potential," Culver said. "Together, we will continue to move this great state forward! However, to achieve this, we who serve must remember to respect the will of Iowans. They have spoken, and they expect results."
Culver also mentioned other campaign promises, such as raising teacher pay, expanding access to preschool and ensuring every Iowa child has health insurance coverage. Culver closed his address by saying every single Iowan can play a role in achieving those goals.
"This is our time. Much is expected of us and our future is unlimited," Culver said. "Let us work together to build ‘One Iowa’ and in doing so, we will achieve the greatness we all know is possible."