"My fellow Pennsylvanians: Today we celebrate a long, proud, and sustaining tradition of democracy.
"Over 300 years ago, a free society took root here in Penn's Woods. The leaders of those times were uneasy with a government more prone to political favor than fairness to the people. They were deeply troubled by government exploitation and excess and, through the course of human events, envisioned the potential for a new government - a new ideal - based in unalienable rights and power derived from the consent of the people.
"That debate conducted by our forefathers, beginning with William Penn and carried through the 13 colonies to Philadelphia's Independence Hall, was not without moments of rancor or sacrifice. But those noble leaders stood true to the belief that civility stands at the core of fair and peaceful governance.
"As we open this new chapter in Pennsylvania's history, let us also step forward firmly dedicated to a civil discourse. Let us not confuse acrimony with passion or partisanship with principle. Rather, let us take this opportunity to begin a new kind of debate - one that honors our shared history and unites us as citizens in common purpose. In doing so, I have great faith that we will unleash a new common prosperity to benefit all Pennsylvanians.
"It is fitting that I assume the office of governor pledging my oath on William Penn's Bible. As governor, I will lead each day grounded in the truth of Penn's first charted liberties and mindful of the role we have in democracy's endurance. I will honor your trust by standing firm in my guiding principle to do the right things, for the right reasons, even in the most challenging of times. And I will dedicate each and every day over the next four years to fiscal discipline and a responsible, limited government.
"The chill that we feel today isn't solely January's wind. We gather during uncertain times, and no one has been left untouched. Pennsylvania is known for hard workers, but today they must search too hard for work. Small businesses can't hire. Large employers can't invest. Government has spent beyond its means, and individual corrupt acts have eroded an essential element of leadership - the public's trust.
"As we turn this new page in history, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley and I seek to chart a new course for Pennsylvania. Together, we are dedicated to leadership that is responsive to fiscal realities; leadership that takes on financial burdens, rather than passing those burdens on to the next generation; and leadership that can see beyond today's turbulence and into tomorrow's tranquillity.
"For some, the impasse between political considerations and economic realities is too difficult. For some, the deadlock between the current size of government and the size our government should be is too daunting. I disagree.
". . . Our people - our fellow Pennsylvanians - make this an exceptional state. Today I call upon everyone in state government to summon all of the will and talent within you to advance the promise of our commonwealth and to perform exceptionally for all Pennsylvanians.
". . . It will take courage to pursue government and legislative reform. As individuals, there are moments that require quiet contemplation; an intimate 'step home within ourselves' to carry us to our ultimate destination. Today is our moment.
"We must act to renew the people's trust in government. We must restore transparency, accountability, and fiscal discipline. We will move forward. We will move forward with government and legislative reform because, without it, there is no good government.
"We need good government. The people now demand it. And they deserve it. We will lead the way toward a government that understands that, just as families have found a way to live within their means, it, too, must budget in a way that is responsible and honest, a government that has the courage to find fiscal strength in restraint, a government that shows compassion for those most in need and recognizes its citizens' great investment, a government that must yield them a hopeful, realistic return.
"To those who create jobs and to those who raise our future workers: You deserve a government that will not ask more of its citizens until it asks more of itself. I will not shrink from such a challenge; nor will I ignore the opportunities to set Pennsylvania on its new course, a new course where financial security leads us to prosperity and greatness.
"You will never hear me say 'impossible.' To say it, or worse, to believe it, would accomplish nothing. I see the possible. I see the possible, and I see a promising future for Pennsylvania.
". . . Today, our students compete not only with those from the other 49 states, but with students from around the world. Our education system must contend with other nations, and so we must embrace innovation, competition, and choice in our education system.
". . . Let us dare to do great things by daring to do what is right day by day. And let our legacy reflect all that is exceptional about Pennsylvania.
"In doing so, we will find a true common wealth that allows this generation and future generations to dream with credible hope.