Madam President, thank you for that very nice introduction. I am incredibly humbled and deeply appreciative to be sworn in today for a second term as your Lt. Governor.
Governor Branstad, thank you for giving me another opportunity to serve as a true partner in this administration. I appreciate your perspective that the Lt. Governor should be actively involved in developing strategy, policy, and statewide initiatives to benefit all Iowans.
During these past 4 years, I've had the chance to lead global trade missions, represent Iowa on a national level, and travel to all 99 counties each year. None of those opportunities would have been possible without your confidence, ongoing support and deep belief in my ability to serve the great people of Iowa.
You inspire and challenge me each day through your actions, your leadership, your energy and unparalleled commitment to Iowans. Governor Branstad – from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
To my parents – Charles and Audrey - you made sure I understood the importance of honesty, integrity, and hard work. Your emphasis on faith, family, community and responsibility drives who I am today. I cannot thank you enough for your unwavering and unconditional love. And thank you for raising me in Iowa!
My life has been truly blessed by my experiences growing up in this wonderful place we call Iowa. I was educated in a strong school system, where I had the opportunity to learn, not just in the classroom – but on the basketball court and in the community.
My parents and that tight-knit community instilled in me the value of giving back and being prepared for every opportunity that might come my way. Mom and Dad – thank you for raising me in a place where those values are prized, celebrated and rewarded.
To my husband, Kevin, and our daughters Nicole, Jennifer and Jessica, and their husbands, Ryan, Jason and Scot. You are and continue to be my source of strength. I'm not sure I can even begin to describe the importance of each of you in my life.
It's often been said that public service is a sacrifice. However you, as well as many others in this room today, are the individuals who make the silent sacrifices that allow us to do our jobs as public servants. You bring out the best in me as a wife and mother. I treasure the times that we're together and rely upon you when we're apart.
You are a compass for maintaining direction and balance in my role as Lt. Governor. I know that I couldn't be where I am today without your love and support throughout the years.
Kevin and I also are blessed with 6 grandchildren, and, we're excited about the arrival of our 7th in May! They keep us grounded, smiling, and busy.
I know the things that I do as a leader can have an impact on their future.
That's why, it's essential, they – as well as all children – have every chance to grow as individuals, thrive in their careers and prosper as Iowans. Because their generation will be the next stewards of Iowa.
When I think about the Iowa of the future that we're creating for their generation and generations to come, I believe we have an enormous responsibility.
We have an obligation to create and promote a strong quality of life, a robust economy and a disciplined approach to government that benefits all Iowans.
However, none of these things are guaranteed. We have a personal responsibility to act, to do the right thing and doing the right thing isn't difficult when we think about the younger generation that will inherit the results of our actions, decisions, and policies. To be true to our heritage – both today and tomorrow. That is our timeless formula for success.
The Iowa of the future will be built upon altruism.
Iowans will do as we've always done- look beyond ourselves because of our love for our families, neighbors and this great state.
Iowans know an enduring vision is the key driver for a bold future. And, we know a bold future means a focus on doing the job at hand: meeting the challenges of today with courage and perseverance.
By taking this approach, we will create an Iowa where our children will want to stay, where those who left will long to return and newcomers will feel welcome and embrace Iowa's rich culture. An Iowa, where families choose to put down roots, rather than look beyond our borders to fulfill their dreams.
This is the Iowa of the future.
An Iowa, where opportunities exist within all 99 counties. Where Iowans come together to drive and shape those opportunities.
I know we can continue to build this Iowa for the future. I've seen first-hand what can be accomplished when Iowans join together, putting aside political labels and forging a common vision for our great state.
When leaders of good faith on both sides of the aisle came together for the greater good, we transformed education, passed the largest tax cut in Iowa history, and reined in the state budget. Together, we accomplished remarkable things. And, together, we can achieve so much more.
Just think – a little more than three years ago, we embarked upon a critical journey to create a statewide strategy for STEM education: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
And, look at what has been accomplished when business and industry, elected officials, educators, parents and, most importantly, students joined together to make Iowa a national leader in STEM. At the heart of this initiative is the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, which I'm honored to co-chair with Mary Andringa, CEO and Board Chair of Vermeer.
We serve with 45 Council members who are passionate, hard-working, visionaries who recognize that improving Iowa's STEM foundation means a brighter future for students and our economy.
Yet, even with the success of bringing together business, industry and educational partners to harness their expertise and the synergy created by this extensive network, we must continue to aggressively use STEM as a tool for economic and human capital development, ensuring we remain competitive, innovative and growing in a knowledge-based global economy.
STEM is about expanding opportunities for all.
It's about seeing children actively engaged in learning.
And, the excitement as they discover a love for math, coding, science, building a robot, solving a challenge, or experiencing lean manufacturing on the floor of a local business and the confidence that builds as they see for themselves they can do it.
As a recognized leader in STEM, Iowa is poised to connect the education to build our state for the future and use it as a tool for so much more.
STEM is an economic development tool.
Equipping a workforce with the education needed to fill the careers of tomorrow. To help attract, retain, and expand businesses and careers in our state.
STEM is a job-training tool. Providing the necessary skills to engage in a rewarding career and a high-quality job that will support a growing family, help young Iowans pay off their student loan or put a down payment on their first home.
STEM is our human capital pipeline. Ensuring that when the next Sukup, Kemin, NewLink Genetics, Innovative Lighting, or Harrisvaccines opens their doors there will be plenty of skilled and highly qualified Iowans to hire.
STEM is a mindset with an entrepreneurial spirit. Instilling critical thinking and problem solving so we are enabling the next generation of innovators to discover new products and processes creating their own path towards prosperity.
Simply put, STEM is critical to the Iowa of the future.
Improving our state's business climate also must remain a priority so the next Genova Technologies, Pear Deck, or Zero Energy Systems, can operate in an environment where entrepreneurial risk is rewarded.
Where start-up capital can be obtained and the next million-dollar idea is not smothered by thousands of pages of misguided rules and regulations. I envision an Iowa, where the next Workiva or PUCK Custom Enterprises will be successful wherever they are located within our 99 counties, whether headquartered in a revitalized urban center or the farthest reaches of rural Iowa.
I envision an Iowa where the next tech start-up can easily connect to customers and users across our state, country and world using reliable broadband, connecting Iowa products to international markets.
The Iowa of the future is vibrant!
I see an Iowa where initiatives like Waukee CAPS, Iowa Big, and the Iowa Start-Up Accelerator expand across our state encouraging young Iowans like Kinzie Farmer, a 17-year-old entrepreneur from Cedar Rapids, to grow her dynamic event called “Success She” so that talented women can network and share their stories of triumph with one another.
And, I see an Iowa in which articulate young women like Megan Weis, a bright 7th grader in West Des Moines, who stood poised at a Monday morning press conference demonstrating her passion for coding while sharing with her peers why STEM is important for their future.
As your Lieutenant Governor, I believe we are just getting started. Iowa is, and will continue to be, America's role model when it comes to honest, hardworking citizens. Principled and dedicated leaders, and a genuine sense of service to others.
Iowa is, and will continue to be, a place that we can be proud to call home.
It's clear why we safeguard the best in our state and plan for the future when you consider who we are building the future for - our children and grandchildren.
So, let each of us leave today with a renewed commitment to Iowa.
An Iowa where resiliency, understanding and compassion help us overcome any obstacles
An Iowa where innovation, ingenuity and imagination drive job creation and economic vitality.
And, an Iowa where family, community, and responsibility help us meet our obligations for the next generation.
To the people of Iowa – I once again say thank you. God bless you, and God bless the Great State of Iowa!