MONTPELIER - On Jan. 6, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) delivered his inaugural address to a joint session of the General Assembly and special guests, including his parents, thanking the previous administration and outlining his plans for fiscal responsibility, job creation, health care reform, education, agriculture, entrepreneurial support and tax relief.
"Thank you, Gov. Douglas, for 38 years of exemplary public service to the Green Mountain state. We are grateful for your hard work and sacrifice on our behalf and to Dorothy and your family for sharing so much of your life with us."
Shumlin began his speech with a story from his childhood, how one teacher spent countless hours after school teaching him how to read.
"In the warm weather we sat on her lawn; in the cold weather we huddled around the wood stove; and slowly and creatively she taught me how to read," he said.
His reading teacher never gave up on him.
"I share that part of my life today because we are living in difficult times and we need to be creative to overcome our challenges," Shumlin said. "Let me be clear about the fiscal reality that our great state faces at this moment. After several years of making necessary but painful spending cuts, we are still confronted with a $150 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. Our economic challenges are real, and so is my firm commitment to address them responsibly and swiftly - with hard, sometimes painful but sustainable choices."
Balancing the state budget is only one aspect of Shumlin's proposed economic overhaul. Job creation is another.
"A clear vision for job growth and a bold plan to deliver that vision is what Vermont needs right now ... Vermont's diversified jobs future is bright. Manufacturing, deployment and production of renewable energy and efficiency, tourism, technology, and agriculture are all sectors of our economy with potential for unlimited growth.