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Gov. Shumlin delivers inaugural address on Jan. 6

"As we work to put Vermonters back to work, one job at a time, let us always be mindful that government does not create jobs; entrepreneurs do. What government must do is to make the necessary infrastructure choices that are essential to job growth for this new era. This agenda consists of five goals: expanding broadband, containing health care costs, educating our work force, providing tax fairness and credit for emerging businesses, and supporting a renaissance in Vermont agriculture. It is big, it is ambitious, and it is achievable if we view it as our common purpose."

Shumlin announced a new initiative - Connect VT - which promises high-speed Internet access and cell service throughout Vermont b 2013.

"If not confronted, our connectivity deficit will relegate us to an economic backwater," he said.

Health care reform is also on Shumlin's agenda, given the ever-increasing costs to residents and businesses. Those costs for the state have doubled, from $2.5 billion to more than $5 billion, in 10 years.

"That's why we must create a single-payer healthcare system that provides universal, affordable health insurance for all Vermonters that brings these skyrocketing costs under control," Shumlin said.

Shumlin reinforced his commitment to education and its importance to Vermont's economic future.

"It should be the policy of the state of Vermont that learning never ends," he said. "Working together in a partnership with our educational community we will close the gap between those Vermonters who want work and our job creators who have work to do."

Shumlin said agriculture in Vermont has potential for growth and that state officials should work with the Congressional delegation to support fair prices for dairy farmers, since Vermont produces more tan 60 percent of New England's milk. There are also market opportunities for Vermont-made food.

"The renaissance in Vermont agriculture is rooted in the growing concern by consumers across America about where and how their food is produced," he said. "Consumers are increasingly demanding locally grown, chemical-free, high quality food. We must take Vermont's strengths - buy local, farmers markets, farm to plate, Vermont Fresh Network restaurants - and expand our view of local to everything within 200 miles of Vermont, which includes Manhattan, Boston, and Montreal. Investing in processing and bottling facilities, combined with a dynamic marketing effort for Vermont quality foods, will bring our farmers the value-added price that they deserve for a hard day's work, and they will prosper."

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