Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ Second Inaugural Address

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Today is a day of new beginnings. It is a day when we look forward, filled with anticipation and hope for all that is yet to come.

As our state greeted this day, two of our newest Kansans greeted life. Early this morning, twins named Kimberlin and Samuel were born to Christie and Tom Lovell of Mulvane. In them the world is made new and Kansas is forever a different place. They, like each of us, are blessed with a vibrant birthright – and in their first day as Kansans they embody all the hope and promise of what will be.

Our obligation as citizens and stewards of this great state is immense. We are the beneficiaries of a long line of pioneers and visionaries who built and shaped our state. Their disciplined work and tireless effort was fueled by a belief that the best days of Kansas are always yet to come.

I share that belief because I know the character of Kansas and of Kansans. We are not a complacent people. We are restless to explore, to create, to find a brighter future for ourselves, for our children and for Kansans yet to come.

Our forbearers never shrank from the uncertainty of the future. Nor shall we. But we must remember the future is never a place we’re simply going to – it is a place we must create.

And we must also remember on this day when we celebrate our hopes for the future that we should always recognize the service of the sons and daughters of our state who are securing that future.

The men and women of our military many of whom are here today stand in harm’s way as a testament to their belief in the way of life we enjoy. Let us pray that God will hold each of them in the palm of His hand until the day they are all safely home. I hope you will join me in remembering and honoring the service of these true Kansas heroes.

I accept this oath of office to serve a second term as your governor with profound pride in our state, with an unwavering belief in its citizens and with an unbridled hope for what’s to come.

Of course, the opportunities of our future come with challenges. Our future prosperity, the livelihoods of our citizens, and even the very existence of our communities will be determined by our ability to meet these challenges.

Yet our opportunities will be limited only if we fail to come together around a shared vision for our state. Only a failure to act as “One Kansas” can compromise our future and dash our hopes.

We all recognize, in our hearts, that we are only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. It’s not enough to allow a few to reach the stars while others live a life of limited horizons. The promise of our state is best realized when all our citizens are able to achieve their highest potential.

Therefore, we must embrace a new politics of true empowerment, understanding that diversity of thought, of belief, of opinion creates a vibrant, prosperous state. We must recognize that our differences make us stronger, yet those differences are never greater than our similarities.

We can form a more perfect union, we can achieve greatness, and we can honor our birthright as a state only if we join hands and meet the future as one.

Kansans are compassionate enough to meet any need, and generous enough to make any stranger a friend.

Together, we’re persistent enough to weather any storm, and adventurous enough to explore any frontier.

Together, we’re humble enough to reach for God’s hand and hopeful enough to greet every day with confidence in our ability to change the world.

Together, we are a mighty chorus, nearly 3 million strong the descendants of a chain of citizens whose character has always reflected integrity, ingenuity and resiliency.

That character has also always reflected unity, community and a concern for our neighbors. These values, present since the founding of our state, guide us and point the way forward.

For 146 years, each generation of Kansans has shaped the legacy of the state I am so proud to serve.

As a people we have many origins but we share one home.

We have many perspectives but we share one dream.

We have many vocations but we share one ambition.

We have many families but we share one kinship.

And we have many paths but we all share one journey.

The stewardship of this special place is currently the task of our generation. We will be judged by whether we each use our gifts to serve the greater good, whether we commit ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us and in the lives of those Kansans yet to be born.

The blessings of Kansas must be secured by each generation. We can never afford to take them for granted.

As your governor, I pledge to work every day to move Kansas forward, to create a place of immense opportunity where every child is empowered to dream big dreams, and to build a place that Kimberlin and Samuel, whose first day is today, and all of us will be proud to call home.

Let that be the Kansas we create and let us march toward that future joined by a shared purpose and united by a shared vision.

God bless you all and may God continue to richly bless the Great State of Kansas.