Text of Kansas Gov. Brownback’s inaugural address
For more coverage of Monday’s inauguration:
Governor Sam Brownback Inaugural Address
January 12, 2015
Thank you Kansas. I am delighted so many could join us today. I am especially happy to recognize the first Lady, Mary Brownback. I want to thank and recognize our five children and their spouses, Abby & Eric, Andy and his fiancée Kimly, Liz and Jesse, Mark, and Jenna. They have been so supportive and have sacrificed through all my campaigns. I am so grateful for each of them. I thank my parents, Bob & Nancy Brownback, for coming.
I want to recognize my former seatmate in the United States Senate Pat Roberts for being here. It is a joy for both of us to be serving the people of Kansas.
For the last four years, I have marveled at the vision our pioneer forefathers had for Kansas. Particularly as expressed in the beautiful seal of our state.
The seal visually shows us the path forward. It is one of work as a farmer, of heart as a pioneer, of a Native American hunter’s courage. It is a warm and healthy family as shown by the home. And shining down on all of us, the glory of God. These are the characteristics they envisioned we would need to progress as a people.
Stretching across that seal is our state motto: Ad Astra per Aspera: Latin for To the Stars through Difficulties. The words and vision of that seal have guided our path since the time of the Civil War. And today is no exception. Today, inauguration day, is a chance to talk about our aspirations and our path –to the stars through difficulties.
I am here to tell you today, my friends, despite every challenge, despite every difficulty, despite whatever may come, in Kansas we are still aiming high, to the stars. We are headed to a renewed, stronger culture, to better days. And as in the past, we will take America with us. The future of Kansas is strong.
The people of Kansas are always realistic. So we must be honest too. There have been difficulties. Too many people have not progressed in recent years, in many cases held back by an economy that is growing too slowly or an overly paternalistic big government. Too many people feel excluded or unprepared to pursue their American dream. Or believe that dream simply doesn’t exist for them anymore. They have lost hope.
One difficulty–that often people don’t want to talk about, because it is hard to talk about–is the crisis of the family. It isn’t just in Kansas; it is across America. If we are honest, we have to admit there is a crisis of the family in our country. In my view this is a principle issue that must be addressed for us to move forward.
The crisis of the family must not be seen as an “us against them.” It also is not as simple as going back in time. We have to figure out how in 2015 we can do better to strengthen family in our country. We need to renew our culture around our Founder’s principles of love of God, love of country and love of family. They told us what we needed to truly prosper.
That starts by recognizing that everybody is a beautiful somebody. Our culture is at its best when we protect and encourage the weakest. Every life, at every stage, in every place has a dignity beyond our imagining. Every human – especially the most vulnerable, the unborn, the infirm, those ravaged by age and those desperate in despair – should be protected in law, loved, and told repeatedly of their incredible beauty and worth. The equal and immense dignity of every person all the time is the foundation of our society. Kansas is great, and great for America, when more and more we honor every human life everywhere.
How do we do that? We again start with the family.
My parents, Bob and Nancy Brownback formed a family in 1950 from which I came. They are part of a sacrificial generation. They sacrificed and toiled, day after day knowing that they were building for tomorrow. Life is not a lottery where if you get lucky you win. It is the long result of many sacrifices. It is doing the “next right thing” day after day. When you get it wrong, correcting yourself with the help of others, and getting back on the right path.
The truth is we have tried something else in our country for too long. We have focused on personal satisfaction and chance, not obligation and sacrifice. That is not the way “to the stars.”
At its core the renewal of America, comes down to the family. No government should ever be big enough to substitute for the family. While many of our problems are economic and we will be second to none in addressing them, the reality is the solutions are principally cultural and moral. While it isn’t always easy to talk about, we should be talking about our culture and its renewal. We should be talking about things like character and courage. Faith and freedom. Sacrifice of self. Morals. Obligations and Responsibilities. Not as dictated by government, but as emitting from our hearts alive with a loving God.
In my second term as Governor, I once again commit to helping to make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and start a small business. They go together. Lack of healthy families leads to lack of growth in the economy.
Lack of healthy families is a big part of poverty in our state and nation. We must substantially reduce childhood poverty. A big piece of that will be to strengthen healthy marriage and family. It also involves work and education.
Ours is a particularly difficult time because our biggest challenges are internal. We must renew the American culture. We must renew the American family. They both need the intangible traits our Founders put in the Seal of our state. The heart of a pioneer. The love of a healthy family. The courage of a warrior. The work ethic of a farmer and the Soul of an everyday Saint.
Those traits don’t come easily. They are the product of much sacrifice, day after day.
They are also the product of clear vision. The aspiration of a society that knows where it is headed…to the stars!
May God continue to challenge and bless the people of Kansas.