Adopt a school ... volunteerThe following is an excerpt from Gov. Mark Dayton’s inaugural speech made Monday in St. Paul.
The following is an excerpt from Gov. Mark Dayton’s inaugural speech made Monday in St. Paul.
We must improve the services we provide our citizens, starting with education innovation, and including more affordable health care, better natural resource protection, streamlined business regulation, improved transportation, and greater cost-efficiencies throughout government.
While everything is important, education is first and foremost. Nothing is more essential to our state’s success than providing all our students with the world’s best education. Yet nothing has divided educators, policy-makers, and parents more in recent years than how best to provide it – and how adequately to fund it.
Meanwhile, we’re failing our students – and thus failing our future. Overcrowded classrooms, like the 36 children in a fifth-grade classroom in Rochester. Four day school weeks, as in Warroad, forcing children to stay at home alone while their parents are working. Unaffordable college tuitions, leaving the single mother in Marshall with a Masters degree, $100,000 in debt, and no job.
Better education for everyone is essential to getting Minnesota working again ... and to keep Minnesotans working in the future. To give everyone the skills necessary to succeed in an ever more competitive global economy. Doing so must be everyone’s shared responsibility.
That is why I am asking every business in Minnesota to adopt a school. And contribute to its improvement. To visit the school and see its realities. To meet with teachers, students, and administrators and find out what they need to improve their school - now your school. A little money, a lot of help, technical expertise, remedial reading volunteers, adult mentors, new books, used computers. Make that school’s progress your shared responsibility.
Other areas of health and human services also need our help. To all Minnesotans, I ask you to remember the words of the Roman philosopher-leader Cicero that in a democracy, the most important office is that of citizen. I ask you to remember that our state’s success is also your responsibility. I invite you to get involved in the betterment of your communities.
I ask every adult Minnesotan, who is physically able, to volunteer a part of one day, every month, at a school, hospital, or social service agency, as I did this morning at the Wellstone Elementary School and will continue to do as Governor and thereafter. Whatever you can do to help, whomever you choose to help: whether the young, the old, the sick, or the disabled, you’re helping to get Minnesota working again... by helping one another.
In conclusion, let me note that Saturday was the first day of the second decade of the third millennium AD. What we do during the next four years will affect everyone who follows us, who will inherit their Minnesota from us. Their futures and ours are intertwined, and they are our responsibility.
All of us want – and need – a state that works better than today. One, in which everyone has a good, well-paying job, with affordable health care and secure retirement benefits. Where the world’s most innovative companies employ the world’s best-educated people to produce life-enhancing goods and services. Where strong economic growth and sound environmental protection are both honored and assured.
Our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, will inherit a state where people from all over the world, now live here ... together. How well they can work together then, will depend on how well we work together now. How well we accept, respect, and even come to appreciate our many differences. How soon we realize that those differences are among our greatest strengths, integrate them, and put them to work for all of us.
They will be born and raised in a state where their well-being will depend on how well we take care of our youngest citizens. Their values will depend on how well we take care of our oldest and sickest citizens. Their success will depend on how well we rebuild our infrastructure, protect our environment, and create new economic opportunities for them and their fellow Minnesotans.
Their better future begins with us. So does ours. A better Minnesota for all of us depends on all of us.
So, let us dedicate ourselves to rebuilding a successful state, one that again is the envy of the nation, a leader of the world. Let it be written that we were Minnesotans who led the way to something better than before, who created something greater than ourselves, who achieved together what none of us could have accomplished on our own.
By working together. Starting now.
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