A lot of the things that these difficult trying times are bringing into focus for all of us as citizens, as elected officials – that accountability is important now more than ever. And your point that when we appoint people, and I appoint lots of people, by the time I get done with four years I’ll probably appoint thousands of people to different things – boards and commissions and authorities around the state, members of my cabinet, judges – a lot of people that I’m going to be responsible for that are going to have my name next to them, for better or for worse for the rest of my life. I understand accountability, and I think you’re absolutely right, I think one of the things that that these times have brought into great focus for us is that we have to hold each other accountable. All of us understand, we were taught by our parents I suspect, that you don’t get something for nothing in this world – ever. Yet government has tried to sell you over the course of time this idea that – We’re not going to give you something for nothing but we’re going to give you something and someone else is going to pay for it.
So it’s not for nothing but it’s for nothing to you. What has happened in our state and in our country over the last couple of years is that those chickens have come home to roost. And we now have a situation where we are in a deep hole and we’ve got two choices. We can continue to do what we’ve always been doing before and I don’t think we should, because that’s crazy, that’s what got us here. But the new path and the bolder path is a path that will be lined with resistance from those who are benefiting from the current system and they will attempt to scare you. They’ll attempt to scare you about change and they’ll attempt to tell you that you’re ox is the one that’s going to get gored. The same people who are telling you to get something and someone else will pay for it are not going to tell you watch out, because when change comes they’re going to take it away from you.
We all know that it’s being taken away from us as we speak; our standard of living, our way of life is being challenged by an economy where we have too much debt, too big of government, too much spending and taxes being too high. We all know it in our hearts, depending upon where we are in the political spectrum we may want to admit it more or less but we all know it. We all know it to be true.
And I kind of want to end today where I started with Mayor Diaz. Now we might come at certain issues from different perspectives but we all understand – she and I understand that the day of reckoning is here. Whether you are a Republican, whether you are a Democrat, whether you are an independent; whether you are rich or whether you’re poor; whether you’re retired or still working; or if you’re a young child who’s trying to think about what is New Jersey and America going to be like for me? The day of reckoning is here. And there is no more solemn obligation, I believe, that we have as human beings and especially as Americans than to do everything we can to leave this place better for our children and grandchildren than it was left to us.
Now for all of you who are parents out there and grandparents, you know judgment day is coming. And by that I mean, our children and our grandchildren are going to judge us. At the moment where we have the ability to make decisions about how optimistic and hopeful and prosperous their future can be, are they going to look back and say we buried our head in the sand? Ignored the problems. Cared only about our own creature comforts and didn’t care about tomorrow.
Or are they going to say that when this day of reckoning came, our generation stood up and said we’re going to fix it. We’re going to fix it, not just for ourselves but more importantly we’re going to fix it for our kids, and for our grandchildren. So that they can live in New Jersey.
We’ve already had a great New Jersey life. Looking out at the most of us, there’s a lot life that has been lived out in this audience. A lot of life. That’s a very nice way of saying we’re getting old. But there’s a lot of life that’s been lived out by this audience and we have already had a great New Jersey life. Most of us have, if not all of us in this room.
The question is: will our children have a great New Jersey life?
Or will they have to go to Florida, or Pennsylvania, or Connecticut, or some place even further away. To be able to get a life where they feel as if they can grow, and prosper, and be happy.
Well I’ll tell you this, that’s not the New Jersey I was born in. An that is not the New Jersey I care to die in.
And so, when people asked me last year why are you running for governor, why do you want to do this? That’s why. Because I want my children around to take care of me when I get old. I want to be able to get in a car and drive to a grandson or granddaughter’s little league game. I want to be there sitting around the kitchen table for that first birthday party. I don’t want to have to see it over the internet. I want to be there. And the only way I’m going to be there is if they’re here because I ain’t leaving.
And I want them to be here with me. I want to them to experience the same great life that I have been blessed to experience. And I feel like for most of you, you want the very same thing.
And so if we want that, now is the time to get to work. Now is the time to not ignore the problems but to confront them. Now is the time for us to say, we are going to be the people who fix New Jersey’s problems.
And then we put our head on the pillow at night, when we pass the torch off to our children and grandchildren, we’re going to be able to say to them, we did our job, now it’s your turn.
Thank you very much.