Kentucky was America's first frontier. The first state west of the Appalachians. Our ancestors succeeded by creating opportunities, working hard, building communities, and putting their faith in God and in each other.
That is the legacy they left to us.
We need to get back to those values so that we can be proud of the legacy we leave to our own children.
However, in many ways, the Kentucky of today has stood still while others have moved forward.
When it comes to economic and educational opportunities, Kentucky has fallen behind.
When it comes to investing in our people, we've too often fallen short.
When it comes to hope for the future, we've become resigned to watching helplessly as many of our children move to other states where better opportunities beckon them.
But it doesn't have to stay that way. If we address the challenges that face us, and take bold steps to meet them, I believe that we can make Kentucky America's Next Frontier.
A frontier of imaginative solutions;
A frontier for new technology and new industries;
A frontier that protects the environment, while creating opportunities;
A frontier that attracts entrepreneurs, tourists, retirees;
A frontier that keeps our own graduates right here at home.
My administration will be about our shared future. We have a responsibility to work together and I have a responsibility to lead. I take that responsibility seriously because our prosperity is at stake.
I ask everyone in this great commonwealth of ours - Democrat, Republican and Independent, white, black and brown, from Pikeville to Paducah, from our bustling cities to our small towns, to our farms both large and small - to join hands with me in meeting this challenge.
We have just come through the time-honored American rite of a hard-fought campaign; as a result, it is easy to see what divides us. Instead, what I want to see, and what I do see today, is what unites us.
As Kentuckians, and as Americans, we share the same basic values.
We're passionate about our freedom, we celebrate our differences, we cherish our faith, and we love our families.
Our history is filled with examples of overcoming division.
During the Civil War, our commonwealth was split between those siding with the Confederacy and those favoring the Union.
The years following the war were hard, but our ancestors came together to build the foundation for a modern Kentucky. Eventually, they worked through their differences for the sake of the future.
It's time to focus again on what unites us. Only then will we achieve truly great things.
Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday we will begin to celebrate two months from now, said in his first presidential inaugural address: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection."
Lincoln's plea for unity in 1861 is no less relevant today.
While we have made extraordinary progress as a people since that time, we still must work to overcome our differences and not allow them to impede our progress. Sixty years earlier, in his 1801 inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said: "every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle."
Now, some may disagree with me on opinions, but let's agree on principles and goals.
We can accomplish much over the next four years, but only if we work together for the common good.
Only if we're open about the challenges we face and honest about the solutions.
Only if we're open to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Only if we put the interests of all Kentuckians ahead of the interests of political parties, individuals and special interests.
The great Kentucky Senator Henry Clay once said: "Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees. And both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people."
Let us remember those wise words as we begin the difficult and exciting task of creating a new Kentucky for the 21st century.
A Kentucky where the youngest among us have expanded learning opportunities that will serve a lifetime;
A Kentucky where the oldest among us are not forced to choose between food and medicine;