50th Arizona Legislature
First Regular Session
January 10, 2011
Speaker Adams, President Pearce, Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Centennial Legislature, Chief Justice Berch and Justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers, tribal leaders, honored guests, and my fellow Arizonans:
I had intended to deliver a State of the State address to you today — remarks that outline an exciting and solid plan for job creation, education, and tax reform …..
…. and I WILL deliver that plan to you.
But, not now.
Tragedy and terror sometimes come from the shadows — and steal our joy and take away our peace.
That happened on Saturday when a gunman took away people we love, innocent people, and outstanding public servants — like U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.
Judge Roll had just come from the light of a Catholic Mass — and confronted the darkness of a madman.
The gunman gravely wounded others — people we love and respect — like Gabby Giffords, my good friend.
This past weekend’s events have caused me — caused all of us — to reflect on many things, including how we respond to those terrible events.
First, our response to this tragedy must be led by prayer and comfort for the victims and their families.
So, please — join me in a moment of silence as we pray for all those we’ve lost — for the injured — and for the suffering.
With our faith and our courage tightly in place, we will step forward from this chamber, dedicated to the Lord’s work — continuing our service to the public.
One year ago, from this very place, I told you I would serve beside you — proud to serve the people of Arizona.
I said then, that public service is acting not in self-interest — but on behalf of others.
And, I asked people to join me in the field.
Gabby Giffords did join me in the field.
And, we worked together, knowing that when our public service ended, we would be judged less by what we achieved than what we over-came.
In addition to Judge Roll — Arizona also lost — Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, Phyllis Schneck, and Gabriel Zimmerman.
Let me take a moment to recognize the acts of extraordinary Arizonans — who responded with professionalism —and saved lives — law enforcement, emergency responders, the Tucson medical community, and the staff at the University Medical Center.
Daniel Hernandez, a University of Arizona junior showed no fear in the face of gunfire.
His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords’ aid — likely saved her life.
Daniel is here today and I’m going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a grateful state.
It was a sunny Saturday at the supermarket in Northwest Tucson.
It was a picture of what our country is all about: Public servants doing their duty, citizens, old and young coming to hear — coming to participate — in the beauty of our government in action.
We lost someone else on Saturday … nine-year-old, Christina Green.
She was just elected to her student council.
She was hoping to be a positive part of the future of America.
And, she has become just that.
She loved baseball — she was the only girl on her Little League baseball team; and she loved to wear red, white and blue.
I should tell you, Christina was born on September 11th, 2001.
She thought of her birthday as a day of hope — a time to find goodness in America.
As her mother said, “Her light shines on all of us today.”
Saturday’s events were not just an attack on those individuals we loved and lost, but an assault on our Constitutional Republic — on our democracy — on all we treasure and hold dear — as citizens and public servants.
Arizona is in pain, yes.
Our grief is profound.
We are yet in the first hours of our sorrow — but, we have not been brought down.
We will never be brought down!
In fact — we’ve been lifted up by America’s thoughts and prayers — and we’re deeply grateful for them.
Arizona, like all of America — has been through difficult times before.
But, those times have united us, and made us stronger — more enduring.
Let those of us who serve our state and country do so in a way that honors those we have lost.
Our meetings on sunny days will not end.
Like the words from Isaiah, I believe Arizona will rise on wings like eagles — we will run, and not get weary — we will walk, and not grow weak
So — I ask for your help — and your continued prayers, as we step from here, and guide this great state with courage and devotion.
May God bless all the victims and their families and those suffering from Saturday’s tragedy.
May God bless those who serve us in the cause of freedom and justice.
May He bless you and your families and our great state of Arizona.
And may God always bless and protect the United States of America.