Excerpts from Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s inaugural speech Jan. 6, as he took office

  • Gov. Dave Freudenthal

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "Wyoming at a crossroads."

“For too many decades, we have dreamed of a day when the government of these United States would transfer the ownership of its lands to state or private hands. While this dream may occupy our hearts, it cannot be the basis for public policy ... Our intellect and experience force the recognition of the federal government as a landowner and neighbor with which we must learn to live ...

“Wyoming has a history of expecting the commodity industries to produce an ever-increasing bounty of public and private wealth, plus employment. ... Coal production was 95 million tons in 1980 compared to nearly 340 million tons in 2000. Trona production was 13 million tons in 1980 and nearly 18 million tons in 2000 ... Within this success story is an important lesson for Wyoming’s citizens and policy makers. While production increased, the number of employees declined by 1,100 in the trona industry and 1,800 in coal mining ...

“Major increases in production do not necessarily bring comparable increases in employment opportunities... Significant new Wyoming jobs will require diversification ... and job growth in other sectors of the economy ...

“Our future ... presents particular problems. An increasingly urban and deregulated national economy forces us to accept fewer or reduced services in areas such as airlines, health care and telecommunications, or to devise new strategies to encourage public and private investment in these fundamentally important areas ...

“Similarly, the national economy is structured against the small producers of commodities, be it farmers, ranchers or coalbed methane producers. They are forced to be price takers, not price makers. Again, we are confronted with the choice of accepting the status quo or acting on new strategies to build Wyoming ...

“There is risk in change ... but the greatest risk lies in doing nothing, relying on the blind hope that things will somehow get better or at least not get worse. Action must replace hope ... We need to turn our energies to creating the Wyoming community. And community is the conscious choice of individual people adopting attitudes, words and actions that build our sense of place, people and purpose.”

— Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal

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