Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
State of the State Address
January 15, 2004
Speaker Madigan. Senate President Jones. House Minority Leader Cross. Senate Minority Leader
Lieutenant Governor Quinn. Attorney General Madigan. Secretary of State White. Treasurer Topinka.
Comptroller Hynes. Auditor General Holland. Superintendent Schiller.
Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to address the General Assembly.
It s great to be back.
A year ago, we came together at a time when everything that should have been up was down.
We faced the aftermath of the worst corruption scandal in our state s long history.
At the same time, we faced the worst fiscal crisis in our state s long history- a record $5 billion budget
deficit, a budget deficit that was 13 times worse than anything we had ever seen.
We faced a failing economy, rising prescription drug prices, increasing concerns about homeland
security, and a sense that state government just didn t care about the people.
And the people doubted our ability to govern, our ability to lead, our ability to solve problems.
They lost confidence in our integrity, they questioned our ability to act ethically, and they lost faith that
we would put their interests before our own.
A year ago, there were far more questions than answers.
There was far more fear, than hope.
There was far more cynicism, than faith in the future.
When we came together last year, we were confronted with a number of challenges, but our task was
clear: to reconnect people to their government, to show the people we could tackle difficult problems and
make difficult decisions and do so without resorting to the tired, old solutions that put the special
interests above the public interest, to show them we could act ethically, to show them we deserved their
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