The text of Speaker Chopp’s opening day speech for the 2011 Legislative Session:
WELCOME TO THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE!
As we represent the people, let’s remember the best traditions of our nation.
In America, we honor those who have gone before us, who sacrificed for us,
and who faced far greater hardships than we do today.
Years ago, sitting at the kitchen table with my parents, hearing their stories of living
through the Great Depression, I never thought that this nation would ever again see such financial hard times.
While times are indeed tough, we need to remember that we are very fortunate
compared to those who went before us.
In America, we embrace change… and innovation…. and reform….. and energy….. and action!
Democracy is designed to continually re-generate and re-new our government.
Given our financial challenges, that renewal must move faster.
For every important challenge we face, we must find a real solution.
We can be inspired by positive ideals, but we must also be prepared with creative ideas,
and ready for sustained, hard work over time.
In America, we care for one another. We recognize our common humanity.
The notion of people looking out for one another is fundamental to being American.
If we carelessly decimate the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens,
we make all of us less safe — less secure.
Instead, we must thoughtfully dedicate ourselves to reform and recharge the lifelines, for those among us who need our help.
In America, we mobilize to meet the challenges before us — to get the job done.
At our core, we are an optimistic people.
In America, we believe in a better future for our kids.
We cannot let the excess of Wall Street become an excuse for not making sure
that every child is healthy, ready to learn, and has the opportunity to get a great education.
It is the best hope for their future, and for our future.
We, the representatives of the people, can be part of these American traditions.
And so, every one of us must do our part to help create a better future for all.
We must do our part to help turn the Great Recession into the Great Recovery.
We can do this —- if we work together —–and look beyond the current state of affairs —-
if we stay focused on the possibilities of new ways to solve old problems.
We can rise to the occasion.
We owe it to our parents, and to our children.
This is America after all!