One of the more powerful images from the time immediately after I took office in the midst of a recession that put tens of thousands of people out of work was observing construction workers throw their shoes in frustration at Legislative Hall. They were calling on their elected officials to walk in the shoes of those suffering from the financial crisis and imploring us to address the pain that so many were experiencing.
As the last year of my administration ends, I am most proud of how our state came together to respond to that challenge and to recognize that global forces stronger than a recession were affecting our people in new ways.
We live in a new economy that requires us to think differently about promoting individual and collective prosperity. As noted author Tom Friedman wrote about the new workforce: those with the imagination to invent smarter ways to do old jobs will thrive. Government must respond in smarter ways that reflect these new realities. It means training students and workers in skills to compete in growing industries – like IT and health care; making it possible for all people to contribute, including more people with disabilities, returning veterans, and ex-offenders. It means opening new export markets to small businesses; and, as we did this past year, revising our tax system to ensure our businesses can compete.
Combined with the hard work and determination of so many Delawareans, these efforts have resulted in the region’s best job growth. I am confident that Governor-elect Carney is assembling a team that’s ready to continue to identify new solutions to position Delawareans for success in a changing world – to walk in their shoes and understand their realities.
We have much to celebrate from the past year, and I know that our people have a bright and hopeful 2017 in front of them. I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and fulfilling new year, as we continue to keep Delaware moving forward.
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