Sunday, January 25, 2009

Step aside, YouTube. Here comes GovTube

Step aside, YouTube. Here comes GovTube.

Gov. Linda Lingle is going to scoop herself on her most important speech of the year – her annual State of the State address to the Hawaii Legislature.

Her speech is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday. If past years are an indication, she’ll speak to a crowded chamber, where lei-decked dignitaries and state and local officials listen intently, applauding or chuckling at the appropriate places. As in previous years, her speech will be shown live on her Web site.

Before all that, however, is a “Pre-State of the State GovTube Webcast,” set for 9 a.m. and featuring Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, as well as Transportation Director Brennon Morioka, Land and Natural Resources chairwoman Laura Thielen, Agriculture Director Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Ted Liu and Tourism Liason Marsha Wienert.

Then, after Lingle’s speech, there’s an 11 a.m. hana hou performance on GovTube. This session will feature Lingle’s Senior Policy Advisor, Linda Smith, discussing the administration’s initiatives. Programs taking center stage this year are: Highways Modernization, Recreational Renaissance, Food Self-Sufficiency, Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and the Five-Point Economic Action Plan. A lot of capital letters to live up to!

Twenty-six of the 50 state governors have already given their State of the State addresses this year, and if their words are any indication, Lingle will be echoing a common theme of hard times, government reform and pulling together.

As compiled by stateline.org, which has a library of State of the State addresses going back to 2000, here’s how some of the other governors have said it this year:

Jan. 22 speech of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican: “Governor Wally Hickel said he feared more than any economic depression – a depression of the spirit … If there’s a shortfall, there are options. It’ll take a cooperative spirit all around to see us through the uncertainty … And we’re all in this together.” Palin is pushing for a 7-percent budget reduction.

Jan. 13 speech of Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat: “A common thread runs through our fiscal policies and sets Arkansas apart from other states, a thread spun from the wisdom of careful budgeting. By holding to our traditions of budget stabilization and conservative forecasting, we now find ourselves in an enviable position … Finding success among prosperity is admirable, but if we can capture success and continue moving Arkansas forward during a national recession, it will be a landmark of true achievement.”

Jan. 14 speech of Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal's, a Democrat: “Bear in mind that we are still in remarkably good position relative to other states … We are indeed in a storm. The storm is going to affect this state and this country and those that we love, and those that we don't know. The only thing we can do is to stay focused, stick with the underlying agenda, limit our expenditures, take advantage of the opportunity to review how we're spending money and become much more focused about the future.”

Jan. 14 speech of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat: “This is our chance to reform state government to make it a more nimble and relevant partner in a new state economy. … Ladies and gentlemen, we need to reboot! … Over the decades, state government has evolved — layer upon layer upon layer. But too much of what served the people well in 1940 or 1960 or 1990 does not serve the people well in the 21st century.”

Jan. 6 speech of North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican: “Ladies and gentlemen, the state of our state is strong. Eight years ago North Dakota did not have funding in its reserve account. Together, with purpose and a plan, we not only took the steps necessary to grow and diversify our economy but also to build our financial reserves. … When I say the state of our state is strong, however, I am mindful of the fact that as many as 41 other states are facing budget deficits this year or next. Clearly, our nation's economy is in a down-cycle, and we in North Dakota are not immune from its effects.”

Jan. 15 speech of Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican: “The budget that I submit today reflects our current economic realities. It is $2.2 billion smaller than the one we submitted just two years ago. It is also a budget based on the money we have, without taking more from residents and businesses that are already making do with less. It is a budget that requires us to live within our means … I take no joy in submitting a budget that eliminates, reduces, or changes many things that we have grown to expect in Nevada – many things we have taken for granted when times have been good, and many programs we have added when times have been great.”