Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Full Speech - Senator Reid at the Nevada State Legislature

Normal
(0)
Difficulty: 0

Senator Reid we welcome you to the assembly chambers. Governor Sandoval, Ms. President,

members of the legislature,

guests and friends.

Itís really great to be with you at this joint

Session. Of course, not everyone is here but I think

we can excuse Assemblywoman Diaz for her absence. And we congratulate here on the birth of

her new son just last Sunday. 0:00:35.219,0:00:37.400. Itís always a pleasure to come home to Carson City.

It brings

back many memories to be in this chamber, which I voted to create

as a very young assemblyman. And itís a distinct honor to speak with

you today. Iím grateful to the people of Nevada for allowing me to represent

them for more than three decades in legislative halls and for more than a decade

in other government capacities.

Many of you are serving your first terms here in this body. 42%

of our 42 assemblymen are freshmen.

An even greater proportion-nearly half- of our state Senators are

new to the upper chamber. Youíre just beginning to learn its rhythms and its hallways.

My first term here

was a long

time ago.

Nixon was President and Nevadaís

population wasnít even a fifth of

what it is today.

But I remember vividly the emotions and excitement of my first session, when we were in the Capital building

just across the mall.

I know you are like me: humbled by the opportunity youíve been given to

serve our state,

and enthusiastic about the possibilities.

As we work together to move Nevada forward and get Nevada

back on our feet, Iíll always do everything I can to support you.

I know as well as you that Nevada is struggling at every level.

Our cities and schools are struggling. Our statewide and national economic

problems have done more than just commerce-

theyíve hurt confidence. Weíve had to make tough choices

and weíll have to make many more. But thatís what leadership is really all about.

I wish you well and

wish you wisdom as you make these decisions, And I hope you find our experience in this esteemed legislature

as rewarding as I did

- at least most of the time. Let me

explain. Long before Richard Bryan and I served together in the United States Senate,

we served together here in Carson City as assemblymen.

We were the only new Nevada legislators that session.

We quickly became friends and our friendship

has lasted many decades.

I introduced a lot of bills in my first term. Really,

a lot of bills. I am told I set the record for introducing the most legislation in a single session.

One of those bills Senator Bryan and I introduced would

crack down on firebombing- you know weapons

like Molotov cocktails.

We thought this was a real winner of an idea. The bill flew

through the assembly.

If flew

through committee in the Senate. We were more than a little proud of ourselves.

Then

it came to the Senate floor. Bryan and I went to watch the chairman of the Senate committee, Bill Farr, speak about it. When Bill wasnít serving in the Senate he was fire chief in Sparks.

Senator Farr went on and on about how great

our firefighting

bill was, how smart those two young assemblymen named Reid and Bryan

were in

moving this legislation. And we were elbowing each other we were really actually quite happy and we couldnít contain our satisfaction. Then Senator Farr said,

ìIn fact,

this legislation was so good, we passed it last session

So as you work to move Nevada ahead,

heed my caution:

be cautious.

That memory, however embarrassing,

also taught me to pay a little closer attention to our history.

Today, at this discouraging hour in our

history, Iím

comforted by the conviction that Nevada is a state full of fighters.

We were battle born.

Our principles and priorities keep us balanced as the challenges

before us change.

Our resolve is to recover and

we need to recover

that need to recover is as solid as the Sierras ñ and

my belief in that determination

is just as unmovable.

Weíve recovered

in the past, and weíll recover in the future. Weíve

met crisis before, and weíve prevailed. Winning is what we do. Winning

is what we have to do.

But it also takes time.

Our problems werenít created

in a day,

and they wonít be solved overnight. We know how to bounce back. Our challenge is great, but it isnít new. Nevada has always been a work in progress. I remember standing in this very chamber as Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate. I remember being here and thinking how much Nevada had changed from the

one I first knew in Searchlight to the one I was representing here in Carson City.

It was a different state ñ unrecognizable. In fact, each time Iíve had the honor of addressing this body, Nevada has been a different place.

That transformation to today

has been even more profound. Some of that change has been positive and promising, and some less so. Our charge is to ensure that the changes that will take shape in the next generation donít

take us backward. They must lead Nevada to a position of leadership and strength. The last time I addressed this body, the stimulus was just one day old. President

Obama had signed it into law only a few hours earlier.

That emergency law has

done a lot of good, and it prevented a lot of bad. It alone might not have cured every symptom we suffered,

but

it stabilized the patient.

I know the stimulus is an easy

target. Those

who donít like the current White House rush to accuse it of all the wrong in the world.

But as the first resident of that White House, John Adams, said,

ìFacts are stubborn thingsYes, we have more work to do.

But we do ourselves a

disservice when we deny the good it has done for our state: The stimulus cut taxes for more than a million Nevadans. A million just in Nevada alone.

It kept thousands of teachers in the classroom and other education workers on the job

to the tune of more than 500-

million dollars.

On Friday I announced that our

most struggling schools will get grants, made possible

by the stimulus, so that our students even in the weakest schools can have a shot at

college or a career.

That law also secured for

Nevada a bigger increase in Medicaid match

funding than every other state in the union.

Solar

and geothermal projects

are heating up across the state because of

stimulus funding.

And just last week, another stimulus project

took a giant leap forward:

the transmission line that will connect the north and the south with electricity, and connect Nevadans with good-paying jobs. Energy independence is coming. And itís bringing

with it many hundreds of jobs now

and in the future.

Iím not saying the law was perfect. But I am saying it was necessary, and

itís working. It saved Nevada and our country from an economy

much worse than what weíve experienced.

The stimulus isnít the only emergency action Congress took thatís misunderstood.

Let me say something briefly about the lifelines

to the banking

and auto industries. First, the program that brought our economy back from the brink of collapse. No one wanted to help the banks that jeopardized our economy and crashed

the housing market. Just like you, Iíd seen the foreclosure signs

multiply across our state,

and I had no sympathy for

the greedy Wall Street bankers who forced them there.

But Iíll never forget (excuse me)

the meeting we had

ñ just a

handful of us ñ with President Bushís Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson,

and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Iíll never forget sitting in that room

on that Thursday when they told us how close we were to not having an economy on Monday. They told us that what we needed to do to save our country they told us what we needed to do to save ourselves. And

acting as partners rather than

partisans, we did just that.

TARP, as it's called, started under a Republican President and ended with a Democratic President.

But its virtue is not just that the story

started with bipartisanship.

Itís

also that it ended with success. We ask

a lot of the American people, and now we're paying them back:

The bailout is turning taxpayers

a profit.

Second,

many have asked

why we would help a failing industry like the American car companies. But just like with the stimulus and TARP, the results

belie its reputation.

General Motors

is back on its feet, in control of its own finances and adding jobs. Now itís giving its hourly workers

profit-sharing checks worth

thousands of dollars. Even Chrysler ñ the most endangered of the Big Three auto companies ñ is

bouncing back from

bankruptcy and expects to make a profit this year.

Thatís especially

welcome news for the states and cities that build cars, but

itís encouraging news for all of us.

We should always be rooting for American companies

to succeed ñ iconic industries and bright young entrepreneurs alike.

Nevada should never root for failure.

These underrated successes aside,

I didnít come here to talk about the past. I didnít come to re-fight the fights

of the last few years. Iím here to talk

about our future: How we will move Nevada forward.

How

we will seize this unique, rare and critical opportunity to lead not just the nationís economy,

but the worldís economy. Some

may question whether we can get there. Too many Nevadans are still looking for jobs. Too many families are still fighting to stay in their homes.

But I know this state. I

donít question whether Nevada can mature

in this new decade and this young century and

soon find ourselves in front once again.

My only question is how quickly it will happen.

If weíre going to talk about our future, letís start where our future starts:

in our schools.

Our responsibility

to our children's education is

solemn and serious.

Just a couple of years before I

joined this Assembly,

I was

struggling

through law school as a young father

I was a full-time policeman. I didnít know

if I was going to be able

finish school. So one day

I went to the dean

of students and told him I had a family

and a broken car and needed some

financial help.

Iíll never forget what he told me.

He didnít give me an ounce of sympathy, or an inch of

respect.

Instead the dean said,

ìMr. Reid,

why donít you just quit

I guess that was all I needed to hear. I knew I had to prove him

wrong. I knew right then

I would

graduate. Sometimes the people who motivate us

the most are the ones who believe in us the least. Right now,

a lot of people out there donít believe in Nevada. The country doesnít look at us as leaders

ñ it sees a state

stuck in the last percentiles. If that doesn't make you want to work

harder and harder,

youíre in the wrong line of work.

Nevada ranks 50th in state contributions to education, 50th.

Our children really

deserve better.

Weíre not the only state that has to make hard choices when it comes to budget cuts.

But few have forced its K-through-12

and higher-education systems to cut

millions from already-tight budgets, as Nevada has. And we do this

year after year.

Weíre

beyond

asking our schools and universities to trim their budgets, or do

more with less. These cuts,

and calls

for more cuts, undermine our most important goal: preparing Nevadaís students for the global economy.

If our priority is producing a workforce

that can compete with the rest of the world,

letís legislate that way. And letís admit

that a one-size-fits-all approach to education

fits nobody.

Our state is home to the fifth-largest school district in the country,

as well as some of the smallest.

There are almost four times

as many schools in Clark County as there are students in

Esmeralda County. Thatís why weíre working to reform No Child Left Behind, so that it

works better for our schools. And itís why

weíve signed on to the Common Core Initiative.

That new program will help develop

world- 0:13:24.990,0:13:27.140 class standards for our students and make Nevadans more

competitive. Education funding has

primarily been a state and local responsibility,

and thatís how it should be.

But thereís room for us to work together. And Iíll

do everything I can to help ease the burdens on state and local

school districts.

If we lag in education today,

weíre going to lose at everything tomorrow.

We

werenít even

in the running for Race to the Top funds because weíve fallen too far behind to be considered.

We have to approach these competitions like an athlete approaches a new season:

We first have to make the playoffs

if we want any shot at the championship.

But before any of this can happen,

we have to recognize that our childrenís education

is not about

tenure itís not about teachers unions.

Itís not about budgets, or taxes

or profits.

Itís not about yesterdayís alliances or

adversaries. Itís not about

us at all. Itís about our children, our

students and their future.

You see- Nevada isnít a last-place

kind of place. We know this in our hearts. Together

we can make the world believe it too, but weíre

going to have to earn it. As close as we are to the back of

the line when it comes to education,

weíre at the forefront of the clean-energy revolution. America is

going to use

nearly 20 million barrels of oil today.

Thatís more than 20 percent of all of the oil the entire world

will use today. But America

has less than three percent of

the worldís reserves ñ

and theyíre going fast.

And when it comes

to how much that oil costs, weíre at the mercy of OPEC.

Thatís a strategy for yesterday.

We need a strategy for tomorrow.

The more we invest in and develop clean energy,

the faster weíll solve two of our toughest challenges:

Thatís creating jobs and

reducing our reliance on oil. The faster we act, the faster weíll.

be energy independent. Clean energy is one of the best investments weíll ever make. Nevada is already

the hub of renewable energy ñ

our solar,

wind and geothermal

potential is unbeatable. Our challenge, then, is to make Nevada the hub of the renewable energy industry.

Now is our chance to turn that energy

into jobs.

No place on Earth is

better for this kind of development than right

here. Thatís why weíre attracting companies from

countries like China ñ

businesses that are building wind turbines and LED lighting

technology in our state. Theyíre

coming to Nevada from halfway around the globe

because they see good business opportunity here.

We welcome them. Their plants will put Nevadans back

to work and help plant the roots of our

new future.

The transmission line I mentioned a minute ago is an example of a homegrown solution ñ a public-private partnership

made possible by the stimulus.

The One Nevada line will soon completely

free us from having to import any electricity at all.

In fact, with consumers like California next door and growing

efforts to build a reliable electricity grid in the West, weíre poised to become a net exporter

of clean energy into the national marketplace. We need to make sure spending cuts

donít hold us back. And Iíll do everything I can

to make it easier for businesses to develop affordable clean

energy; to help

families use that clean energy; and to make it easier for our cars, trucks,

homes and offices to run on clean energy. The future of our economy

depends on it ñ and so does the future

of our environment and our national security.

Stronger education and cleaner energy are two of the pieces.

to the same puzzle. Nevada will

return to the top when we build a foundation that brings people and businesses here

This state has always been a destination ñ

from yesterdayís pioneers, like my dadís parents, who came here to mine our rich minerals,

to todayís tourists, who enjoy the beauty of our deserts and mountains,

and entertainment.

Thatís one of the reasons we killed Yucca Mountain.

And itís the reason I worked so hard to pass the travel promotion act. That bipartisan plan is

taking the strategies that have made Las Vegas so successful and exporting them to our entire nationís

tourism industry. Itís already working.

Itís attracting visitors from around the globe and creating jobs right here in Nevada.

Tourism will always be our biggest industry ñ

but it canít be our only one.

Weíve learned the hard way that when tourists stay away, jobs go away.

So letís open more doors.

If we donít show the country

weíre serious about education, why would the best teachers and researchers come here to work? Why would parents

put their children in our schools? If we donít show the world weíre serious about clean energy,

why would the best scientists make our state their laboratory for the newest technologies?

And if we don't prove that weíre a 21st-century

state, why would a creative new company ñ

or a small business that can be tomorrowís biggest employer ñ

set up a shop here in Nevada?

I recently met with a group of businessmen who run data centers for technology companies.

They visited Storey County to see about opening a facility there,

a move that would have created desperately needed jobs.

Storey County

does a lot of things right. Itís the home of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, which is the largest of its kind

in the country. But one of the businessmen in that meeting told me he simply

couldnít believe that one

of the biggest businesses

in the county he was considering for his new home is legal prostitution.

Iíve talked to families who feel the same way ñ

parents who don't want their children to look out of a school bus and see a brothel.

Or to live in a state with the wrong kind of red lights. So letís have an adult conversation about an adult subject.

Nevada needs to be known as the first place for innovation and

investment ñ

not as the last place where prostitution is still legal.

When the nation thinks about Nevada,

it should think about the worldís newest ideas and newest careers ñ

not about its oldest profession.

We should do everything we can to make sure the world holds Nevada in the same high regard you

and I do. If we want to attract business to Nevada

that puts people back to work, the time has come to outlaw prostitution.

Iíve talked about the jobs we need to create in the private sector.

Allow me to speak shortly about the jobs our public servants do.

We recognize Nevadaís potential because we have learned from our past.

We let our history inform our future. And that experience teaches us that we

Canít throw out experience.

Nevada imposes term limits at every level of our government ñ for mayors, county commissioners, constitution

officers and for all of you state legislators.

Everyone except the judiciary. In each case, theyíre counterproductive.

These restrictions donít limit terms; they limit our ability

to move forward.

I know many of you are serving today because your predecessorís term limits gave you the chance to run. But this issue is

bigger than any one of us as individuals. And this is not

just about political theory. We can see it with our own eyes, in the people weíve served with, colleagues we know

and respect, public servants whose expertise has made this state

a better state and whose experience

has made us better at our jobs.

When Dean Rhoads, a fine Republican,

leaves the Senate after this term, so will his 35 years of hard-earned experience.

When John Oceguera finishes his first

term as Speaker of the Assembly, it will also be his last.

Of course, he replaced another well-respected

but term-limited Speaker, Barbara Buckley, who did so much for our state on education,

health care and other important issues. No one can say that Nevada ñ

especially northern Nevada ñ would be better off had Bill Raggioís service been arbitrarily cut short.

He could never have built the relationships or gained the institutional knowledge that helped him lead the Senate

so well for so long. The North would never have known the clout it now has. And in the South, Oscar Goodman is an overwhelmingly popular mayor ñ and always has been. Why should he have to step down if the people he represents donít want him to? For some, two years is too much. For others, 20 years isnít long enough

so well for so long. The North would never have known the clout it now has. years isnít long enough

And in the South, Oscar

Goodman is an overwhelmingly popular mayor ñ

and always has been. Why should he have to step down if the people he represents donít want him to?

For some, two years is too much.

For others, 20 years isnít long enough.

We donít need artificial term limits. After all, we already have natural ones. Theyíre called elections.

Anyone serving today should be able to serve at the will of the voters ñ the people of Nevada.

I donít think anyone here believes our

constituents lack the capacity

or donít deserve the right to choose their own leaders.

And if you donít believe theyíll exercise that right,

just look at the United States Congress.

Remember when President Bush said in 2006 that

he got a ìthumpinî? Or when the wheel of the majority

turned again just this past November,

and President Obama said he got a ìshellackingî?

Both of these words were synonyms for

remarkable, natural turnover. The voters take care of term limits for us.

One more word about learning from othersí experience:

I served with Republican Gordon Smith in the United States Senate. have spent years earning.

Like all of us, he served in his stateís legislature.

When Gordon was the President of the Oregon State Senate,

his number-one goal was to implement term limits.

He succeeded, but quickly came to regret it.

He called it, in his own words, ìthe

biggest political mistake of my lifeOregon agreed: it no longer has term limits.

We should not turn away those who want to serve our state. We should not eliminate expertise that

dedicated Nevadans have spent years earning. And in this part-time body charged

with solving full-time problems, we should not forget that term limits leave behind a vacuum of institutional

knowledge.

The ones who fill that vacuum are unelected lobbyists,

legislative staff and other special interests. We should never get in the way

of our own ability to move Nevada forward. It is up to you to protect

our best leadersí contributions ñ not

reject them. So I ask you to take this to the people and

reverse our destructive term-limits law.

Ours is a state of frontiersman and fighters. Itís in our blood.

Thatís why the story

of America is the story of Nevada

and of the West. In our country, pioneer is another word for leader, and westward

means forward.

Lands that were once the frontier are now cities on the front lines of

technology and industry.

Where our towns were once dominated by homesteads,

they now are dotted by

energy-efficient homes.

The Old West has given way to the New West, and it is up to us to define what that means.

The question is whether we

will direct our destiny,

or forfeit our future.

I know our challenges are many. But

our opportunity to prosper hasnít been this rich since my fatherís parents came here seeking gold and

silver.

The chance is

ours, if we so choose. The window in which we can

seize this opportunity stands as open as the desert

ñ but it may be as fleeting as the desert wind.

The day to grow new jobs,

attract new

business, raise a strong generation

and breathe new life into our

economy is today,

if we take it. Today is also the first Presidentís birthday, George Washington.

George Washington knew a thing

or two about hardship and hard choices.

At the height of the Revolution, long before we won our independence and Washington

won his immortality,

success was far from certain. When failure seemed the most likely fate,

he wrote one of his generals the following:

ìWe should never despair

Washington said. ìOur situation before

has been unpromising, and has changed for the better ñ so I trust it will again

He reminded that General, a man by the name of Philip Schuyler, that new tests are merely an opening for new triumphs, and new problems a prompt for new ideas.

General Schuyler received Washingtonís letter and took it to heart.

He didnít despair. He believed. And once the colonies

became a country ñ as the promise of a new nation lay before him

ñ the general returned home to create change where it starts: he joined his stateís legislature.

Youíre going to create change just like he did. Thank you very much.

The Description of Full Speech - Senator Reid at the Nevada State Legislature