CHARLESTON — “Last month, the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School reminded us all of how precious our families, friends and communities are—and the joy they bring into our lives. Such loss is heartbreaking—it’s unspeakable. Still today, Joanne and I continue to pray for the families and friends of the children and adults who left this world far too soon. I ask everyone here with us today—and throughout the Mountain State—to take a moment of silence to reflect upon those we have lost and those who mean so much to us in our own lives. Thank you.
“Two weeks ago many of us gathered together with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season and the New Year. It was an opportunity, not only to catch up, but to be reminded of our blessings.
“Throughout my years in public service as Senate President and as Governor, I've never forgotten the tremendous value it is for a person, a state, or a country to look back to see how far they have come so they may build upon what has been accomplished or to chart a new course of action.
“During my years in public service, I've worked hard to create a brighter future for West Virginia, and I've approached every decision, every challenge, and every opportunity with one goal—and that is—putting West Virginia First.
“Our journey to transform this State began over 25 years ago. The road we have traveled has not always been easy. But we have done it the right way—working together—with business, labor, Republican, and Democrat—to solve our problems.
“We fixed our ailing pension systems. And now we have a plan for paying our hardworking teachers and public employees the pensions they deserve. We've invested almost $2 billion to make sure their pensions will be there when they retire.