Thank you Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the House. It is my honor to welcome you, your families and your guests back to the Iowa House of Representatives for the 2016 legislative session.
I am greatly humbled by the responsibility my caucus has entrusted to me in electing me to the office of House Majority Leader. Thank you for the faith you have placed in me to serve you in this role.
My greatest appreciation is to my wife Amanda for her steadfast support, and also to Owen, Noah and Sophia for the sacrifices they have made to allow me to serve. All of us know exactly what our families give to send us here and to do our work.
I am asked from time to time how I balance my responsibilities as husband and father with the work of being a legislative leader. While it certainly has its challenges, this job would be impossible without their love and support.
To Speaker Paulsen, thank you for your hard work and dedication to this great state. The people of Iowa have been well-served by your leadership, and the House Republican Caucus owes you a debt of gratitude.
To Speaker Upmeyer, congratulations. It is an honor to serve with you. I am excited about what we will accomplish together and I am proud to call you my friend. It is already very clear to me that we have made a wise decision in selecting you as our Speaker and I have no doubt that you will serve this body and the state of Iowa very well. Your work ethic and commitment to our state is unparalleled. Once again, Republicans in this state have proven that capable women are able to rise to the highest levels of political office.
I’ve also greatly enjoyed working with many House Democrats in a constructive and positive way to craft public policy with the best interests of Iowans in mind. I look forward to continuing to build those relationships wherever possible.
Over the past five years, House Republicans have committed to passing a balanced budget while not using one-time money for ongoing obligations. Our common sense budgeting principles are what the taxpayers of this state expect from their government. While it is not always easy, it is the responsible thing to do. House Republicans will continue to insist on passing a budget that does not spend more than the state collects in revenue. We will continue to make sure that we fund the priority needs of Iowans within the revenue they have provided.
There is no question that this will require difficult decisions of this body, but the reason that we will be successful and we will be able to meet these challenges is because of our fiscal responsibility. Setting budget priorities is never an easy task, but the responsibility we have shown in the past will make it much less difficult this year to meet these challenges. So let us continue down that path. Let us not just meet the needs of today but leave this state on solid ground for tomorrow.
We will have other challenges as well. House Republicans have heard loud and clear that school funding needs to be set early and that is exactly what we plan to do. Not only do our schools need to plan their budgets, but they need to know that the commitment we make is one upon which they can depend.
House Republicans will continue to work toward policies that lead to greater economic prosperity. Let us continue our work to build a highly-skilled workforce, and to foster a business climate in which high-paying career jobs are plentiful. The economy of tomorrow depends on our work today to streamline government and create an environment that makes it easier to do business and grow jobs in the state.
I’m a sixth-generation Iowan. My great-great-great grandfather Hagenow came here to work the land and make a better life for his family. My own parents, who are sitting behind me today, chose to bring their family back to Iowa because of what this state had to offer. I am now blessed to have that same opportunity for my family. My prayer is that our work here will help to secure those same opportunities and that same great Iowa for my own children and the next generation of Iowans.
Let’s continue to show Iowans that we are able to work together. House Republicans will hold ourselves to the same high standards that Iowans have for us: To work diligently, to work together, and get to the job done.
Thank you Madam Speaker.