"We have never seen the kids so excited on Christmas morning. They could hardly wait to see the looks on their siblings’ faces when the gifts they had so carefully crafted could finally be exchanged and opened. This demonstration of selfless giving and ingenuity resulted in what is now remembered as one of our best Christmases ever.
"We learned a great deal in our family during those tough times, as so many other families have learned while facing their own unique challenges. We learned to appreciate what we had, and we learned that happiness comes from serving each other. We learned how to be innovative, we learned how to be industrious and we learned how to make do with what we had.
"As a state government, Utah must do no less than what is expected of its people and its families. Let us be disciplined, let us be innovative, let us be industrious and let us live within our means. Let us also be forward thinking, as Utah’s demographics are ever changing. Who would have ever believed that a state of humble cowboys and copper miners would grow into a state that now also includes world-renowned human genetic researchers and aerospace scientists?
"Utah's strength always has been, and always will be, its people. This state is filled with wonderful, caring people who are dedicated to serving others. People who work side by side, committed to the common good. There is no place in the world where there is more volunteerism and community service than there is here in Utah.
"True charity comes from each of us reaching out a hand to help our neighbor, not from the overreaching hand of government. Utah’s people are ambitious, hard-working and we strive for excellence. We pride ourselves in our self-reliance. We are, after all, the Beehive State! Our motto is 'industry.'
"Our business community has rallied and is doing everything possible to grow and to expand, to protect jobs and to create new jobs. The state’s small business activity is rated the best in America, and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well right here in Utah. Utah’s labor force is growing. It is vibrant, it is high-tech savvy and it is extremely productive. I am committed to doing everything that I can to ensure our workforce is provided with continued educational opportunities that will enable these workers to compete in the global marketplace. And not just to compete, but to win!
"We are fortunate in Utah to have people who are willing to stand up, who work together and who create success through teamwork and collaboration. With the daunting challenges we face today, this is the time for unprecedented partnerships!
"A few months ago, Jeanette and I watched proudly as our son-in-law, Ben Cahoon, broke the record for the most receptions by any player in Canadian Football League history. It was a proud moment for the CFL and for Ben, and it was a great moment for our family. And while the feat itself was impressive, what impressed me the most was what took place after Ben broke the record. In a follow-up interview, Ben was asked about the secret of his success.
"Instead of pointing to himself, he gave credit to his coaches — both past and present. He gave credit to the efforts of his teammates in all phases — the defensive players that allowed the offense to get on the field and the offensive linemen who blocked opposing tacklers so that the quarterback had time to throw.
"He gave credit to fellow receivers for blocking downfield and drawing off potential defenders. Ben acknowledged that none of his success would have been possible without a quarterback who threw him the ball and the unselfish effort of his teammates, who executed their assignments and put themselves on the line time after time.
"As a state, our work moving forward requires this same kind of approach. As one member of Team Utah, this story serves as a reminder to me that good governance, good leadership and good citizenship is truly a collaborative effort. It requires the commitment and skills of all people if we are going to continue to move the football down the field. We are a state that celebrates its diversity, and we are known as a place of warm welcome and great compassion. Our people are as diverse as our red rock desert is from our snow-capped mountains. This is a wonderful part of Utah's heritage, and we will continue that legacy.
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