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Photos: Daniel Sato, State of Delaware
The past year brought once in a generation challenges to every single Delawarean. No one has been exempt from the reaches of this pandemic. And too many of our friends and neighbors paid the ultimate price.
It’s a bond we all would’ve chosen to forgo.
But the pain of the pandemic is not the only thing this year gave us.
It also gave us a clear picture of what we could do as a state – with each other, and for each other.
Doctors and nurses worked nights and weekends to treat patients with COVID.
The National Guard staffed testing sites up and down the state – and over half of all Delawareans stepped up and got tested.
Child care providers and correctional officers went to work every single day even while the virus surged.
You sacrificed visits with loved ones, family traditions, the camaraderie of the office or the classroom, a high school sports season, all to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe.
And now the vaccine has arrived – and there is hope on the horizon.
For me, and for so many of you, this year has been a balancing act.
We’ve tried to protect public health, while protecting our economy.
Preparing for the next year, and the next four years, will require this same balancing act.
We’ll continue to deal with the crisis at hand, but we will also plan for the future.
We will march forward with optimism and hope.
2021 is a year of hope and optimism. It won’t be easy. There’s a lot of work ahead. But I’m confident that Delaware will come out of this current crisis stronger than ever.
Four years ago, I promised to get our fiscal house in order. We kept that promise. As a result, unlike so many states around the country, Delaware is not facing budget challenges this year.
That means we’re well-positioned to rebuild. As our President-Elect says, to build back better.
We made promises last year — before the pandemic hit — and I intend to make good on them.
We will create jobs by investing in the largest infrastructure program in our state’s history.
We will make sure every Delaware family has clean drinking water.
We will build a new school on the east side of Wilmington. It’ll the first new school in Delaware’s largest city in more than a generation.
We’ll make historic investments in public schools statewide, focused on students who need our help the most.
We’ll continue strengthening our economy. And we will help those businesses recover that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
My job as Governor is to make sure Delaware comes out on top in a world that’s more connected and competitive than ever.
And to make sure all Delawareans get a fair shot to succeed.
Of all the lessons this past year has taught us, perhaps the most important had nothing to do with the pandemic. The George Floyd protests here in Wilmington and Dover and across the country showed us that we cannot continue to ignore the injustices our brothers and sisters of color endure. We cannot return to the old normal – to the normal of just last year. Here too, we need to build back better. And we will.
For the past two decades, you have trusted me with the responsibility and privilege of representing you.
You’ve given me the opportunity to get to know you and our state, and to understand what’s important to you.
While an inaugural address normally lays out what the next four years will look like, this last year has made crystal clear that none of us knows what the future holds.
But regardless of what lies ahead, I promise to continue working hard, every single day, to support the causes you care about. To fight for what’s important to you. And to make life better for every single Delawarean.
Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Governor.
God bless you and God bless the State of Delaware and God bless our great United States of America.