Full text, as prepared:
“Thank you Mr. President. It is a great honor serving the people of the Great State of Nevada and today I am speaking on their behalf for the first time in the United States Senate.
“Before I begin, I want to take a moment to reflect on two tragic events that have taken place in Nevada recently. In Carson City, our nation lost three Nevada National Guard members at shooting a local Restaurant. Those members were Major Heath Kelly, Sergeant First Class Miranda McElhiney, and Sergeant First Class Christian Riege.
“The other was the horrific crash at the Reno Air Races this weekend. As with the shootings in Carson City, this terrible event not only impacted the communities in Northern Nevada, but the entire state and the nation. Having visited the scene where the crash occurred, it is difficult to describe the amount of damage that took place there.
“Our states first responders and medical personal did an amazing job in very difficult situations. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their family members and I wish the injured a quick recovery.
“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to stand here today and address this body as Nevada’s 25th Senator.
“Nevada is a small state, but it is one that has provided many with a great chance to succeed.
“Most people know that it was in Nevada where Samuel Clemens began to sign his writings as Mark Twain and reported on the territorial legislative sessions.
“However, the reason Samuel Clemens came to the Nevada Territory was to follow his older brother, Orion Clemens, who served as the first and only Secretary of the Nevada Territory. That position would later become Secretary of State, which I held prior to my service in Congress.
“Like the Clemens brothers who sought greater opportunities, it is in a state like Nevada where a son of a mechanic can have the opportunity to interact with those who are responsible for governing the state.
“For instance, as a boy I delivered the newspaper to then Governor Mike O’Callaghan, for a time I went to Sunday school with then Lt. Gov Harry Reid’s sons. And I was educated in the same public high school as Senator Paul Laxalt. Our current Governor, Brian Sandoval, is someone I used to play organized basketball with.
“I want to thank Senator Laxalt for his support and Senator Reid for being here today. And, although, not a Nevadan, I also want to thank Senator McConnell for being here as well.
“My father’s automotive shop was across the street from the Nevada State Legislature, so many of the legislators would come into my dad’s business. I spent a lot of time there as a kid working in that garage, sweeping floors, repairing cars, and fixing engines and transmissions. In that shop I learned the value of hard work and responsibility, and the importance of family.
“I’m proud of what I learned growing up in Nevada — values from two great parents, good teachers, and good neighbors. Nevada values like faith in God, hard work, honesty and commitment to family. These are the values that I try to bring to Washington DC every day.
“Although Nevada has changed over the years, in many ways, it is very much the same place as when I grew up.
“I bring this up today because I recall what it took for my father to keep his business in operation, and I think about what might have happened if he were still in business today. During this time when so many people are hurting and our economy is so fragile, it is important to understand how government impacts our economy and businesses across the nation.
“While Washington politicians tarnish one another, Americans are still out of work. My home state of Nevada in particular leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosures, and bankruptcies.
“Nevadans do not want finger pointing; they want jobs. They do not want political talking points; they want to keep their homes. They do not want to hear hollow promises; they want to pass on a better future to their children and grandchildren.
“Job creation and economic recovery should be a bipartisan value. Unfortunately, Washington today is paralyzed by politics and has been reduced to sound bites.
“Too often it seems we cannot move beyond the politics of today. It appears we are more interested in press conferences than solving our nation’s most pressing problems–issues such as Medicare, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Instead of strengthening and preserving the program, it is often used as a political weapon.
“The truth is, Washington has not done enough to get our nation back on track and the American public knows it.
“I recently received a letter from a small business owner who had this to say:
‘My business had to dramatically cut our spending and unfortunately lay off half of our good employees. Many of our customers have lost their jobs and their homes due to government intervention in the housing market and massive mismanagement of our tax dollars…government employment has gone up while private sector employment has dropped.’
“These are the kind of stories I hear from Nevadans far too often.
“I do weekly telephone town halls where I have the opportunity to speak with thousands of households across my great state.
“During a recent round of phone calls I have been asking participants if they believe their children and grandchildren will have a better economic future than we have today.
“More than two-thirds of these respondents say ‘no.’ Many Nevadans believe that the economic burden of our national debt, and the impact it will have on future generations will lead to fewer opportunities and lesser upward mobility. I’m certain that Nevada is not alone in this sentiment.
“Do we want to be the first Congress that hands our children and grandchildren a lesser quality of life? This should serve as a wake-up call for Washington.
“Passing on a better life to our children and grandchildren is a value and goal we all share as Americans. From all corners of Nevada, and our nation the message is clear; the status quo is not working.
“We can no longer afford to ignore the biggest problem facing our country—government spending and the national debt.
“The choices are clear, we can continue down this path which leads to bigger government, higher taxes, less jobs, and rationed health care for our seniors or we can decrease government spending, create jobs, and fulfill our promises to future generations.
“Washington needs to place its trust in the American people to reenergize our economy, not the federal government.
“And, it was Reagan who said, ‘From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?’
“Our debt will serve as an anchor on future prosperity if we do not work today to solve this problem. Business as usual is not an option.
“What we do as Senators and the decisions we make are critically important to those we wish to represent. Sometimes the results of our actions are seen immediately and some times the full ramifications take decades to unfold.
“Record deficits, high unemployment, an anemic recovery, and inflation are fueling anxiety over our nation’s fiscal health.
“The key to recovery is to create an environment where economic growth can flourish, and provide certainty and stability to our nation’s job creators.
“I evaluate legislation through what I call the entrepreneurial standard or the ‘More, Higher, Less test.’ Does this bill provide more competition, with higher quality, at less cost? What would a small business do?
“If the federal government approached problems through an entrepreneurial perspective, we could have a more efficient government at less-costs to the taxpayer.
“Unfortunately, our government is not providing that certainty today. We have a temporary tax code, overly burdensome regulations, and an ever increasing national debt.
“There is no question; the federal government must stop spending money we do not have. If we are going to keep America exceptional, we have to chart a new direction for our country.
“As families across Nevada struggle to pay their bills and fight to keep their homes, government spending has grown exponentially. This must end if we are going to turn this economy around.
“We must focus on the long-term health of our economy, and remove impediments that have caused economic stagnation and disabled businesses from creating new jobs.
“The federal government has been on a massive spending spree, and it is time for this reckless behavior to end. History offers little evidence that massive deficit-financed spending leads to economic recovery.
“As an opponent of the stimulus and the Wall Street Bailout, I believe reining in government spending is critical to economic recovery and the future of our country.
“The unemployment rate, foreclosures, and bankruptcies all represent people who have become victims of this recession. There are those who have endured pay cuts to keep their jobs, individuals who are underemployed, and seniors on fixed incomes dealing with the increase in cost of living expenses.
“No question……. times are tough.
“So the question we must answer is. ‘Do we have the courage to overcome partisan divides and work together to solve our nation’s problems?’
“While we all may not be members of the same political party or share the same philosophy of government, I believe we are all here to do what’s right.
“In these difficult times it is more important than ever that we work together, find common ground, and make tough decisions to create jobs and get people back to work.
“Every day I go to work to advocate for the great state of Nevada, and every day I let Nevadans know there is someone in Washington who is on their side.
“There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about what can be done to create jobs and get our economy moving again.
“This is not the first time America has endured tough times, and it won’t be the last. There will be better days ahead. However, it is incumbent upon us to affect change in difficult times to create a better future.
“Today, we are at a crossroads, possibly a defining moment in our nation’s history, where we must change the way we govern.
“The window of opportunity is available, but is growing smaller every day.
“Mark Twain wrote – ‘You are a coward when you even seem to have backed down from a thing you openly set out to do.’
“So I ask another question, what is it that we ‘set out to do?’
“I ran for office to make a difference. To leave this place better than I found it. We still are the greatest nation on earth with the greatest form of government. Our best days are yet to come – if we act now to return our nation to what made us great. Families, entrepreneurs, communities – the American Dream.
“We must stop the mindset that we have all the answers here in Washington – I can assure you that we don’t. The answers are out there.
“They’re in places like Nevada, Alaska, Ohio and Kentucky, in small towns and large cities across this country. Let the American engine fire again. Tear down the barriers to growth and opportunity and launch this great nation into its next great chapter. I stand ready to serve and ready to bring us together.
“When my children and grandchildren look back many years from now, it is my hope that history shows we rose to the occasion to ensure their future and the future of our great nation.
“I am confident we can meet those challenges. Our strength as a nation is bigger than the troubles of today.”