Mike Pence’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at Saturday’s campaign kickoff rally in Columbus, Ind.:
“Thank you Michael, Charlotte and Audrey, and thank you to the love of my life and my first lady for 26 years, Karen Pence. Isn’t she great?
“You know, Karen and I met at a little church across the street from the governor’s residence in Indianapolis back in 1983. Honey, I think these people want us to go back to where we started!
“I am especially grateful to be joined by so many distinguished guests, party leaders, elected officials, supporters and friends who have taken the time to attend.
“Welcome to my hometown, Columbus, Indiana!
“I was born and raised in this town.
“I grew up in a small house not far from here with big dreams and a cornfield in my backyard.
“My grandfather was an Irish immigrant who came to this country in 1919. My parents came to Indiana before I was born and raised a family of four boys and two girls. I was raised to believe, ‘To whom much is given, much will be required,’ and our folks required a lot of us.
“At our house, we worked.
“My first job was washing dishes at Gene’s Cafeteria. After that, I worked for five years as a gas station attendant up on Highway 31 to help pay my way through college.
“I went to college down on the Ohio River, went to law school in Indianapolis, met the girl of my dreams, raised a family, started a business and spent ten years traveling this state, talking with everyday Hoosiers from the airwaves to co-ops, to county fairs.
“And then I had the chance to fulfill a boyhood dream representing Indiana in our nation’s capital, which brings me to today.
“On behalf of my family, here and gone, on behalf of all those who have stood with me for so many years, on behalf of conservative Hoosier values, I am here to make it official:
“I’m Mike Pence, I’m from Columbus, and I’m running for governor of Indiana.
“Next to being a husband and father, serving Indiana as governor would be the highest honor of my life but that’s not why I’m running for governor. There are really three reasons.
“First, I’m running for governor because I love this state, and I believe Hoosiers are the best people in America.
“Anybody will tell you, I do love Indiana.
“I love everything about it.
“From the Ohio River to the Golden Dome, from high school basketball to the Oaken Bucket, from the steel mills to the Speedway, Indiana is special.
“But it’s the people of Indiana who make it special.
“I’ve heard it in the wisdom of everyday Hoosiers who called me from kitchens, shop floors and tractors.
“I’ve seen the character of Hoosiers in the patriotism at Fourth of July parades and at quiet Memorial Day services.
“I’ve seen it in the eyes of Hoosier soldiers from Camp Atterbury to Kabul and Jalalabad, Baghdad and Ramadi. There’s a reason Indiana has one of the largest national guards in America: Hoosiers believe in serving their country.
“And through it all I’ve seen the goodness, generosity, decency and wisdom of everyday Hoosiers.
“Like three years ago this week in the aftermath of a 100-year flood that devastated this hometown of mine, including my boyhood home on 31st Street.
“As I drove through one neighborhood in a squad car, the police officer told me, ‘A few hours after the flood was over, the only thing you couldn’t find in this neighborhood was a parking space.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’
“He said, ‘People just started showing up from all over with coolers full of food and water, toolboxes and pickup trucks to help families put their lives back together.’
“One man at a shelter told me, ‘These fellas showed up the day of the flood, said they was from the Baptist church and were there to fix my house. I told ’em, “But I’m not a Baptist,” and they said, “We don’t care.”“
“That’s Indiana: decent, generous, modest and hardworking.
“And that’s why I want to be governor.
“Because I think the people of Indiana are the heart of the heartland.
“There is nothing the people of Indiana can’t accomplish if we work together with the common sense and common values that make this state great.
“Second, I’m running for governor because I believe Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in my lifetime, and we can’t go back now.
“After 16 years of leadership at the Statehouse that left our state with record debt and higher taxes, with our state roads and bureaucracy crumbling, thanks to the leadership of Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana has balanced budgets, lower taxes and improved state government in countless ways, including the most promising education reforms in the country.
“Because of what Hoosiers have done together, Indiana has become the fiscal envy of the nation and had the third fastest growing economy in the country in 2010.
“But despite all the progress we’ve made, we can’t afford to stop.
“For as we gather here today, thousands of Hoosier families are hurting, struggling to find work. Some are trapped in failing schools. Others are going home on unsafe streets or to families in crisis.
“Despite some recent good news, unemployment in Indiana is still over 8 percent, and thousands have quit looking for jobs altogether.
“Food stamps and welfare rolls are swollen.
“These are hard times for too many in our state.
“So, our work is far from over.
“Everywhere I’ve gone in Indiana over the past six months, the message is the same: Hoosiers appreciate the progress we’ve made.
“But almost to a person they say, ‘We gotta keep it goin’!’
“And they’re right.
“We gotta keep Indiana growing, but that won’t happen without a fight.
“Right now, Hoosiers are faced with an avalanche of unfunded mandates, regulations and taxes that threaten our freedom and stifle our growth.
“To keep Indiana growing, we need to be willing to put Indiana first.
“We need to be willing to say ’Yes’ to Indiana and ‘No’ to Washington, D.C.
“Those who know me know I fight for what I believe in, and I believe in Indiana.
“As your governor, I’ll fight for the freedom of every Hoosier to live, to work, to run our schools without unnecessary federal intrusion and Indiana will lead the fight against cap and trade and ObamaCare.
“To keep Indiana growing, we need a positive vision that builds on the success of the recent past, which brings me to my third and final reason.
“I’m running for governor because I have a vision for an even better Indiana.
“Good jobs, great schools, safe streets, strong families.
“And everything starts with a good-paying job.
“Some think you stimulate the economy through government borrowing, spending and bailouts.
“Hoosiers know better. The best stimulus plan is simple: less taxes, less red tape and more fiscal responsibility equals more jobs.
“To keep Indiana growing, we need to continue to live within our means, and as your governor, I’ll fight to keep Indiana on the path of fiscal responsibility and reform.
“But we won’t just keep taxes low, we’ll fight for more tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farmers, cut red tape and encourage investment, jobs and growth in the city and on the farm, until Indiana becomes the best place in America to grow a business or start a business in the city or on the farm.
“To build an even better Indiana, we have to continue to recognize that we cannot succeed in the marketplace if we fail in the classroom.
“I believe education is a state and local function. That’s why I opposed No Child Left Behind. We don’t need bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. telling us how to run our local schools, but we do need to stay on the pathway to reform.
“As your governor, I’ll look for ways to continue to fund excellence in education by cutting federal red tape, empowering parents and teachers, and promoting equality of opportunity for every Hoosier child through choice, more charter schools and innovation until Indiana has the best schools in America, period.
“And, to build an even better Indiana, our families and businesses have to be safe. Our prosperity depends on your security.
“As your governor, I will fight against the drugs and violence claiming Hoosier lives and give law enforcement, fire, public safety and the National Guard the tools and resources and reforms they need to protect our families and come home safe to their family. We owe them no less.
“And, finally, to build an even better Indiana, we must recognize that our present crisis is not just economic, but moral.
“At the root of these times should be the realization that people in positions of authority have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty, integrity, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and the simple notion that you ought to treat the other person the way you want to be treated.
“To restore our economy we must reaffirm our respect for the institutions and traditions that nurture the character of our people: the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and the importance of organized religion in everyday life.
“On a day like today, I can’t help but think of my dad.
“He’s gone now 23 years, but his influence and example are still a guidepost for my life.
“He was like a lot of you in this room.
“Grew up in the big city, he put on the uniform, went to Korea, came home with medals that went in the drawer and were never talked about again.
“He married the daughter of immigrants, talked her into moving to Indiana to follow their dreams.
“He built everything that matters: a family, a business and a good name.
“He left me, my three brothers and two sisters too soon with a legacy of hard work, faith, patriotism and a few words to live by.
“My dad said two things more often than any other: ‘Not my will but thine be done’ and ‘Climb your own mountain.’
“And as we face the challenge of putting Indiana first, getting Hoosiers back to work, restoring opportunity for every Hoosier child, securing our streets and strengthening our families, let’s think about those who went before.
“Who, in their time, made the sacrifices, faced the hard times with faith and courage.
“Who climbed their own mountain. Now it’s our turn.
“And this is not my mountain, it’s ours.
“Our journey begins today.
“Our past behind us, the future before us.
“We ask you to join us.
“If you love Indiana and believe in the people of this great state, join us.
“If you see how far we’ve come and know we can’t stop now, join us.
“If you believe we can build an even better Indiana for every Hoosier with good jobs, great schools, safe streets and strong families, join us.
“This is our challenge: to build an even better Indiana.
“And as we build an even better Indiana, I believe with all my heart, Indiana will continue to lead the way for a better and stronger America, so help us God.
“I’m Mike Pence. I’m running for governor. And I ask for your support.”