Video: Sarah’s Resignation Speech, Part 1 and 2
(Note: the version below is the actual transcript of her speech, which differs somewhat from the text version posted on the governor’s website)
Okay, good. Appreciate you all being here. And I just want to say hi to Alaska. I appreciate speaking directly to the people that I serve as governor. And I thank you all for coming here today on the shores of Lake Lucille. This is a source of inspiration for my family and for me. And I’m thankful that Todd flew in last night from commercial fishing grounds in Bristol Bay to stand by my side, as always.
It’s the eve of our celebration of independence as a nation. It’s a time to remember our nation’s dear souls who sacrificed so selflessly so that we all may live in freedom. From the shores of Maine to Texas and California, to the tip of Barrow, we live in peace because centuries ago so many fought for something far greater than themselves, and so many continue to fight for us today. So I say, God bless our military on this eve of Independence Day.
Well, people who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing is more important to me than our beloved Alaska. Serving her people is the greatest honor that I could imagine.
I want Alaskans to really be able to grasp what can be in store for our state. We were purchased as a territory because a member of President Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, William Seward, he providentially saw in this great land vast riches and beauty and strategic placement on the globe an opportunity. He boldly looked north to the future, but he endured such ridicule and mocking for his vision for Alaska. Remember the adversaries? The scoffed and they called this “Seward’s folly.”
Seward withstood such disdain as he chose the uncomfortable, unconventional but right path to secure Alaska so that Alaska could help secure the United States.
Alaska’s mission? To contribute to America. We’re strategic in the world as the air crossroads of the world, as a gatekeeper of the continent. And bold visionaries, they knew this, and they knew that Alaska would be part of America’s great destiny.
Our destiny, to be reached by responsibly developing our natural resources. This land, blessed with clean air and water and wildlife and minerals and oil and gas, it’s energy. God gave us energy.
So to serve the state, it is such a humbling responsibility, because I know in my soul that Alaska is of such import for America’s security in such a volatile world today. And I know that you know me by now. I promised four years ago that I would be showing my independence, and there would be no more conventional politics as usual.
We’re doing so well, my administration. My administration’s accomplishments, they speak for themselves. We work tirelessly for Alaskans. We aggressively and responsibly develop our resources because they were created to be used to better our world, to help people. And we protect the environment and Alaskans, the resource owners, foremost with our policies.
Here are some of the things that we have done. We created a Petroleum Integrity Office to oversee safe development. We held the line for Alaskans on Point Thompson. And finally, for the first time in decades, you’re seeing drilling up there for oil and gas.
We have a AGIA, the gas line project, a massive, bipartisan victory. The vote was 58-1. Also, succeeding as intended, protecting Alaskans as our clean natural gas will flow to energize Alaska and America. It’s very different than what had happened before. This time it’s through a very competitive, pro-private sector project. This is the largest private sector energy project ever. This is energy independence.
And ACES, another bipartisan effort, it’s working as intended, and industry is publicly acknowledging its success. Our new oil and gas clear and equitable formula, it’s so Alaskans will no longer ever be taken advantage of. ACES incentivizes new exploration and development and jobs that were previously not going to happen, not with a monopolized North Slope Oil Basin.
We cleaned up previously accepted unethical actions, and we ushered in bipartisan ethics reform.
We also slowed the rate of government growth. We worked with the legislature to save billions of dollars for our future. And I made no lobbyist friends with my hundreds of millions of dollars in budget vetoes. But living beyond our means today is irresponsible for tomorrow.
We took government out of the dairy business. We put it back into the private sector’s hands where it should be.
We provided unprecedented support for education initiatives. And with the right leadership, we finally filled long-vacant public safety positions. We built a sub-Cabinet for climate change. And we took heat from outside special interests for our biologically sound wildlife management for abundance practices, predator control.
We broke new ground on the state’s new prison.
And we made commonsense, conservative choices to eliminate personal luxuries, things like the jet and the chef and the junkets and the entourage. And the lieutenant governor and I, we said no to our pay raises.
Really, there is so much success in this first term. And this success, I am proud to take credit for hiring the right people. Our goal was to achieve a gas line project and more fair oil and gas valuation and ethics reform in four years. We did it in two, and it’s because of the people, the good people, good public servants surrounding the governor’s office, with servant’s hearts and astounding work ethic. They are Alaska’s success.
And we are doing well. And I really wish that you would hear more from the media, more from the media of your state’s good progress and how we tackle outside interests, special interests daily we’re tackling, those interests that would stymie our state, even those debt-ridden stimulus dollars that would force the heavy hand of federal government into our communities with an all-knowing attitude.
I’ve taken the slings and arrows with that unpopular move because to veto that it was the right thing to do, because I know being right is better than being popular. And it wasn’t a popular stand to take. But some of those dollars would harm Alaska, and they harm America.
I resisted those dollars because of the obscene national debt that we’re forcing our children to pay because of today’s big- government spending. It is immoral, and it doesn’t even make economic sense.
Another accomplishment, our law department protected state’s rights. Two huge U.S. Supreme Court reversals came down against that liberal Ninth Circuit, deciding in our state’s favor, just over the last two weeks. We’re protectors of our Constitution, and federalists protect state’s rights, as mandated in the Tenth Amendment.
You don’t hear much about the good stuff in the press anymore, though, do you? Some say things changed for me on August 29th last year, the day that John McCain tapped me to be his running mate. And it was an honor to stand beside a true American hero. I say others changed, and let me speak to that for a minute.
Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law that I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months, I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations, such as holding a fish in a photograph or wearing a jacket with a logo on it and answering reporter’s questions. Every one of these, though, all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We have won, but it hasn’t been cheap.
The state has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled out some 2 million of your dollars to respond to opposition research. And that’s money that’s not going to fund teachers or troopers or safer roads.
And this political absurdity, the politics of personal destruction, Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight.
And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime, so they’re not going to stop draining the public resources, spending other people’s money in this game. They won’t stop. It’s pretty insane.
My staff and I spend most of our day, we’re dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now. And I know that I promised no more politics as usual, but this isn’t what anyone had in mind for Alaska.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that life is about choices, and one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down or that build up. And I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and for productivity. I choose not to tear down and waste precious time, but to build up this state and our great country and her industrious and generous and patriotic and free people.
Life is too short to compromise time and resources. And though it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up, but that’s a worthless, easy path. That’s a quitters way out. And I think a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow.
We’re fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow.
No, productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time to build up. And there is such a need to build up and fight for our state and our country. And I choose to fight for it. And I’ll work very hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government and strong national security for our country and support for our troops and energy independence and for those who will protect freedom and equality and life. I’ll work hard for and campaign for those who are proud to be American and who are inspired by our ideals, and they won’t deride them.
I will support others who seek to serve in or out of office. And I don’t care what party they’re in or no party at all, inside Alaska or outside of Alaska. But I won’t do it from the governor’s desk. I’ve never believed that I nor anyone else needs a title to do this, to make a difference, to help people.
So I choose for my state and for my family more freedom to process all the way around so that Alaska may progress. I will not seek reelection as governor.
And so, as I thought about this announcement, that I wouldn’t run for reelection and what that means for Alaska, I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state and travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions. So many politicians do that.
And then I thought, that’s what’s wrong. Many just accept that lame-duck status, and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, they kind of milk it. And I’m not going to put Alaskans through that.
I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. That’s not how I’m wired. I’m not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual. I promised that four years ago, and I meant it. It is not what is best for Alaska at this time.
I’m determined to take the right path for Alaska, even though it is unconventional and it’s not so comfortable. With this announcement that I’m not seeking reelection, I’ve determined it’s best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell. And I am willing to do this so that this administration, with its positive agenda and its accomplishments and its successful road to an incredible future for Alaska, so that it can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.
My choice is to take a stand and effect change, not just hit our head against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars go down the drain in this new political environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities. So we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.
Let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me, and that’s sports — basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don’t see a full-court press from the national level picking away right now.
A good point guard, here’s what she does. She drives through a full-court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket. And she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I’m doing — keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities. Remember, they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom. And I know when it’s time to pass the ball for victory.
And I’ve given my reasons now, very candidly, truthfully. And my last day won’t be for another few weeks, so the transition will be very smooth. In fact, we look forward to swearing-in Sean Parnell up there in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our governor’s picnic at the end of the month.
And I really don’t want to disappoint anyone with this announcement, not with the decision I have made. All I can ask is that you trust me with this decision and know that it is no more politics as usual. And some Alaskans, it seemed today, maybe they don’t mind wasting public dollars and state time, but I do. And I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so that I can hold the title of governor. I don’t know if my children are going to allow it anyway.
Some are going to question the timing of this. And let me just say that this decision has been in the works for a while. In fact, this decision comes after much consideration — prayer and consideration.
And finally, I polled the most important people in my life, my kids, where the count was unanimous. In response to asking, hey, do you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children’s future from outside the governor’s office? It was four yeses and one, “hell, yeah!” And the “hell, yeah!” sealed it. And someday I’ll talk about the details of that.
I think, though, much of it for the kids had to do with recently seeing their baby brother Trig mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently. And by the way, I sure wish folks could ever understand all that we can learn, all of us, from someone like Trig. I know he needs me, but I know that I need him even more. And what a child can offer to set priorities right, know that time is precious. The world needs more Trigs, not fewer.
My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who truly sacrifice themselves in war for our freedom and our security. And we can all learn from our selfless, selfless troops. They’re bold, and they don’t give up, and they take a stand, and they know that life is short so they choose not to waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than self and to build up their families and their states and our great country.
These troops, in their important missions now, there is where truly the worthy causes are in this world. And that’s where our public resources should be, our public priority, with time and resources spent on that, not on this superficial, wasteful, political bloodsport. So may we all learn from them.
Really, we’ve just got to put first things first. And first things first, as governor, I love my job. And I love Alaska. And it hurts to make this choice, but I’m doing what’s best for Alaska. And I have explained why, though I think of the saying on my parent’s refrigerator, a little magnet that says, don’t explain, your friends don’t need it, and your enemies won’t believe you anyway. But I’ve given my reasons. It’s no more politics as usual.
And I’m taking my fight for what’s right for Alaska in a new direction. Now, despite this, I sure don’t want anyone, any Alaskan dissuaded from entering politics after seeing this real climate change that began in August. No, we need hard-working, average Americans fighting for what’s right. And I will support you, because we need you and you can effect change, and I can, too, on the outside.
We need those who will respect our Constitution where government’s supposed to serve from the bottom up and not move towards this top-down, big-government takeover, but rather will be protectors of individual rights, who also have enough commonsense to acknowledge when conditions have drastically changed, and they’re willing to call an audible and pass the ball when it’s time so the team can win. And that’s what I’m doing.
Remember, Alaska, America is now, more than ever, looking north to the future. And it will be good. So God bless you. And from me and from my family to all Alaska, you have my heart. And we’re going to be in really great hands, the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell then will assume the role of lieutenant governor. And it’s my promise to you that I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.
Take the words of General MacArthur. He said, we are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.
So with that, I’m going to hand this over to our good lieutenant governor. And again, I say, thank you, and God bless you, Alaska.