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Updated: Friday, 11 Jan 2013, 6:11 PM EST
Published : Friday, 11 Jan 2013, 6:11 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - After two terms as Lieutenant Governor, Becky Skillman is bidding farewell.
Friday, she released the following letter:
For the past 2,920 days I've had the pleasure of serving as your lieutenant governor, and I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
In 2004 my life and perspective on Indiana changed forever. I was running for my fourth term to the state senate when a fellow named Mitch Daniels asked me to be his running mate. After a successful campaign, we assumed office in 2005. From day one until today, our final day in office, we vowed to serve Hoosiers with 100 percent effort.
We made it a priority not only to govern from Indianapolis but from every city, town and crossroads in our state. Over the past eight years, I have made more than 1,000 visits in all 92 counties. During these events, I met thousands of Hoosiers from all walks of life, and each one holds a special place in my heart.
I've been with Hoosiers on some of their best days and on some of their saddest days.
Welcoming new jobs and investment to communities is a highlight. Leading the 92 county tractor parade driving a 1954 International from the downtown circle in Indianapolis to the state fairgrounds to kick off the 150th State Fair was one of my favorite moments. Driving the James Dean Porsche Spyder in Fairmount and shooting hoops at the Knightstown Gym where the movie Hoosiers was filmed were memorable times as well.
In 2011, I kicked off the Stellar Community competition and named Greencastle and North Vernon as winners during marvelous community celebrations. Delphi and Princeton followed suit in 2012, earning significant funding for their long-term economic goals as well. I've toured main streets and downtown squares in places like North Liberty and Winchester. I witnessed Neighborhood Stabilization Projects in cities like Brazil and South Bend change people's lives, while cleaning up a blighted section of town. Hoosiers from our biggest cities to our smallest towns work hard and take so much pride in their community. It's part of what makes Indiana so special.
There have been some heart-wrenching days as well. I've been on the ground after several natural disasters, including the Evansville and Newburgh tornado of 2005, the floods of 2008 and the southeastern Indiana area tornadoes of 2012. I spent time with farmers during the devastating drought last summer. And yet, I saw the very fabric that makes Hoosiers the strongest people in the country. Often, those most adversely affected would point to others and ask us to go help their neighbors. It is selfless acts like these that make me proud to be a Hoosier.
I've witnessed firsthand that Indiana is, indeed, a state of patriots. An extraordinary number of Hoosiers serve in the military. We are not the most populated state, but Hoosiers rank 4th in terms of volunteering to serve. These men and women serve our state with honor and distinction. I've spoken at departure for combat ceremonies and also held the hands of mothers, fathers, and little brothers and sisters who have lost their loved ones in the ultimate sacrifice. I have witnessed pride through their tears. I am proud of Hoosiers and the sacrifices they make.
I'm proud of implementing the first ever State Department of Agriculture and the separate Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Agriculture is an economic engine for our state and one of the best tools for local economic development. I traveled around the globe leading trade missions to 11 countries to bring home more opportunities to Hoosiers.
I will always be proud of the accomplishments of our administration, including maintaining our fiscal and economic strength during the toughest of economic times. However, my fondest memories are of our people. I cherish every mile I've spent on the road and every hug I've given and received.
I am eternally grateful for Hoosier hospitality, and I am forever indebted to you for my experience.