Today, Karl Peterjohn took the oath of office for the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners. The ceremony took place in front of a standing-room only crowd. Following are Karl’s remarks:
I want to begin by thanking my family. I want to thank my wife Marilyn, and my children Christina and Alex. They worked so hard throughout the entire 2008 election campaign to help put me behind this podium today.
In the last week I have started and had to re-start writing my first remarks as a Sedgwick County Commissioner. The news keeps changing that quickly.
In each of the last three days I have heard in public meetings one or more elected officials as well as on one day, a key Kansas legislative staffer, report a series of increasingly grim and distressing information concerning the economic and fiscal problems we face.
Today there were a series of articles in the Wichita Eagle with more articles about our current economic problems. The state of Kansas is facing a major fiscal crisis. The size of this crisis is growing.
Let me remind you that crises are nothing new.
Please remember the Kansas state motto. It is, “Ad astra per Aspera,” that is, “To the stars through difficulties.” We as a nation, as a state, and as a county have always faced challenges and controversies.
Our state was born in a cauldron of problems and disputes that were much worse than anything we face in Sedgwick County today. Our county is named after Major General John Sedgwick who gave his life fighting for our country through the largest problems we have ever faced during the Civil War.
A decade ago the head of the Federal Reserve bank, Alan Greenspan, warned against irrational exuberance in our economy. Today I urge all of us to avoid irrational pessimism.
Remember that the challenge of our state’s motto is unchanged: to the stars through difficulties.
I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and joining with my fellow commissioners, my fellow elected officials inside the courthouse as well as outside, my fellow county employees, and most importantly my fellow citizens in solving the problems facing us in Sedgwick County.
Thank you and God bless America.