My Favorite Republican

November 16, 2007

You couldn’t pay me enough to live in California. Between the fires, mudslides, earthquakes and ridiculously over-priced cost of living, I think calling the Golden State home would be more hassle than it’s worth. Sure they have the Sequoia National Forest, the Mythbusters and even Disneyland, but you gotta figure that a place that shelters the likes of Britney Spears and lures the Dodgers from Brooklyn can’t all be peaches and cream. Then again, I’m quite jealous of California’s Hollywood actor turned politician for the ages, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Besides the eternal coolness of having The Terminator as your governor, Schwarzenegger has proven he is an effective leader. Arnold has taken small, yet measured steps to turn California 180 degrees and set the tone on a number of issues. His initiatives have helped spearhead a new green economy, worked hard to bring California back from the brink of bankruptcy, provided affordable healthcare for adults and children alike and improved the state’s aging infrastructure. The part I like best about Schwarzenegger however is that he’s not afraid to do what’s best for his state, even though it may not be what his party expects.

CNN recently named him number 8 on a list of 50 people who matter most in business, and it’s easy to see why. Arnold has embraced green initiatives and found that doing what’s best for the environment and our children’s future, doesn’t necessarily mean destroying our economy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Schwarzenegger recently launched the “Million Solar Roofs” initiative which provides tax breaks and rebates for the installation of 100,000 solar roofs per year in CA, every year for 10 consecutive years. The program will ultimately reduce energy costs for Californians while providing high-tech industry solutions to the masses. While the rest of the nation sits and debates about the merits of alternative energy, in typical action hero style, Arnold jumps in and gets the job done.

His background in body building and fitness has given him a strong commitment to universal health care that may very well become the future model for the country. While some problems persist, Arnold’s initiatives never-the-less have people re-thinking a system that fattens the insurance industry by denying patients coverage. His efforts with the Special Olympics and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports have made him a favorite of educators and health officials everywhere. In short, he is everything I’d like to see in my governor, and probably more.

When all is said and done, Arnold has proved he’s an agile politician. Although his core values sometimes gets him in trouble with his deeply blue state, he also recognizes that compromise wins the day. He is able to effectively separate politics from policy and do what’s best for the residents of CA. Local and federal leaders could learn a thing or two from this humble Austrian import. Despite the skiing accidents and bad one-liners, Arnold Schwarzenegger has helped make California a national policy leader instead of a follower. I wish the same could be said of North Carolina.

How bad can earthquakes be anyway?

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