Thank you, Governor Schwarzenegger


AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Martha gave this informal talk at a private gathering attended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, sponsored by State Senator (and REP member) Tom Harman in Sacramento, California, on June 27, 2006.


I’m grateful to you, Tom, for that introduction and for the many things you’ve done to promote our Republicans for Environmental Protection movement here in California. You’ve become one of REP’s best advocates. Your enthusiastic identification with this organization—REP—is a source of pride and inspiration to me and many others.

You and Dianne have given your names and financial support to REP. You two have become regular fixtures at California REP chapter events.

You’ve told your friends and constituents about REP, which has helped us grow larger and stronger. Word-of-mouth advocacy from anyone is valuable. But the validation that comes from having a respected state senator telling others about REP is truly priceless.

In addition, you’ve gone to great lengths to help REP establish a reputation and presence within the California Republican Party. This is the second barbecue that you’ve hosted so state legislators could learn more about REP.

And this year, you’ve truly outdone yourself. You’ve made sure that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger not only knows that Republicans for Environmental Protection exists, but you’ve enticed him to attend one of our events. Having America’s most popular and well-known governor—the famous Governator himself—here with us today is a source of great pride and encouragement. We hope it will lead to a role in REP for Mr. Schwarzenegger and a role for REP in the California GOP.

On top of that, Tom, you’ve agreed to attend and speak at our Republican Environmental Leadership Conference this fall in San Antonio, Texas. We expect another state senator to be presenting there as well. Senator John Courson of South Carolina chairs Governor Mark Sanford’s Commission on Global Warming. Like you, Senator Courson is a long-time REP member.

At our conference, we’ll have presentations by state representatives, county commissioners, and other leading Republicans from across the nation, including a famous GOP pollster, a nationally recognized conservative pastor, and a prize-winning journalist. All of you together will make this first Republican Environmental Leadership Conference a winner.

We believe that within a few years, REP’s Republican Environmental Leadership Conference will be as much a “must-attend” event as the GOP national convention. That’s how important climate change, energy security, and other key conservation and environmental issues are going to become within a decade.

Tom, you asked me to say a few words this evening to get everybody fired up about REP. But frankly, all I feel inspired to say right now is: Wow!


WOW!!! at seeing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger right here before me at a California REP event.

WOW!!! at seeing in person a face that has grinned and glowered out at me from so many movie and TV screens over the years.

WOW!!! at having the opportunity to meet and say Thank You! to a Republican governor who is showing America how our states can take the lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and fighting global warming.

And finally…

WOW!!! at having the opportunity to tell him in person that he is a Genuine Action Hero to the members of Republicans for Environmental Protection and also to a great percentage of the American people at large.

You see… from REP’s beginning a decade ago, we have been looking for a dynamic, conservation-minded GOP leader on par with the great Theodore Roosevelt, a courageous person who could help us restore our party’s historic conservation tradition. Little did we know back then that the action figure we were watching defend our planet from alien predators would become such a true hero to the planet—and perhaps the salvation of our Republican Party as well.

And so I’d like to say this to Governor Schwarzenegger:

Governor, thank you for your leadership on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, improving fuel efficiency, and encouraging the development of clean, renewable energy resources. You are one of the brightest lights that we Republicans for Environmental Protection see anywhere in our party and in our country.

We admire your plucky, up-by-the-bootstraps life story. We adore your charming Austrian accent.

But truly… we do wish you had been born in this country, because based on your fine environmental leadership as Governor of California, we could get excited about endorsing you for President of the United States. And we would work our organizational heart out to help you win that position.

But since that isn’t possible under current law, right here and now, I’d like to do the next best thing:

I’m going to invite you, Governor Schwarzenegger, to become a member of the Honorary Board of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

You don’t have to give me an answer right now! Just let me assure you that there are no heavy-lifting requirements for membership in that august body. There are no meetings, duties, tasks or obligations of any sort. REP’s Honorary Board includes current and former congressmen, senators, governors, EPA administrators, and individuals like Theodore Roosevelt IV… some of the finest Republican conservationists in the country. They all have agreed to give their names to our Honorary Board simply as a way to show their support for REP’s efforts to improve the Republican Party from within.

I’m also going to be bold this evening and personally invite you to give the dinner keynote address at our Republican Environmental Leadership Conference in San Antonio. We offer you a tremendous audience of elected officials, Republican voters, and the media… the perfect forum for a groundbreaking speech on the environmental and conservation issues you care most about.

I have already written you a “proper” invitation letter about that, and I know you have to consult your scheduling staff before you say yes. I do hope you’ll ask them to work with me to make it happen.

And needless to say, REP stands ready to do anything we can to help you promote your pro-conservation agenda.

Before I turn this back to Tom, I’d like to introduce the other REP leaders who are here today. All live in California:

National Vice President Bill McLaughlin

Holly Burke, who is representing her husband, Chapter President Buddy Burke. Buddy is an airline pilot who is in Florida this month, undergoing a mandatory training program.

Patricia Callan-McKinney, a member of the California Chapter Executive Committee

Mike Savino, another member of the California Chapter Executive Committee

Believe me, there would be many more REP members here if we had not been told to limit the attendance to five!

I’d like to quote something that Mike Savino said to me on the phone just last night. He didn’t know if he’d get to speak personally to you today, but there was something he wanted to tell you if he had that chance.

When he told me, I said:

“That’s too good to waste. Let me close my talk with your comment… with full credit to you.”

So, Governor, what Mike wanted to tell you was this:

“If Republicans for Environmental Protection didn’t already exist, Governor Schwarzenegger would have to invent it.”

I’m happy to pass Mike’s message on to you and add this extra comment of my own:

Governor, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel!

REP is here, a solid, growing presence in California and across the country. We want to work with you to improve our party, make conservation and environmental protection bipartisan efforts once again, and thereby benefit all the American people. I trust you’ll want to work with us as well, and I look forward to a successful, mutually beneficial relationship between you and Republicans for Environmental Protection.