Happy New Year!

Welcome to a New Beginning.

Indeed, the year 2008 was historic in many aspects.

Briefly, 2008 was the year of Salvation and Celebration.

Salvation of financial and manufacturing sectors to rescue our nation from the brink of collapse besides enabling world markets to perform the balancing act until concrete economic policies implemented at home.

Celebration in rejoicing the election of the first African American candidate Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States by proving that challenges are overcome through unity, determination and optimism.

We have great many tasks ahead of us. It requires all of us to get started from day one in sharing the responsibilities of this incredible trash clearance.

It is comparable to a wild party by drunken, rambunctious, overgrown teenagers leaving a big mess behind for sober, sensible and mature adults to clean after them.

The ancient civilizations have great many proverbs and adages and one of them is,

"Yesterday’s the past and

Tomorrow’s the future

Today is a gift – which is why they call it the present "

Those who possess the blessing of the gift must act on it and not waste precious present by dwelling in the past or guessing the future .

However, one must learn from the past mistakes to avoid them now and in the future.

There is abundance energy, resolve and enthusiasm available among all of us for rebuilding the nation.

Collective involvement yields rapid progress.

Although, we have elected a new President to resolve too many crises, each and every one of us are obligated to ourselves and our children in showing that we care by demonstrating fiscal responsibility, energy conservation, environmental protection and,

Most importantly accepting one another as humans prior to any other identification for a better future.

The present situation has left us with no choice other than consider ways to;

Exercise frugality over wasteful spending

Living within rather than beyond means.

Invest resources wisely to safeguard present and future existence.

Establish peace over war .

At the minimal, engage in empathy and sympathy for those less fortunate at home and abroad.

Our actions and decisions largely contribute the outcome of any matter.

The events over the past eight years will serve as testimony in political history that performance lacking in moral judgment is a recipe for disaster.

It is also a rude awakening for democratic and free market systems that absence of oversight and accountability leads to regrettable consequences.

Henceforth, the new beginning must entail the protocol that Washington and Wall Street are accountable for budget plans, legislative measures, taxpayer bailouts and,

Ensure no preferential treatment to those abusing power during scrutiny of misdeeds and mismanagement.

Similar bindings are necessary on State legislators including Governors as well.

In fact, Congress representing the people and the judicial system must act against all those responsible for the current mayhem i.e. bankrupt economy and unjustified Iraq war to preserve law and order.

Our commitment to the present and future must involve effective leadership at all levels with the emphasis on result oriented planning and policy-making to address every crisis confronting the nation.

Above all, partisanship obstructing the legislation of every bill and policy is a major obstacle.

It is best to put conventional Washington and State politics to rest and recognize the importance of bipartisanship for solutions to every problem in national interest.

Overall, the journey is arduous but hope and promise combined with patience, perseverance and labor makes destination accessible.

Wishing you all a bright, prosperous and peaceful 2009.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant