AS a youth, Scott Walker loved reading about history. To him, the founders of the United States seemed almost bigger than life, like superheroes.

When he finally got a chance to visit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as an adult, he went out early one morning with the National Park Service to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

As he looked at the chairs and desks silhouetted by the early-morning light, it seemed that they were not that much different than what we use right now.

“And it dawned on me: These were ordinary people who did something extraordinary,” he said. “A moment like that reminded me that what makes America exceptional and the greatest country in the history of the world. In times of crisis, be it economic, military, or spiritual, what has made America amazing is men and women of courage who were willing to stand up and think more of the future of their children and grandchildren than they thought about their own futures.

“We are at a time in our country’s history when we need to stand up and make a difference so we can tell future generations that we were there, heeded the call, and did what was necessary to make America great again.”

In his keynote presentation during National Tank Truck Carriers’ 2015 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Walker—the Wisconsin governor who was expected to announce his Presidential campaign by July—said the future of America depends on these three things:

Growth.

“There are a lot of folks down in Washington DC who talk about budgets. Some want to spend more money and some want to cut more, but there’s not a lot of talk about growth. Sometimes I think when I hear some of our leaders, they think that growth happens in Washington. That’s not just a theory. Last year alone, six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in America were in or around Washington DC. I call Washington ‘68 square miles surrounded by reality.’ They think you grow the economy by growing Washington DC.

“I think most of us believe that you grow the economy in the cities and towns and villages all across this great country, that people create jobs, not the government. It’s about time we got the government out of the way so people can create jobs and more opportunity. There are a number of ways to do that: One I’m trying to do in our state is lower the taxes. If we put (money) back in your business, your household, your family, you’re better off spending your money than the government is.

“It’s not just about taxes. It’s about regulations as well. We (Wisconsin) said we have to change the weigh station issue so that we don’t have a higher burden than the federal government. So we adjusted it.”

Reform.

“There are some in our nation’s capital who somehow measure success in government, but how many people are dependent on the government? How many are on food stamps and unemployment? I think we should measure success by how many are no longer dependent on the government. We understand that true freedom and prosperity do not come from the mighty hand of the government. They come from the power of the people to live their own lives and control their own destinies through dignity born of work.

“We’re all for helping people who are down and out. But it shouldn’t be a permanent way of life. There’s a reason why we take a day off in America to celebrate the Fourth of July and not the 15th of April. Because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government, not our dependence on it.”

Safety.

“Some people call it national security. I call it safety. The reason I call it safety is because when I see a video of a Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage and a Christian beheaded, that’s something you start to feel in your heart and soul. It’s not something you read about. It’s safety not just for people overseas. We’ve seen horrific things happen of late in France and Belgium and up the way in Canada. It makes me start to think … if we don’t do something about this, it’s going to affect our safety as well. We have a president who drew a line in the sand and allowed people to cross it. Now more than ever, Americans want a commander-in-chief who will stand up and boldly state that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to us all and we need people in this country who are willing to do something about it.

“On behalf of your children and mine, I’d rather take the fight to them instead of waiting for them to take the fight to us. We need to stop radical Islamic terrorism and anything else related to that over there before it comes over here.

“Sometimes those challenges seem overwhelming, but I’m an optimist. I’ve seen that when we put common-sense, reform-minded leaders in place, what a difference it can make.”   ♦

<View more 2015 NTTC Annual Conference coverage

View more 2015 NTTC Annual Conference coverage>

Find the NTTC Annual Conference Report archive with articles from 2011 to present