Our next President must be able to get us out of Iraq -- I think that it's obvious George Bush is too stubborn to face the reality that our presence in Iraq isn't helping any longer. I've served as our Ambassador to the UN, President Clinton's Special Envoy, and as Secretary of Energy. I know this region well, I've been there, I even met with Saddam Hussein and secured the release of hostages. And I know what has to be done. We need to be frank with the Iraqis that we've done our part and it's time for them to take over responsibility for their own security. We should take the lead in facilitating national reconciliation and bringing in other countries from the region to do their part, and we need to get real about helping rebuild Iraq and creating jobs for the 40 percent who are out of work. Assuming George Bush doesn't do that, and I think that's a safe assumption, I believe with my foreign policy and diplomatic experience and willingness to state a clear, unequivocal policy I'm the best candidate to get it done. And I'm confident I can make that point in the campaign.
Our next President must be able to restore our standing in the world and I believe I'm the best candidate to do that as well. As someone who has successfully negotiated with some of the world's toughest tyrants, I know face-to-face diplomacy can work. To become a respected international leader again, we need a national security policy that is tough and smart, a military second to none, a firm commitment to building diplomatic alliances, we need to defeat terrorism, and that's our number one national security challenge, we need to promote freedom, alleviate poverty, and stop global warming. The current administration has done none of those things and that means the next president must be able to get started in the first hundred days, again with a clear agenda and proven ability to get the job done.
Our next President must be able to bring a country together that is divided and partisan. That's the way I've operated as Governor and that's what I'll do as President. Frankly, I think Washington is broken and it's going to take a return to bipartisanship and simple respect for each other's views to get it fixed. All the public policy solutions these days are coming from Governors and state government -- on the environment, jobs and the economy, health care -- it's coming from the states. And that's because we can't be partisan or we won't get our jobs done. That's a lesson I've learned as Governor and that's what I would do as President. I just got re-elected with 69 percent of the vote-in a red state- and I got 40 percent of the Republican vote. I can bring people together to solve problems.
Our next President must be able to start reversing Global Warming and making real progress on energy independence and that means making a real commitment to renewable sources of energy. That's what I've done in New Mexico where we're requiring that 10 percent of all energy come from renewable sources and we're moving toward 20 percent, we've provided incentives for solar, wind, biofuels and other renewables, and again that's what I'll do as President. As Energy Secretary I implemented tough efficiency standards that have saved consumers billions in energy costs. Everybody talks the talk on these issues -- I've done it.
Our next President must be able to make our economy work for the middle class and start creating good paying jobs again. In New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the nation, we've created 84,000 new jobs, many of them high tech jobs in industries like renewable energy, aerospace, and communications. We've done that with innovative approaches like a tax credit for companies who create good paying jobs, tax incentives for start up high tech businesses, and targeting job creation in rural areas. We've done it by making a real investment in public education, paying our teachers more but tying those increases to tough standards, and by using our resources more wisely, with less money for school administration and more in the classroom. And we did it with tax cuts, the right tax cuts, and with a balanced budget. Getting back to a balanced budget is a big part of sustained economic growth, too, the kind of growth that creates good jobs and actually reduces poverty. And that's what I'll do as President. We need to work with business, that's where the jobs are created after all, instead of engaging in ideological warfare, and we need the right kind of tax incentives, not just tax cuts for the wealthy and income transfers from the middle class to big corporations.
We must work to provide health insurance and access to quality, affordable health care, for all Americans and frankly we'd save a lot of money by doing it. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year paying the costs of health care for the uninsured. In New Mexico, a poor state, we have faced huge health care challenges. However, we've extended health insurance to tens of thousands of New Mexicans -- kids, working families, and small businesses -- and we're working on a plan to cover every person. The bottom line is that people must have good coverage that works.
As the California-born son of an American father and a Mexican mother, and as the Governor of a border state, I understand better than most the effects of immigration on our country -- legal and illegal. I declared a state of emergency on New Mexico's border to crack down on illegal activity and protect our citizens. I also believe we must pass comprehensive immigration reform to help secure our borders, protect our workers and our economy, and to be true to the ideals that have made this country great -- a country of immigrants.