"(We) governors have one of the greatest powers there is in an democracy, and that is the power of example," Palin said in an address to the Republican Governors Association conference in Miami. "And we ... must use that power to create the growth and the opportunities and the jobs that come from lower taxes and more efficient bureaucracy for everyone."
Governors are "held accountable every day" in matters of state finance, affordable healthcare and energy independence, she said. "The buck stops on our desk."
Now that the elections are over and Republicans are in the minority, the GOP must "resolve not to be the negative party," the party's vice presidential candidate said.
Americans will look to their state leaders "for reaction, for stepped-up leadership, and for our abilities to unite and to progress," Palin, 44, said.
While campaigning for president with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Palin said she was touched by the number of people who prayed for the ticket. She said she was grateful to have met supporters, adding "I came close to crying a few times" when talking to parents of special-needs children. Palin has a child with Down syndrome.
Governors shouldn't look ahead to the 2012 presidential election, Palin cautioned.
"Our concern should be about our state's next great reform, our next budget, our next opportunity to progress in the states that we serve," she said.