JEFFERSON CITY – New Gov. Jay Nixon, beginning his tenure on a chilly morning amid a gloomy economic climate, called for a “new day for Missouri” in his inaugural speech today.
“Here we are, together, in the heart of winter,” Nixon said, according to a copy of his prepared marks. “United by the common uncertainty of our future – not knowing what tomorrow will bring.”
Nixon vowed to break Missouri from its fiscal doldrums by making the state a magnet for “next generation” jobs producing energy-efficient cars and homes.
“Just as our forebears inspired a nation by settling a new land west of the Mississippi in the first days of the 19th Century, so today Missourians must lead our nation by seizing the new opportunities of the 21st century,” Nixon said. “This new economy requires a new day for Missouri.”
Nixon, a Democrat who faces Republican-control in both houses of the Legislature, made a pitch for unity to advance issues such as health care and helping small businesses.
“For too many years, politics and partisanship have stood in the way of progress,” Nixon said. “And the people of Missouri are tired of it.”
Nixon said “tough times call for a renewed sense of purpose,” and encouraged Missourians to get more active in schools, youth sports and religious organizations.
“We will only turn our state around if we all do our part,” Nixon said.
Using Show-Me icons Daniel Boone and George Washington Carver as an example, Nixon said the state could break out of recession by embracing its frontier work ethic.
“Here in Missouri, we go to work early and stay late,” Nixon said.
Nixon was sworn-in near the Capitol steps by Chief Supreme Court Justice Laura Denvir Stith, who also presided over the oaths of office for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, beginning her second term, and new State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.
New Attorney General Chris Koster and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the only member of the GOP to win statewide office in November, were also sworn-in.
Perhaps because of the frigid temperature, attendance for the pre-inaugural parade and ceremony seemed light.
After the swearing-in, Nixon will host a public “pot luck” dinner and, in the evening, the inaugural ball.
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch