Governor Nixon has been sworn in for his second term leading Missouri. His message at the inauguration ceremonies today at the Capitol focused on forming a unified front to move the state forward. He talked about when he first served in Jefferson City, newly elected to the State Senate at age 30.
He says then too, the state was split. The House and Senate were Democrat controlled, the Governor was Republican John Ashcroft. The House Speaker was Cameron Democrat Bob Griffin, known for his 13-year stint has arguably the most powerful speaker in the state’s history. Many say Griffin was more powerful than the Governor himself.
To put into perspective how much things have changed, Nixon first ran for statewide office in 1988 in an unsuccessful effort to oust U.S. Senator John Danforth. He was defeated after getting 32 percent of the vote — at the time, the most lopsided defeat of a Democrat in a statewide race in Missouri history.
But, Nixon said today, they all still knew that at their core, they were all Missourians. And, he says, progress happened. Nixon says that same kind of bi-partisan can-do attitude can still move the state in a positive direction today.
He hearkened back to 150 years ago, when our state was half blue, half grey. He says those soldiers, the sons of cobblers, slaves and farmers fourth from the Bootheel to the Iowa border.
“They rose with valor and fell with honor.”
He says those who say our state has never been more divided need only to look back then when we had two state governments, two state capitols, two governors, two state flags, and realize that a unified front is not untenable.
Today’s events culminate in a grand ball this evening, when Nixon, First Lady Georgeann Nixon, other office holders and the general public will dress to the nines to celebrate the day’s events.
We’ll hear more about Nixon’s legislative priorities in the State of the State Address later this month.
AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:24)
AUDIO: Listen to Nixon’s entire speech (21:14)