Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry Is Sworn in as Texas Governor
AUSTIN - Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry was sworn in as Texas' 47th Governor today, December 21, 2000, after the resignation of President-elect George W. Bush. Perry, a former rancher from Paint Creek, has served Texas for six years as a member of the House of Representatives, eight years as commissioner of agriculture and two years as lieutenant governor. He has been married for 18 years to Anita Thigpen, a health care professional. The couple has two children: Griffin (17) and Sydney (14).
In his speech to a packed Senate Chamber, Perry outlined his plans and promised to build on the accomplishments of the Bush administration. He said education "is our highest calling as a state and will continue to be our most important mission". He also referred to the acute problem of traffic congestion in Texas cities,and said "we should not limit ourselves to building more roads to get traffic moving," proposing high speed rail to link cities, and more modern ports of entry to decrease the waiting time at international bridges.
The new governor emphasized the importance of the Border region and the needed improvements he says it deserves, saying the region is not Texas' backyard "but the front door to our state and nation . . . its progress, its prosperity will benefit the whole of Texas".
George W. Bush, the President-elect of the United States, attended the Oath of Office ceremony with his wife Laura. Perry said that Bush has been "an inspiring leader and trusted friend, one whose shadow will loom large over the Capitol".
The Lieutenant Governor's office will remain vacant starting today. President Pro-Tempore Rodney G. Ellis is serving as lieutenant governor and president of the Senate. Next week, Texas senators will meet to cast secret ballots to elect one of their own. That senator who will succeed Perry as president of the Senate; the senator will continue to serve his Senate District constituents as well. This will be the first time in the states history this legislative chamber will elect a successor from its ranks.