ICE STORM DOESN'T STOP INAUGURATION CEREMONY
AUSTIN -- Despite a severe storm that coated the Capitol City in a layer of ice, the Inauguration of Governor Rick Perry proceeded as planned. Conditions did cause the cancellation of the inaugural parade, and forced the ceremony to move indoors to the House Chamber. Both Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst pledged in their inaugural addresses to put partisan differences aside and work for the interests of the people of Texas.
In his speech, Lt. Governor Dewhurst remembered the accomplishments of his first four year term, but unveiled a new plan to increase safety and education for Texas children. Dewhurst said he was particularly proud of the Legislature's conservative fiscal policies that allowed the state to transform a seven billion dollar budget shortfall into a surplus in a few years. He also noted strides in educational quality, economic growth, and the restructuring of the state's school finance system. "We accomplished all this, and more," said Dewhurst, "because we worked together as a bipartisan action team for Texas."
Dewhurst also introduced his "Texas Children First" platform, which seeks to improve the quality of life for the youngest Texans. Dewhurst pledged to increase the penalties for sex offenses against children, and proposed a 25-year minimum prison term for first time offenders, and the option to use the death penalty for second-time offenders. He also said he will introduce a package to increase educational quality in all Texas schools to make "a Texas diploma a passport to children's dreams."
In his inaugural address, Perry promised to face the problems of illegal immigration and border security in his next term. He said the solution to Texas' porous border with Mexico is not an unmanned fence, but increased manpower and technology deployed along the border. He also proposed a guest worker program, but said that we should not grant amnesty to those illegal immigrants already in Texas.
Perry said that immigrants to Texas, not just from Mexico but from other places as well, contribute to what may be the most diverse state in the nation. He said Texans should embrace our differences, and look past what divides us to what we have in common, and work together to ensure a better future for everyone. "We are of many faiths, traditions, heritages, but we're all Texans, and in Texas, its not your identity that matters most, it's your ideals," said Perry. "There are no black, white, Asian or Hispanic dreams, you take away what's on the outside, and you see a common thread on the inside: the human desire to live a life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment."
Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.