ABBOTT AND PATRICK TAKE OFFICE
|Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick greet each other at Tuesday's Inaugural Ceremony.|
(AUSTIN) — In a ceremony before thousands on the Capitol grounds, Texas welcomed new leadership for the first time in more than a decade. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott were both sworn in and both men promised to preserve the things they believe made Texas successful over the last 12 years while meeting new challenges. "There is no place like Texas," said Abbott. "We will ensure that remains just as true for the next generation as it does for those here today."
Patrick delivered his inaugural address first, saying he would deliver on what he promised in the campaign. "In my campaign I pledged to secure the border, to lower property and business taxes, prioritize, reform and improve public education, build our infrastructure and protect life, family, and the Second Amendment," he said. "That's what I pledged to do as a candidate and that's what I will do as Lt. Governor. My goal is to be the best Lt. Governor in the history of the state." In his speech he highlighted three of those issues; school choice, tax relief and border security.
First, Patrick advocated a position he promoted as chair of the Education Committee; school choice. Though there are many who will oppose it, said Patrick, he believes that school choice legislation can be passed and made law in Texas. Next, he promised to lower property taxes this session. "It's time homeowners and business owners had tax relief," said Patrick. He added that it's time to end diversions of gas tax revenues from the transportation fund.
Finally he promised to secure the border. The Senate budget, he said, will fund border security at the highest level in history. Drug traffickers, gang members and terrorists threaten Texas from the international border, Patrick said, and it is up to the state of Texas to keep its citizens safe. "National security starts with border security, and in Texas we are going to be strong in securing our border."
Governor Greg Abbott took his oath of office next, and in his inaugural address, praised Texas as a place where every person has the opportunity to succeed. "I am living proof that we live in a state where a young man's life can literally be broken in half and yet he can still rise up and be governor of this great state," he said. "As governor I will ensure Texas remains the state that provides that brand of opportunity for every Texan."
Abbott also promised to focus on education, border security and the economy. He promised to strive to keep Texas the top state in the nation for job growth, and to work with both parties to achieve education reform. He promised to protect the state from federal encroachment. "For too long Washington has tried to remake America in its image. In Texas, we offer a different approach: We don't put our trust in government; we put our trust in the people, and I will make sure we keep it that way," he said.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, January 21 at 11 a.m.