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Local News / Politics

Tuesday, 4 January, 2011 2:41 AM

Gov. Snyder asks everyone to come together during inauguration speech

Spectators hopeful he will turn the state around and stay true to his campaign promises


Rick Snyder accepts the oath of office from Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court Marilyn Kelly.

by Jason Rzucidlo



LANSING, Mich. -- The "One Tough Nerd" was inaugurated as Michigan's 48th governor on Saturday morning. Rick Snyder, 52, accepted the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol building in downtown Lansing. It was 11 months after he announced his intention to run for the state's top job. Snyder placed his left hand on his family's bible as Marilyn Kelly, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, administered the oath. The weather was sunny and cold with temperatures starting in the 40s and finishing in the mid-20s as the ceremony wrapped up.

"As building blocks, we have world-class assets to build upon," he said. "Our natural resources, our universities, our manufacturing and industrial base and most importantly, our people. We can enter this new year with a clean slate. Our legacy will be found in the future. The underlying key to success though is to change our culture. We need to move from negative to positive. We need to stop being decisive and become inclusive."

The new governor delivered a 13-minute speech during the ceremony. His three kids--Jeff, Melissa and Kelsey sang the Pledge of Allegiance. Former Governors Jennifer Granholm and John Engler along with their significant others were in attendance. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing served as the master of ceremonies. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell offered the invocation and closing prayer.

"We have spent too much time fighting among ourselves and become our own worst enemy," the Ann Arbor native explained. "This will not be simple or easy. There are no magic solutions to our problems. But with most problems, there also comes opportunity. I've been hired to represent all of the people of the state of Michigan and to move us all forward together. It will require shared sacrifice from all of us. Many have already made sacrifices. Many of us need to join those who have already contributed."

Snyder highlighted some of Michigan's troubles, but managed to keep a positive tone. He said the state will lose five Congressional seats in 2012. In addition, Snyder explained that Michigan is ranked in the lower third in terms of per capita income. He said Michigan had a thriving automotive industry in the 1900's while the future of the state lies with entrepreneurs. Snyder announced that former House Speaker Andy Dillion (D) will serve as his Treasurer.

"Unfortunately, the last part of the industrial area has been a decline in our state," he added. "It has gone on for several decades. We've been shrinking relative to the rest of the country. We're not here today to talk about the past. We're here today to move into a bright future. The old ways don't work. It is time to start a new era in our state's history. We are faced with the realization that many of us will have to take a short step back in the short term to move us all forward together in the long term."

One of the first problems that the new governor will have to solve is the state's $1.8-billion general fund budget deficit. Snyder announced that he will take a lower salary than Granholm did, but has not said the amount yet. In addition, he said he will not move in the Governor's Mansion right away. Snyder will continue to live in Ann Arbor and commute to work so one of his kids can finish high school.

"As part of the solution, we need to include everyone," the new Michigan governor said. "Our solution has to address the issue of keeping our young people in this state. We must create jobs and better opportunities for the underemployed and the structurally unemployed. The reinvention of Michigan must not leave anyone behind. Ten million people working together is the key. I am inspired by the fact that Mayor Bing and Mayor Heartwell have joined us today."

Lt. Governor Brian Calley, 33, was also sworn in during the ceremony. The Portland, Mich. native spoke after the 19 cannon salute.

"You're here on the first day of a new decade and with it comes renewed opportunity to change the course of our state," he said. "In the past, it's been too easy to place our faith in government. That was a mistake. We have the people, the innovators, the entrepreneurs to bring about a new era in Michigan. All of us have a vested interest in seeing our people succeed. Our past successes they came from the minds of Michiganders who had big ideas and changed the world. Waiting for outside forces to cease or to save us is a failed strategy."

Ruth Johnson won the general election with 51 percent of the vote and was sworn in as the third straight woman in the Michigan Secretary of State office.

"I look forward to working with all of you to do what needs to be done to assist our governor with reinventing this great state of Michigan," she said. "Are there obstacles? Yes. But it can be done. We're built of strong stuff here in Michigan. Our ancestors didn't come here to lay in the sun. They came here to work to build a brighter future for their families, to give their kids what they didn't have. We have the leadership to do what needs to be done--to cut costs, to hold government accountable to the people it serves. I'm committed to streamlining operations, improving customer service and safeguarding election integrity."

Bill Schuette won the general election with 53 percent of the vote and was inaugurated as the second straight Republican in the Michigan Attorney General office.

"It's a fresh start for Michigan and a new beginning," he said. "The first obligation of government is public safety. As Michigan's new attorney general, I will be guided by that Constitutional commitment. I will put the people's security and protection, your public safety, first. The election is over. A new team has been hired. Now it is time to deliver. People want a safer Michigan with less government, less taxes, less taxes, more paychecks and more freedom. I am honored to serve."

Attendees were pleased with the ceremony and were optimistic that Snyder will turn Michigan around

"This was my first opportunity to attend a gubernatorial ceremony," said Pete Butchok of Okemos, Mich. "I thought it was actually quite inspiring to see an orderly transfer of power and stating what a great system we have. On a sunny day like today, political parties can set aside their differences and create a new Michigan."

He added: "I would tell him to stay true to his objectives that he stated here today. I think he stated four objectives and I would like to see him do good for the people of Michigan. He's got to put together his cabinet and his advisors. He needs time to get established. If people are unable to obtain justice, I think our American system starts to come apart. Also, for the Secretary of State, to ensure fair elections, I think, is absolutely fundamental."

"The weather turned out wonderful, it's a great day for Michigan," said Stephanie Kolodzlejski from Rose City, Mich. "I think Rick Snyder and his team are going to make some changes in the state. We all could use the help. I think he should get right on task and worry about jobs. We need to employ some people so we can generate some money and get people back to work in Michigan. Hopefully, he's going to get a nice, sharp pencil and get that budget in balance so we can be a profitable state again and contribute."

She added: "It seems to me they've got a good team together. Everybody seems to be on the same page and that's what's most important, working together."

"It was a wonderful and beautiful ceremony," said R. Jesus McNair of Detroit. "I think he's going to do a pretty good job. By him picking Mayor Dave Bing and Detroit, Michigan to be the emcee for the ceremony, I think that's a positive note."

He added: "I hope that he gives the state of Michigan on a positive note again. I hope that Michigan has a brighter future and I wish him well and success."

"I thought that Rick made it very positive and I think that it's a great thing to do this and start the new year off," said Matthew Smith from Davison, Mich. "I think he needs to make Michigan a positive place and I think that's his first goal. I think he's going to change it by making it positive and making it better."

He added: "It's been a positive day and a great way to start the new year. I think he'll do a great job in office."

"I think it went over very nicely," said Richard Mulder of Brighton, Mich. "Everybody did very good speeches. I think they did point out some of Michigan's needs. I am pretty much a Republican. Maybe perhaps taking care of that $1.6 billion deficit that we can't seem to meet. I think he's more focused into business and the business needs in this state."

He added: "I think our secretary of state certainly has a lot of ambition and spirit. She certainly gave a very good speech. I'm thankful for all that can fight for our democracy in another country."

"I think that Rick Snyder is going to be great for the state," said Jon Weideman from Ypsilanti, Mich. "I think that he can do a lot of good for us. I am a Conservative Libertarian, but I voted for Rick Snyder this time. I think jobs, hands down, and cutting corporate taxes because that's the engine of the economy. Because he has the background of a businessman, I think he knows how to run any organization efficiently."

He added: "We're not going to have one of those five-year plans as we've had in the previous few administrations. I think with her [Johnson] energy and with her charisma she can get a lot done. She'll be an effective component in the administration."

"It was excellent, well put together, everything went well smoothly," said Kenneth Boisseau of Portland, Mich. "He has some great ideas--putting us back to work and reinventing Michigan sounds precisely what is needed. I'm just hoping it's for everyone. That's my biggest concern. Like he said, more paychecks. That's the most crucial thing for Michigan right now. Unfortunately, it's a state that has a slow leak. It's still rolling, but it's steadily losing pressure. If he can stop the slow leak and fix us, he'll do fine."

He added: "I'm hoping that he has an idea or plan of attack that is conducive. I'm hoping it will be implemented and put into action. They all seem to be on the same page and wavelength. I like their disposition and the thoughts that they are putting forth."

The 126th Army Band of the Michigan National Guard provided the music and posting of the colors during the ceremony. Four A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircrafts from the 127th Air Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard flew over the Capitol. Chief Justice Kelly administered the oath of office to Snyder, Calley, Johnson and the other elected officials. Federal Judge Thomas Ludington administered the oath to Schuette.

Also sworn in were: State Board of Education Members Eileen Weiser and Richard Zeile, Michigan State University Trustees Brian Breslin and Mitch Lyons, University of Michigan Board of Trustee Andrew Richner, Wayne State University Governers Diane Dunaskiss and Danialla Karmanos, Justices of the Supreme Court Mary Beth Kelly and Bob Young as well as judges of the Michigan Court of Appeals. U-M Trustee Andrea Fischer was unable to attend.

Related Story: Rick Snyder elected Michigan's next governor; Republicans sweep A.G., S.O.S. offices



The east entrance of the Michigan Capitol building in downtown Lansing, Mich.



Staff Sergeant Amy S. Gould sang the National Anthem during the ceremony.



Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell offered an invocation.



Rick Snyder placed his left hand on his family bible as he was sworn in.



The Michigan Army National Guard offered a 19 cannon salute


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