Texans from across the state gathered in front of the Capitol Building Tuesday to watch Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick take their oaths of office as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Texas. Abbott is the state's first new governor in 14 years.
In his inauguration speech, Abbott established some of his goals as governor. Following the ceremony, attendees gathered on the capitol lawn for a barbecue and parade. The Future of Texas Ball, an event that takes place after the governor’s inauguration, will be held this evening.
Abbott said his path to the governor’s office was an improbable one. Abbott is paralyzed and in a wheelchair after a tree fell on him while jogging in Houston 30 years ago.
“I am living proof that we are living 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,” Abbott said.
As governor, Abbott said he plans to focus on policies involving infrastructure, water, education and job growth, among other issues.
Abbott said that in order for job growth to continue in Texas, there must be a focus on education during his term as governor.
“These great minds will not be molded by a cookie cutter approach of teaching,” Abbott said. “Instead, they will be the product of great teachers that recognize the value and uniqueness of each student.”
Patrick emphasized similar issues in his inauguration speech — border security, lower taxes, education and second amendment rights.
He also said he would work to reduce the cost of higher education.
“In Higher Education we must reduce the cost of skyrocketing tuition that is pricing many middle class families out of college, and saddling students with huge debt upon graduation,” Patrick said.
Patrick also included a running call-and-response chant during his speech, continually asking the crowd "what day is it?" and prompting the response "It's a new day in Texas."
Some Texans, like Fredricksburg resident Ed Stein, traveled hundreds of miles to attend the day’s events.
“I hope that they live up to what they say,” Stein said.
The Longhorn Band also attended the ceremony, playing classic songs such as “The Eyes of Texas” at the ceremony.
“It is an honor for the Longhorn Band to be invited to participate in historic events such as these,” Longhorn Band Director Robert Carnochan said. “The fact that Governor Abbott is a UT Alumnus makes it that much more special.”