AUSTIN, Texas – On a picture perfect sunny day, Greg Abbott was sworn in as the 48th Governor of Texas, delivering a message of gratitude and hope for Texas’ future.
Abbott began his remarks by giving thanks, offering “my deep gratitude to the people of this state for electing me Governor of the greatest state in the United States America.”
Abbott also thanked his predecessor, Governor Rick Perry, who he described as “a man I am humbled to succeed…a faithful steward of the miracle that is Texas.”
He continued, remarking that “the path that brought me here I could not have traveled alone,” thanking his wife Cecilia, who “has made Texas history as the first Hispanic First Lady in the history of our great state.”
Abbott then recognized his daughter Audrey. “I am honored to be Texas Governor. But the title that matters most to me is Dad. I am proud to be your Dad, Audrey Abbott.”
He also thanked Cecilia’s parents, Bill and Maria Phelan, “mi madrina,” who appeared in a popular television ad for his campaign, and his brother Gary Abbott, a retired Commander in the U.S. Navy, along with “every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States Military,” whose “extraordinary service has secured our freedom to celebrate events of democracy like this today.”
Abbott then turned to the events thirty years ago when he was paralyzed while jogging after a tree fell on him.
“The journey from that Houston hospital to the Texas Governorship was possible because of two powerful forces.” The first of these forces was the grace of God, said Abbott, quoting a few lines from the song, “You Raise Me Up:”
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.
The second force that brought him to the Governorship, said Abbott, was that he had the “good fortune to live in the great State of Texas.”
“Texas is the place where the improbable becomes the possible,” said Abbott, citing how the “unyielding drive for independence” led Texans to overcome the “total devastation at the Alamo” to achieve victory at the Battle of San Jacinto.
“To this day Texas has been filled with legends who started humbly and succeeded spectacularly,” said Abbott, mentioning businessman Dan Duncan, Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett, and the first Latina on the Texas Supreme Court, Eva Guzman, as well as his own parents, who he knew were looking down proudly from Heaven. “These stories are the promise of Texas. These stories are not the exception because our state truly is exceptional.”
“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 to be governor of this great state,” said Abbott.
Abbott vowed that, as Governor, he would work to “ensure Texas remains the state that provides that brand of opportunity for every Texan,” explaining that while “Texas truly is the land of opportunity, the place where anyone can achieve anything,” there was still “more we must do.”
Specific issues Abbott targeted included “build[ing] the roads needed to keep Texas growing” – including ensuring that “taxes raised for roads will be spent on roads” – and speeding up needed water projects.
Abbott paid special attention to the threats to Texas’ sovereignty from the same federal government that was failing to secure our border.
“Any government that uses the guise of fairness to rob us of our freedom will get a uniquely Texan response: ‘Come and take it,’ Abbott said to applause from the crowd. “Don’t get me wrong, we Texans aren’t spoiling for a fight, but we won’t shrink from one if the cause is right.”
Abbott pledged to preserve the booming economy he inherited from Perry. “We will promote policies that limit the growth of government – not the size of your dreams.”
Education, which Abbott has identified as one of his top priorities since the campaign, was an area where Abbott cautioned that “we cannot be captive to partisan arguments.”
“Our children transcend politics,” said Abbott. “If Texas is to remain the leader at creating jobs we must become the leader at educating our children.” Noting that countries depend on “military might” for success, Abbott said that states “excel by our mental might,” and hoped that “Texas should be the source of the greatest minds the country has ever known.”
Abbott then described how Texas was a place of hope. “There is no place like Texas. We will ensure that remains just as true for the next generation as it does for those here today.”
It was not enough to be content with our successes, said Abbott, but “we must seek higher ground that will continue to elevate Texas, not just as a leader in this nation, but as a leader in this world.”
“Because as goes Texas, so goes America, and as goes America, so goes the world,” concluded the new Governor. “So we must take the lead here in Texas – from Amarillo to McAllen, from El Paso to Beaumont. We must work together to ensure that even the future is bigger in Texas.”
“May God bless each and every of you, and may God forever bless the great State of Texas.”
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.