AUSTIN, Texas — A veritable who’s who of Texas politics gathered in the Texas Senate chamber to celebrate the swearing in of Texas’ new Attorney General, Ken Paxton. He took the oath of office from his predecessor, outgoing Attorney General and soon to be Governor, Greg Abbott.
After being sworn in by Abbott, Paxton, took to the podium and said, “It is a very exciting day for me to say I am the Texas Attorney General.”
He also quipped, “I guess this means the former Attorney General is unemployed.” The comment drew laughs as outgoing Attorney General now incoming Governor Abbott became the former Attorney General during the act of administering the oath to Paxton. Paxton credited Texas’ current Governor, Rick Perry, with the idea for the joke.
The star-studded swearing in ceremony included the current two potential 2016 presidential candidates, Gov. Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, Governor-elect Greg Abbott, current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Lt. Governor-elect Dan Patrick and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett.
During his welcome message, Lt. Governor Dewhurst told the packed room of over 600 supporters that under the leadership of AG Ken Paxton, Texas would be “the greatest law and order state in the nation.”
Governor Perry delivered the opening prayer for the ceremony. During his remarks he said the Texas Attorney General’ Office “plays a particularly important role.” He said this is especially important now because of “federal government overreach.”
Perry said he is a proud supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He joked about the need to be able to defend your dog from an attacking coyote while out jogging. He also stated his support for the 10th Amendment and praised the role outgoing AG Abbott performed during his tenure in defending Texas.
Lt. Governor-elect Patrick told a story about the campaign trail he and Paxton spent many months together on to get to where they are today. He told a story about all of the AG candidates being in Houston while all of the Lt. Gov. candidates were in North Texas. Their respective wives appeared in the opposite cites to represent their husbands. In Houston, Paxton took a photo himself with Patrick’s wife, Jan, and sent it to Patrick. Not to be outdone, Patrick went and found Paxton’s wife, Angela, and took a picture of them together and sent it to Paxton. He said both of them then posted the photos on their Facebook pages. “We confused the heck out of people that night,” Patrick said and the audience laughed.
Sen. Cruz, who served previously as Texas Solicitor General under Abbott before running for the Senate, delivered the keynote speech. “We are celebrating a new Attorney General, my good friend, Ken Paxton,” Cruz began. He said the Texas Attorney General is on the “front line every day” in defending Texas from an overreaching federal government. He cited several cases where the AG has had to file lawsuits to defend Texas including over issues related to the 2nd Amendment, state sovereignty, religious freedom and Obamacare.
Cruz, along with most everyone else who spoke, reminded Paxton about the enormity of following Abbott as AG. “You’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Cruz quipped. He then affirmed what the audience already knew. “Ken Paxton is a worthy successor to Attorney General Greg Abbott.”
Justice Willett reminded the audience about the importance of the AG’s Office. “The Texas Attorney General is flat out essential to the liberty of Texas,” Willett stated. Willett and Paxton attended Baylor University together. He said he was glad to see the size of the Baylor delegation of Texas’ statewide elected government officials double in size with Paxton’s swearing in.
Paxton took the oath of office with his hand on an historic piece of Texas history, the Sam Houston Bible. He was sworn in by Abbott while his wife, Angela stood by his side. She proudly kissed him after the ceremony.
Paxton’s family participated in the ceremony as two of his children led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. His other two children led the pledge to the Texas Flag. Paxton’s wife, Angela, amazed the audience with her rendition of The National Anthem.
Paxton thanked the people in the room, his wife Angela and children. He also spoke touchingly about his parents, who were also present for the ceremony. He was grateful for their support and everyone’s encouragement he received to travel down the path to Texas Attorney General.
Paxton also spoke on the outgoing leadership of Texas noting, “We are blessed. Texas is unique and special,” Paxton stated. He characterized what outgoing Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst accomplished during their tenures as “amazing.” He added that Texans enjoy great personal freedoms because of state governance — the House, Legislature, and Senate — and common sense conservative values that lead to prosperity.
The new Attorney General likened Texas to that ‘shining city on the hill’ former President Reagan always said fondly of the United States. He said that it is, in part, because Texas is successful. “Our policies work.”
He also stated that even with the challenges the nation faces, he is encouraged by incoming Texas leadership.
He joked with Abbott about the big shoes he was going to have to fill. “I wear a size 12,” Paxton joked while showing Abbott his shoe. “I am ready to go to work.” He also thanked Abbott for setting the Attorney General ‘standard’ for the state and the nation.
He then looked to the incoming team on the stage — Governor-elect Abbott and Lt. Governor-elect Patrick and said, “We are in great shape with the leadership of people on this stage.”
He closed by saying, “As Texas goes, so goes the nation.”