Standing before throngs of Inauguration attendees on Legislative Plaza, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam told Tennesseans across the state he was ready to go to work making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise a family.
"There are opportunities before us. We cannot do or be everything. We have to exercise good judgment as we set our priorities. The path we will travel will not be smooth and there will be a few bumps along the way," Haslam said after taking the Oath of Office from Tennessee State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia "Connie" Clark, the first woman to administer the oath in state history.
"As your governor, I promise to be a good listener and a continuous learner, to lead with grace and humility, and when faced with adversity, to respond with determination," Haslam added. "And finally, I will work hard. In business, as a mayor, and as a candidate for governor, I have learned nothing replaces hard work."
The inauguration comes at the end of the week Haslam spent on a statewide Swing Tour discussing his ideas for education reform and economic development. His inaugural speech covered his three biggest priorities: job, education and managing the state's budget, as he made several commitments to Tennesseans.
JOBS: "Our goal is simple: Top-tier education for our children. Re-training for those out of work and underemployed. A healthy lifestyle. All three will make Tennessee number one in the Southeast for high quality jobs."
PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS: "This is my commitment to you: We will improve our teaching, learning, retention and graduation. Every student deserves a great teacher, and every school needs a great principal. The tools will be in place -- the rest is up to each of us to seize the opportunities."
EDUCATION: "The expectations and standards of education excellence for every student in Tennessee are high. This is the time to continue significant education reform - and shame on us if we let this moment escape without meaningful action. The path for better jobs now and into the future requires more than the current 1 out of 5 Tennesseans over the age of 25 who have a college degree."
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: "Government stands ready to assist, but government is not the solution. Offering hope through workforce development, technical training and work keys are building blocks on the road to job recovery and job security. But equally important is the individual determination and drive to invest the time and energy and hard work to be more."
STATE BUDGET: "As we slowly reverse the negative trends of the economic downturn that gripped our state and nation, we will be diligent in watching the weight of state government, going on a diet of efficiency and effectiveness. State government will live within its financial means, and a Top to Bottom review will set priorities and establish measurable goals."
EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT: "As we begin writing a new chapter in our state's history, I ask you, the elected state senators and representatives, to join with me in rolling up our sleeves and going to work. Our measure of effective state government is whether our citizens are served well and at the lowest possible cost. The people of Tennessee are our customers and we will be all about excellent customer service."