Today marked the beginning of an especially happy New Year here in Michigan. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Lt. Governor John D. Cherry Jr. and assorted other state officers were sworn in on the steps of the State Capitol in Lansing.
In what's become an almost-trademark, a little live-blogging to start off the New Year.
(Below is a rough transcription from today's inaugural speeches at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. My apologies for any omissions, errors, or misquotes, I did my best.)
Attorney General Mike Cox (R)
I am pleased to be preceded by the former Attorney General who served with grace and class, thank you, Governor Granholm. It is a time for new beginnings as we celebrate the next Michigan.
As President Teddy Roosevelt said in 1905 at his inauguration "Much has been given, and much is expected."
I will assist the Governor and the Legislature to help with unemployment, provide access to health care, and I pledge to defend the Constitution, one of our most sacred documents. I will use the law to be an ally for all of Michigan.
I'll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. In the footsteps of President Ford, I'll do right, regardless of the political cost.
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R)
I consider public service a great honor and an opportunity to bring great good. I pledged to keep Michigan driving forward four years ago, and I pledge to keep doing the same now.
Since then, the State has had more than 1 million organ donors join the donor registry. We're working on pre-registering 16 year-olds to vote when they get their driver's license. We need young people just as excited about voting as they are driving!
We're also working on a dual purpose driver's license that will also serve as a passport, in accordance with strict federal regulations.
I've personally visited every single branch office in the state twice to ensure efficiency and that we adhere to our philosophy of 'You are our customer'.
Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry Jr. (D)
For over 400 years ships have sailed the Great Lakes to move raw materials and goods all over. Michigan is much like a ship of it's own. With the Governor as the captain of our ship, and supported by a great crew made up of the Cabinet and the Legislature our port of call is Hope and Prosperity.
The journey has been rough sailing, but our captain has never stopped fighting for us. Our Governor has brought together the nation's toughest and most diversified economic plan. She's created thousands of new jobs, advanced manufacturing and promoted alternative energy. Governor Granholm has expanded health care, has constantly fought to provide universal access for all of our citizens, made it possible for every high school student who wants to go to college to have a $4,000 scholarship to double the number of college graduates, re-trained more than 100,000 workers, and made manufacturing the backbone of the state's economy.
Thank you for working as a team, for all that we've done, for all that we're going to do, and will do to keep Michigan great.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm (D)
The Next Michigan: Transformation and Opportunity
I believe in the Next Michigan -- I lay claim to it. Claim it with me. Believe in the Next Michigan, a place that we sense but do not yet fully know.
BELIEVE in the Next Michigan where opportunity to grow and to live a good life exists for all our citizens -- the rich and the poor, the young and the old.
BELIEVE in the Next Michigan where every child can go to college and every parent is a partner in expecting that child to learn; where our knowledge and innovation and imagination are celebrated and produced and sold right here.
BELIEVE; come with me to the Next Michigan, where every displaced worker has the opportunity to open their own business or be retrained to a new future -- a state where "no worker is left behind."
BELIEVE in the Next Michigan where our cities are electric -- alive with people and culture and energy and jobs.
BELIEVE in the Next Michigan where every citizen has access to affordable health care.
BELIEVE in the Next Michigan where our love of our land and our water will produce clean and green technology, alternative energy -- the state that combines university brilliance with agricultural bounty to break our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
BELIEVE in a compassionate Michigan where our citizens have a responsibility to one another.
That we are put here in God's country to serve not just ourselves, but we are here to serve each other. That we are a better state and a better people when we act as family to one another.
You know the Michigan that is. Believe in the Michigan that will be.
(full text available here)
Mike Cox - He's softened his speech quite a bit from four years ago when he started out by stunning everyone with a hearty thanks to former Governor Engler. It was polished, delivered with some emotion and while it sounded pretty, one only need to read between the lines.
His pledge to defend the Constitution is clearly a jab to all of those distraught by the passing of Proposal 2 on affirmative action. I dare say it was also a thinly-veiled reminder of his furtive stance on that other failed Proposal 2 (2004) the so-called Gay Marriage Proposal. The Attorney General seems to have no room in his heart for all of the citizens of Michigan, just the ones that subscribe to his beliefs.
Terri Lynn Land - The ballots are barely counted and she's already positioning herself for a run for governor in 2010. Ms. Land would be lucky to have half the charisma, the energy, and the power to speak directly to the hearts of people like the Governor does.
I was purposely looking for even an whisper of a promise on protecting our votes against election fraud. Not only did she not mention it in her 'How I spent the last four years' speech, it wasn't on her list of To-Do projects. Tsk, tsk, Terri. Which voters were you listening too, exactly?
John Cherry - What's not to like about the LG? You can't go wrong when you start out your inaugural speech with a metaphor about ships sailing on the Great Lakes. His speech was the perfect intro for the Governor and his energy was also highly motivating. There's no doubt that these two make a fantastic team.
Jennifer Granholm - I'll admit it, I'm completely biased. Michigan couldn't be luckier than to have the great Lady Gov at our helm for another four years.
I doubt you'll find a harder-working leader than Granholm anywhere. The speech was appropriately serious and solemn at times, but the overall lingering theme of progress achieved, and progress yet to come was there throughout. Again, she managed to speak to every single person in that giant hall. She looked you in the eye, she told you the truth without sugar-coating it, and she told you how she's already fixing it.
Forget the Soap and Hope, here in Michigan we've got the real deal with Jennifer Granholm.