Snyder sworn in as state's 48th governor

Courtesy of Joseph Lichterman
In his inaugural address, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan has a "bright future." Buy this photo

BY JOSEPH LICHTERMAN
Daily News Editor
Published January 1, 2011

LANSING — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder ushered in a new era in Michigan’s government today, as he was sworn in as the state’s 48th governor here on the Capitol steps.

In his inaugural address, Snyder said Michigan has a “bright future.”

“This election was a point of realization,” Snyder said. “The old ways don't work. It's time to start a new era in the state's history.”

Instead of mentioning specifics, Snyder spoke grandiosely, imploring Michiganders to stop fighting among themselves and instead work together.

"We need to put party and geography aside and come together as Michiganders to reinvent our state,” Snyder said.

Snyder outlined his four key objectives to reinvent Michigan. He said the state needs to increase innovation in the globally competitive market, create new jobs, ensure a better future for the youth and not leave its citizens behind in the reinvention.

“Let today be the birth of a new chapter in Michigan’s history,” Snyder said. “Let today be the birth of the era of innovation and the reinvention of Michigan.”

Snyder continued on to say technology isn’t the only necessity for innovation. He said the right mindset is needed, adding that he purposefully set high expectations for himself.

"It is time to solve problems and create opportunities,” Snyder said. “It is also time to be bold. I've been cautioned by many that expectations are already too high. We shouldn't walk away from high expectation. It's time to deliver on high expectations."

Snyder, a moderate Republican who has never held elected office, was elected in a landslide victory this past November. The self-branded “nerd” campaigned on his ability to cut taxes and spending, as well as his business acumen — the Ann Arbor resident and University alum is a former CEO of computer company Gateway.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly administered Snyder’s oath of office on the east steps of the State Capitol as more than 1,000 onlookers watched from the Capitol lawn.

Despite forecasts of rain, which caused organizers to distribute umbrellas on the chairs of attendees, temperatures were in the mid-30s, and the sun shone brightly on the proceedings. The 126th Army Band of the Michigan National Guard played throughout the ceremony, while the 1-119th Field Artillery performed a 19-gun salute.

Four A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog airplanes from the 127th Air Wing of the Michigan National Guard also executed a flyover of the ceremony.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was the master of ceremonies and presided over the inauguration.

Tickets were required to sit in the reserved seating area close to the dais, but members of the public were welcome to stand and view the ceremony from the periphery on the Capitol lawn.

Among the many Michigan residents who came from all areas of the state to view the inauguration was Jeffery McQueen, a Rochester, Mich. resident. McQueen, who wore two large American flags over his shoulder, said he was pleased to see Snyder sworn in.

“It was an exciting day seeing the conservative party taking all three branches of government,” McQueen said.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette, all Republicans, were also sworn in.

Calley, echoing Snyder’s earlier speech, said the state government, as well as the citizens of Michigan, are crucial for rebuilding the state.

"As citizens of this state, each of us has a role to play in the reinvention of Michigan,” Calley said.

In their remarks, Johnson and Schuette each spoke with a more partisan tone. Johnson quoted former President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, while Schuette said the day marked “Morning in Michigan” — playing on Reagan’s “Morning in America” television advertisement from the 1984 presidential campaign.

“The people want a safer Michigan,” Schuette said. “A safer Michigan with less government, less taxes, less spending, more pay checks and more freedom.”

University Regents Andrea Fischer Newman (R–Ann Arbor) and Andrew Richner (R–Grosse Pointe Park) were among the other state officials to be sworn in.

Newman and Richner — who will serve their third and second terms respectively — were sworn in by Kelly at the same time as the Trustees of Michigan State University and the Governors of Wayne State University.

After being sworn in, Richner shouted “Go Blue!” — earning a hearty chuckle from the crowd.