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New Year’s Inauguration Roundup
This week, five states kicked off the new year by swearing in Democratic governors.
Newly inaugurated Governors Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), and Janet Mills (ME) highlighted their plans to grow the economy, invest in education and expand access to health care.
Democratic Governors Association Chair Gina Raimondo (RI) and DGA Policy Chair Andrew Cuomo (NY) were inaugurated for new terms, and committed to building on their bold, successful agendas.
Democrats flipped 7 Republican-held seats in November’s election, the biggest Democratic gubernatorial pickup in 36 years. The flips included Michigan, New Mexico and Maine, where newly inaugurated Democratic governors took over this week after 8 years of Republican control.
Whitmer, Lujan Grisham, Mills and Raimondo were also part of a record-setting 6 Democratic women governors elected in 2018. Mills made history this week as the first female governor of Maine, while Lujan Grisham made history as the first Democratic Hispanic female governor.
Here are some highlights from each inaugural speech.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
“We might live in divisive times, but Michigan’s problems are not partisan problems. Potholes are not political. Neither is clean water. Or better skills. Or great schools for our kids.
I will be a governor for everyone.
And I am committed to working across party lines to ensure that all Michiganders have opportunity. That means rebuilding our roads and bridges. Cleaning up our water. And ensuring that everyone gets the education and skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs. These issues affect us all.
These things are the foundation of secure families, strong communities, and a more prosperous state. None of us can afford to compromise Michigan’s economic future because we won’t compromise with one another. Divided government makes solving problems harder, but not impossible.
We need to come together now – not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Michiganders.”
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
“We will create a New Mexico where we finally invest in our children, because every single one of our kids deserves the best possible head start. We will create a New Mexico where workers, no matter their wage, are treated like human beings, and where workers who are paid the least are paid more starting now. A New Mexico where students and young adults can find fulfilling, high-paying work.
Where students and young adults from elsewhere are packing up the U-Haul to come and work here.
Where we are the national example of what a clean energy revolution looks like. Where we do not tolerate poverty — not for one more day.
And where we show this country and the world what it looks like when a state commits to doing the work to transform itself, from the ground up, without losing what we already have.”
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo
“Now, let’s commit ourselves to sustaining the comeback until every Rhode Islander is included, and to making choices that will position our state for success for the long haul.
Our work is not done until we lift up those who are struggling the most. Our work is not done until we end the opioid crisis and ensure that those in recovery are included in our economic comeback. Our work’s not done until we make sure every Rhode Islander willing to work hard can get a good job. Our work’s not done until women and men have the same economic opportunities and can thrive in workplaces free from harassment.
And, let’s take a moment to recognize the record numbers of women who have run for office and are taking on positions of leadership in all walks of life here in Rhode Island and around the country. We’re all counting on you to stay at the table long enough to make real change.
For four years we’ve fought hard to make Rhode Island a place where people have confidence that they can make a good life for themselves and their families. As we continue our journey to ensure that our economic comeback touches every Rhode Islander, let’s be mindful and realistic about the challenges that lie before us.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
“Within my first 100 days, I will propose to the new Democratic Legislature the most progressive agenda this state has ever seen, period.
From voting reforms, to Roe v. Wade for New York, to protecting a woman’s right to choose. To better gun laws, to healthcare protection, to legalizing marijuana, to protecting the labor movement, to a green new deal, to real criminal justice reform – we will make history and New York will move forward. Not by building a wall, my friends, but by building new bridges, and building new airports, and creating new middle class jobs and an economic future for the next generation and showing us how good we can be at our best when we are together.”
Maine Governor Janet Mills
“We are Republicans, Greens, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, and many more besides.
This is something I know well myself. I mean, every Mills family reunion is like a meeting of the United Nations – everyone has an opinion and wants a microphone. But these differences are what make my family strong. They make every family strong. They make Maine strong. Our diversity is a virtue – one that we should harness to advance good public debate and good public policy.
One thing we all love is our great state. And when a family, a community, a state believe in each other, help each other, love each other, great things can happen.
Maine people have greatness within them. Maine is our home. We are connected by the rivers and the land, the forests and the mountains. We are connected by love. We are strengthened by our connections. We are one Maine, undivided, one family from Calais to Bethel, from York to Fort Kent. We meet this evening, free from care, the heirs of Joseph Attean, Joshua Chamberlain, Fly Rod Crosby, and Israel Washburn.
Tomorrow we rise before the dawn — like the mist over the Sandy River — and seek adventure, with hope in our hearts and love in our souls for the brand-new day.”