Tim Walz sworn in as Minnesota governor

January 07, 2019 06:11 PM

Tim Walz was sworn in as Minnesota's 41st governor Monday.

The former U.S. Rep. took the oath of office in an inauguration ceremony at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul.


"As a small town boy turned soldier, football coach and high school teacher, never did I envision standing before you today as Minnesota's 41st Governor—and neither, I am sure, did you," he said in his address.

"The inaugural ceremony is a public acceptance of our legal - and moral- responsibility to this great state. A clear recognition of the privilege we've been given by the people of Minnesota to do our best to further our state's magnificent legacy." 

Also sworn in were new Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, attorney general Keith Ellison and state auditor Julie Blaha. Steve Simon began his second term as Minnesota's secretary of state.

RELATED: Walz prepares to take oath as Minnesota's 41st governor

A former teacher, Walz said he would try to draw on the lessons of the past when confronting the issues facing the state today.

"It strengthens my resolve to know those who came before me, on whose shoulders I stand, faced difficult challenges, many similar to those we face today," he said.

"My predecessors tackled the problems they faced, and working together with the legislature, they made progress. Because of that progress, our state enjoys one of the best education systems in the country, one of the best health care systems in the country, and perhaps the best quality of life in the country. 

"But we can and must do better. Old ways of doing things must be updated. New solutions must be found for new problems. We must continue to aim higher, reach further, and build brighter futures for the people of our state."

And Walz reiterated calls to bring Minnesotans together.

"One Minnesota is in our blood," he said in conclusion. "It is born of our shared values. It is sewn into the fabric of our communities. It is driven by the collective good, fueled by our innovation. 

"No matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how dark the times; Minnesota has always risen up - by coming together. Our blood saved the Union at Gettysburg. Our iron forged the tanks that liberated Europe. Our farmers sparked a green revolution that fed the world. Our imagination transformed medicine. 

"One Minnesota is who we are. We just need to foster it."

Flanagan is a member of the White Earth Nation, making her the highest-ranking Native American serving in statewide office anywhere in the country.

And she spoke of her background in her address.

"My people talk about walking in two worlds," she said. "But one of my most treasured mentors encouraged me to reject that idea. I am an Ojibwe woman, and I am an Ojibwe woman all the time.

"I have a responsibility, especially because of those who came before me and cleared a path, to do good for my people. All the time."

Ellison, meanwhile, said he would try to listen to the concerns of all Minnesotans as he took on his new role as attorney general.

“My job as the people’s lawyer is to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity and respect," he said. "The Minnesota Attorney General’s office will be the place where everybody counts and everybody matters.”

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