Incoming Gov. Robert F. McDonnell addressed a packed congregation of Virginians on Saturday at his inauguration, hailing the crowd to take responsibility for the future of their state.
“Working together — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — Virginia will continue to blaze the trail of opportunity and prosperity,” McDonnell said.
Virginia residents arrived at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond from around the state to see their new governor officially enter office.
Carolyn Lantz of Mechanicsville said of the new governor, “I’m excited about him and I will pray for him.”
McDonnell’s inaugural speech recalled outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine’s leadership as well as prior United States leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He also recognized his father, father-in-law, and all prior and current military service members.
The inaugural speech covered an expanse of topics, from the economy to health care to education.
“As we enact these reforms we must remember this: that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but equality of opportunity must be guaranteed for all,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell addressed the economy and mentioned plans to help Virginia manage the economic recession and rampant joblessness.
Larry Miller of Falls Church said he thought McDonnell wanted to follow more of a business model that relied on the economy.
“We have to work for business to start expanding,” he said. “I think it will work.”
McDonnell’s speech also addressed energy and conservation concerns.
“We will champion environmentally safe energy exploration and production, bringing with it thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new state revenue and billions in new investment,” McDonnell said.
Miller agreed with McDonnell’s plans: “For the immediate future, we still have to rely on fossil fuels.”
Overall, McDonnell’s speech was vague in some points, but he concluded his inaugural speech with some hopeful words to his vast audience.
“It is right to help one another,” McDonnell said. “It is right to work together to get results and solve problems. It is right to provide opportunities for all. Let us heed the words of the father of our country, employ these eternal rules of order and right, and get to work for the good of the people of Virginia.”
The address at noon was accompanied by a flyover of F-22 jets by the Virginia National Guard. Following the swearing-in and the speech was a parade complete with the Virginia Military Institute’s 1,400 cadets, the Notre Dame Irish Guard, the Washington Redskins marching band and cheerleaders, alumni and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ Highty-Tighties, as well as groups from numerous other organizations.