JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The sun broke through the clouds just before noon time on a frigid day in Jefferson City as thousands gathered on the South Lawn of Missouri’s Capitol to welcome the state’s 56th governor, Eric Robert Greitens.
After the swearing in of Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, Attorney General Josh Hawley, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, Greitens placed his left hand on the Bible, turned his right hand to the sky and recited the oath of office from Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge.
As both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, Congresswoman Ann Wagner, Congressman Sam Graves, outgoing Gov. Jay Nixon, and new First Lady Sheena Greitens looked on, the new governor addressed the people he would lead for the next four years. He promised to deliver the change in government they wished to see.
“The people have spoken; a new direction has been decided,” he said. “For decades, Missourians have talked about change. Now it’s time to fight for that change. No one imagines that all of these battles will be won overnight or over four years or even eight. But we begin today.”
The new governor also pledged to fight those who would wish to do the people of the state harm.
“To those who would commit violence against a fellow citizen, to those who would abuse a child, to those who would assault a member of law enforcement, to those who would steal from the needy, I assure them this: they will feel the might, strength, and resolution of the firm fist of justice,” he said.
He also wanted to build a culture of ethical practices in Jefferson City.
“And to those who would trouble this house for their own selfish and sinful gain, hear me now: I answer to the people,” he said. “I come as an outsider, to do the people’s work. And I know that the people do not expect miracles, but they do expect results—and we will deliver.”
Greitens showed his commitment to that pledge just after he gave his inaugural address. He signed an executive order in the Governor’s Office on the second floor that will ban members of his staff from becoming lobbyists while he occupies the office and forbids gifts from lobbyists to members of his staff.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, also stated his commitment to Missouri’s men and women in uniform. A new event this year celebrated 150 Missourians, many of them members of law enforcement, veterans or the loved ones of those who have died in the line of duty.
“Their families sit with us today as a testament, not to loss – though their loss has been great – but to love, the tremendous love that so many have for our country, for our state, for our fellow citizens,” he said during his address.
His “honoring of heroes” as he termed it continued throughout the day, with many of them joining him on stage in front of the Capitol steps when he gave his inaugural address. The military themes continued throughout the day, with a B-2 stealth bomber flyover, the 135th Army Band played marching tunes, 19-gun artillery salute welcomed Greitens into the office, and the new governor reviewed members of the Missouri National Guard and State Highway Patrol.
The governor and first lady will have a public reception at the Capitol Plaza Hotel at 3 p.m. before the Governor’s Ball Monday night.