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Thousands Join In Gov. Abbott's Inauguration

Ryan E. Poppe

Sitting on his wheelchair, on a raised stage decorated in red, white and blue, Abbott placed his hand on the legendary Sam Houston Bible and pledged to serve Texas as governor. Abbott, the first person who will govern Texas from a wheelchair, was paralyzed in an accident when he was 26 years old.

Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Gov Greg Abbott after being sworn in as the 48th governor.

He referred to that moment, while speaking about opportunity. “I am living proof that we live in a state that a young man can literally have his life broken in half and still rise to become governor of this great state. As governor I will ensure that Texas remains the state that ensures that brand of opportunity for every single Texan,” said Abbott.

Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Lt Gov Dan Patrick after being sworn in by his son, State District Judge Ryan Patrick

Lt. Gov. Patrick, a Houston Republican, a Houston Republican, also took office. Like Abbott, his speech echoed promises made on the campaign trail. “We need to secure the border and we are going to secure the border in this legislative session. To that end, the Texas Senate will fund border security to the highest levels in state history,” said Patrick.

The theme of the inauguration, ‘Even the future is bigger in Texas,’ seemed to spill over onto the Capitol grounds, where 17,000 Texans joined the inaugural luncheon.  It included more than 2 tons of barbeque brisket, jalapeno sausage, and pork tenderloin to feed those gathered. 

Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Lines for the Inaugural Bar-B-Que

While waiting in the lunch line, Alice resident Eloy Osuna said he was very impressed with both speeches but wished Abbott and Patrick had touched on the falling oil prices and the future of industry in Texas. Osuna works in the oil fields of the Eagle Ford Shale, he’s hoping Abbott can persuade the President to reopen off-shore drilling for companies that are set up to operate off the Texas coast. “This would open up a lot of jobs, if we can open those permits up, and be able to do the off-shore drilling we need to do. And a lot of these jobs would open up for a lot of folks around here.”

Others in the crowd, like Houston-resident Lucy Nix wished the two state leaders would have focused on their efforts to keep constitutional bans against same-sex marriage in Texas.

“He didn’t say anything about the constitutional amendments that we have put through like marriage being between one man and one woman and that’s being fought through the courts and things like that”, Nix said.

The celebration included a two-hour parade through downtown Austin.  Later, governor and Mrs. Abbott presided over a black-tie inaugural ball at the Austin Convention Center.