Governor John Hickenlooper was sworn into office Tuesday for his second term, with the ceremony taking place outside the west steps of the state capitol. Several hundred people gathered to watch Hickenlooper along with other statewide elected officials take the oath of office.
"I believe that if we are willing to compromise and collaborate on what may seem like an imperfect solution, it is far better than if we cling to entrenched positions and work against one another in pursuit of different allegedly perfect solutions," said Hickenlooper. "Progress, even if incremental, is better than gridlock."
The Governor spent much of the address talking about the struggles he and the state have overcome the last four years. He said he has a deeper understanding of the breadth and depth of what can collapse in an instant.
"There was the seemingly endless string of wildfires and the floodwaters that destroyed Colorado homes, ravaged communities, and took lives," Hickenlooper said. "There were the horrific shootings. I attended more funerals during my first term than I had attended in the rest of my life. I watched parents weep by the coffins of their children. A dear friend, Tom Clements — a man who personified public service — was assassinated while in service to this state. Although it pales in comparison, in my own home, Helen and I found ourselves telling our son, Teddy, that his mom and dad were separating."
Hickenlooper went on to tout the state's improving economy and drop in unemployment. He said the state's budgetary constraints, which require Colorado to increase expenditures and simultaneously cut taxes makes no sense.
Colorado State University Political Science Professor John Straayer notes that the Governor is term limited and won't be running again.
"He knows as well as anyone the problems we face," said Straayer. "We've got a train wreck coming, a fiscal train wreck. It's not immediate; we look pretty good right now. But in15 years out we're in serious trouble. I think the Governor has a golden opportunity to go on a mission to pose the question, what do you want for your future. Will he do it? I don't know."
Also sworn into office Tuesday were Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
The next order of business for the Governor will be the state of the state address to the legislature, Thursday, Jan. 15.