Indianapolis — Moments after taking the oath of office at his outdoor inauguration, Gov. Mike Pence called on Hoosiers to do their part to boost the state’s economy, education and quality of life, saying “each of us has a role to play.”
“Whatever it is you can do, do. Improve yourself and you will improve your state,” Pence told a crowd of about 1,500 supporters bundled against the cold.
“Invest in Indiana with your time and talent. Tell Indiana’s story,” he continued. “If you have a job, work at it as never before. If you serve the people, serve with all your heart. If you can build a business, do. If you can start a business, try. If you have a dream, reach for it.”
Pence, sworn in by Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson, delivered a 15-minute speech that included quotes from both Abraham Lincoln and the late, legendary basketball coach John Wooden. Pence took the oath with his hand held on the Bible that Benjamin Harrison used when he was sworn-in as president in 1889.
The six-term Republican congressman who became Indiana’s 50th governor praised his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, for leaving the state in good fiscal shape – which includes a $2 billion budget surplus.
But Pence warned against becoming complacent. “With so many Hoosiers hurting in this economy, we must meet this moment with resolve, determined to leave our state more prosperous, our children more prepared, and our communities and families stronger than ever before.”
In at least one nod to policy, Pence signaled his support for the state’s expansion of charter schools and what’s become the largest school voucher program for low-income families.
“There’s nothing that ails our schools that can’t be fixed by giving parents more choices and teachers more freedom to teach,” Pence said, before adding: “As my school teacher wife often reminds me, Indiana has some of the best teachers in the world.”