Jay Nixon (D) has been sworn in for his second and final four-year term as Missouri Governor.
Thousands of people braved below-freezing temperatures to hear his inaugural address on the steps of the State Capitol, although there were more than a hundred empty chairs due likely to the cold weather. A large portion of Nixon's speech focused a lot on the Show-Me State’s history. He said despite the fact that two different political parties control the General Assembly and the Governor’s office that Missouri is not as divided today as it was during the Civil War.
“For a time, Missouri had two state governments, two state capitals, and two governors," Nixon said. "Two state flags fluttered above the boys in blue and gray, the sons of farmers and cobblers, tinkers and slaves.”
Nixon said that differences between Democrats and Republicans are nowhere near that insurmountable.
“We will put our shared principles ahead of our small differences and work together for the common good," Nixon said. "The people of Missouri deserve and expect no less, and that is how I intend to lead.”
He also cited his administration’s efforts at keeping automotive jobs in Missouri and in responding to the Joplin tornado and other natural disasters. State Senator John Lamping (R, Ladue), however, described Nixon’s inaugural address as a “say-nothing speech from a do-nothing governor," posting his comments on his Twitter account. He added that the governor should have used the occasion to outline his legislative agenda, instead of waiting until January 28th for the State of the State Address.
“I don’t know that a whole lot of people will pay as close attention to the State of the State as they would otherwise the inaugural address," Lamping said.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) was less critical, but said in a statement that he hopes the governor will "turn his rhetoric into reality."
After the inauguration, Governor Nixon met with early childhood education teachers, officials and advocates in his first official business conducted in his second term. Reporters were allowed to observe the meeting but barred from asking questions. Nixon also met with the public at the Governor's Mansion during the early afternoon hours.
Evening events included the Grand March and the Governor's Inaugural Ball in the Rotunda of the State Capitol.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport