Michigan residents react to New Year's Day inauguration ceremony
Red-cheeked Michiganders stood shoulder to shoulder on the lawn of Lansing’s Capitol building on New Year's Day as they welcomed a new government to office.
The 10:30 a.m. event welcomed Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Michigan State Trustees and Michigan Supreme Court Justices to their positions.
An emphasis on diversity, inclusion and empowerment took place throughout the ceremony, something Michigan resident Maxine Cain took notice of.
“I loved it. I loved it because number one, they started off celebrating diversity. They had Native Americans, the first Americans, to start off the program,” Cain said. “I like the fact that they had those flags from different countries stating that we are a country of inclusion and diversity ... I liked that most of all.”
Cain said this was not her first inauguration: she attended both of former President Barack Obama’s with her husband.
One thing Cain said she appreciated in particular was the promise of bipartisanship from the new governor and lieutenant governor.
“I think our success is going to become symbolic of the art of compromise,” Cain said.
Through a sea of wool coats and cloche hats stood volunteers, family members, members of the public and politicians.
One such politician was Jon Hoadley, the state representative for Kalamazoo. He said he was proud to support Whitmer in her campaign, and looked forward to working with her on civil rights.
“I’m one of a handful of openly gay members of the legislature,” Hoadley said. “Gretchen has been a champion for LGBT equality from before it was cool...There’s so much power in the governor's office and what she can do to make our state better for people who are LGBT ... I’m really looking forward to doing some work where we can coordinate on that.”
Hoadley is also the chief sponsor on expanding the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, an action he has introduced twice before.
“I’m hoping to get some movement on it,” Hoadley said.
One prominent member of the crowd was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kimberly Ferrante, commander of the 126th Army Band, who conducted the assembled musicians.
She said the music played at Michigan’s 2019 inauguration is a sign of respect to state leaders.
“It’s that pomp and circumstance and that historical legacy that music provides to show our patriotic support not only to our country but also to the state as well,” Ferrante said.
Inauguration and Whitmer-campaign volunteer Jana Nichol said she came out in the cold weather today to because she believes in Whitmer’s message.
After working at inauguration since 7 a.m., she said she was surprised by how energetic she felt despite the long day and freezing weather.
“I thought it was a great event and I really enjoyed it," Nichol said. "It really spoke to me a lot."