Thursday, February 2, 2023

Gov. Whitmer inaugurated for second term, unveils bipartisan vision for next four years

January 1, 2023
Governor Gretchen Whitmer during her second inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 at the Michigan State Capitol.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer during her second inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 at the Michigan State Capitol. —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer and incumbent Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II were sworn in at the Michigan Gubernatorial Inauguration on Sunday. The event took place on the lawn of the State Capitol building where supporters gathered to attend the ceremony. 

In her inaugural address, Whitmer focused on what it means to be a Michigander. 

“It’s our underdog spirit and our championship swagger," Whitmer said. "We are tough and we never shy away from hard work. Michiganders are competitive. Even if you count us out, look down on us or fly over us, I promise you: we will defy your expectations."

In her first term, Whitmer signed over 1,000 bipartisan bills. She said she intends to continue her trend of bipartisanship by being a governor for all Michiganders and working with anyone who wants to get things done. 

Whitmer's inauguration came after a tumultuous midterm election during which she defeated Republican candidate Tudor Dixon. The two candidates mobilized their political parties in voting, leading to a record voter turnout in Michigan’s midterm election history. 

“Over the last four years, we carried out the highest turnout elections in our state's history, and Michigan is now a national leader in fair and secure and accessible elections,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.

Attorney General Dana Nessel was also sworn in for her second term during the inauguration.

“I pledge to do all I can to … search for and to implement every conceivable way to bring justice to as many people as possible,” Nessel said. 

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Whitmer’s vision for her second term includes reducing gun violence, tackling climate change and repealing laws that she believes limit freedoms for marriage and bodily autonomy. 

“If we reach across the aisle, bring people together in every region, and focus on solving problems, we can make Michigan a place where all people can envision a great future,” Whitmer said.

Gilchrist discussed the administration’s hope for Michigan’s future In his inaugural address.

“We’ve received these next several years as an opportunity to truly demonstrate how we as public servants can use the tools and the powers the people have given to us to create the conditions for prosperity … by choosing partnership rather than partisanship,” Gilchrist said. 

Gilchrist's emphasis on bipartisanship resonated with attendee and Albion College faculty member Carrie Walling who said Michigan is strong when people are united.

“We have struggled to build bridges across division, but I’m very excited about the future … there’s a tremendous amount of faith [that] Michiganders still have in the democratic process,” Walling said.

The new Democratic majority in the state legislature lends itself to more productivity from the newly inaugurated government officials. Over the next four years, Whitmer said, she will be working towards growing the economy to develop skills for good paying jobs, ensuring safety for families and building up infrastructure such as roads and water pipes.

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