By Jess Bidgood
Jan. 6, 2010
Listen to the full address
BOSTON — It's official: With the completion of his inauguration ceremony, Gov. Deval Patrick's second term has begun.
In a commanding inaugural address, the governor called on lawmakers and private citizens alike to approach the state's challenges with a mixture of optimism and hard willingness to make tough choices.
But he said Massachusetts has a lot to be optimistic about, touting the state's progress during his first term. Today, he said, the state's unemployment rate is well below the national average, and Massachusetts is enjoying faster job growth and higher levels of insurance coverage than the rest of the country.
|Gov. Deval Patrick delivered his inaugural address at the State House on Thursday. (AP)|
All of that, he said, despite the global economic collapse that irrevocably altered his first term.
"People all over the commonwealth began to wonder whether the American dream itself was up for grabs," Patrick said. "Times like these are moe than a test of policy, they are a test of character."
A test he says the state passed.
"We didn't just sit around and wait for better times, we are building a better future for all of us by making better choices," Patrick said.
But the state's challenges, Patrick said, are far from over. He laid out a second-term agenda that will focus on job growth, education and making Massachusetts more business-friendly. "We all know that educating our kids, being able to count of health care and better jobs is the way to our future," Patrick said.
Patrick offered extra details, saying he wants the state to invest more in "innovation industries," and plans to work to eliminate outdated regulation that increase the cost of doing business in the state.
The governor also said he would also spend more time outside of the state, conducting trade missions and lobbying for Massachusetts' interests in Washington, DC.
The day's festivities -- which took place inside the State House -- were far more more toned down than his first inaugural in 2007. That year, thousands of people watched the state's first outdoor inauguration ceremony on Boston Common — and then Gov. Patrick celebrated at seven inaugural balls.
After Thursday's speech, the Governor greeted members of the public. He’ll cap the day with a celebration at the Boston Public Library Thursday night.
The governor is immediately faced with the state's $1.5 billion budget gap. Nevertheless, speaking from the ceremony, Newton's Mayor Setti Warren said the day still felt celebratory. "We've got great challenges and I think (Gov. Patrick) will be up for it," Warren said.
Like mayors and town managers across the state, Warren knows local aid could be on the line as the governor addresses the state's budget gap. "Every city and town that I'm dealing with, colleagues are talking about critical resources they need," Warren said — but he said he's happy with how Patrick has handled local aid so far.
Sarah Birnbaum contributed to this report.
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