A forgotten Bible, a medical emergency in the audience, and a case of the sniffles couldn’t keep Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad from making history today at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.
With a joint session of the General Assembly, the department heads of the Executive Branch, and all of Iowa’s statewide elected officials on hand, he delivered his seventh inaugural address after taking the oath of office to serve his sixth non-consecutive term as Governor of Iowa. Branstad was inaugurated once as Lt. Governor before he was elected Governor.
Branstad opened his speech with a number of Iowa’s successes during the past four years of his administration. He then followed with a series of new challenges for the state government to tackle. Most of those focused on meeting the state’s infrastructure needs.
“My message today is this: we are the architects of our future. This state we all call home, this The Heart of The Heartland, has an opportunity to grow,” he said. “The generational challenges our state faces, the opportunities we must embrace, call for a tried and true way of doing business in Iowa: working hard, setting long term goals, and making sacrifices to build Iowa’s future. Are we willing to make these commitments for Iowa?”
Branstad said Iowa’s future is what Iowans want it to be, and what they make of it.
“We can either design a blueprint for growth and build Iowa for a brighter future, a more bountiful future, cementing opportunity and prosperity,” he added, “or, we can squander our hard work and the foundation we have built, fall into the partisan traps and go down a path neglecting to improve our state’s standing in the world and the opportunities for prosperity for Iowans.”
Branstad was preceded by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who delivered her inaugural address after taking the oath of office to serve her second term as Lt. Governor of Iowa. Both oaths were administered by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady.
Reynolds focused her speech on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics training efforts in Iowa, as well as the need for meeting the future challenges Iowa will face. She also said improving Iowa’s business climate must remain a priority to create an environment in which entrepreneurial risk is rewarded, and “the next million-dollar idea” isn’t smothered by rules and regulation.
“I envision an Iowa, where the next Workiva or PUCK Custom Enterprises will be successful wherever they are located within our 99 counties, whether headquartered in a revitalized urban center or the farthest reaches of rural Iowa,” she said. “I envision an Iowa where the next tech start-up can easily connect to customers and users across our state, country and world using reliable broadband, connecting Iowa products to international markets. The Iowa of the future is vibrant!”
Reynolds also highlighted a number of initiatives in which young people across the state have put their own entrepreneurial skills to work. She said she believes Iowa is “just getting started.”
“Iowa is, and will continue to be, America’s role model when it comes to honest, hardworking citizens. Principled and dedicated leaders, and a genuine sense of service to others,” she said. “Iowa is, and will continue to be, a place that we can be proud to call home. It’s clear why we safeguard the best in our state and plan for the future when you consider who we are building the future for – our children and grandchildren. So, let each of us leave today with a renewed commitment to Iowa.”
Moments before the oath of office was to be administered, one of the singers taking the stage quietly approached Branstad and handed him the Bible that was to be used during his swearing in. The Bible had been momentarily misplaced, but was quickly delivered via attentive staff members.
Midway through Reynolds’ speech, a member of the audience suffered a medical problem. A pair of state troopers quickly assisted the audience member, who was able to get prompt medical attention while nearly everyone else in the room was unaware of the situation. The audience member was transported by ambulance to a Des Moines hospital.
Case of the Sniffles
Immediately after being sworn in to his historic sixth term as Governor of Iowa, Branstad paused to wipe his nose with a handkerchief. As he spoke, his voice belied the fact he was a little bit under the weather.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, was on hand for his friend’s inauguration. He entered with almost no fanfare whatsoever, flanked by a pair of security guards, during a musical interlude between announced entries of Iowa dignitaries.
Popular Girl at the Dance
Freshman U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst was a very popular figure during the gathering prior to the start of ceremonies. She stood at the back of the ballroom with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, which eventually turned into an impromptu greeting line.
More Photos of the Event
For more photos from the inauguration ceremony, click here.