Greg Abbott was greeted by a huge crowd of thousands and beautiful weather for his inauguration as the next Texas governor on the south steps of the Texas Capitol this morning, Tuesday, Jan. 20 in Austin. He credited two forces with enabling him to rise from a Houston hospital bed several years ago this month to the governorship.
He said in regard to that subject, “But, let’s face it, for me this moment was highly improbable. During this month 30 years ago I laid in a hospital bed recovering from injureis that broke my back and left me forever unable to walk.”
Abbott further said, “The journey from that Houston hospital to the Texas Governorship was possible because of two powerful forces. First is the grace of God. The Book of Matthew reminds us that With God all things are possible. I am reminded of this when I hear a song that often plays in churches. It’s titled “‘You Raise Me Up.”’
He then proceeded to quote from the song which has inspired his comeback for so many years: “You raise me up so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up to walk on stormy seas; I am strong when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up to more than I can be.”
The new governor also said, “As I begin my Governorship I humbly ask for God’s continued grace and guidance, and I assure you: We will never forget that we remain One Nation Under God. “
He then went on to discuss the second powerful force which he believes allowed him to climb from the depths of that Houston hospital bed to where he is today. He said, “I had the good fortune to live in the great State of Texas. Texas is the place where the improbable becomes the possible. Many thought that it was improbable that Texas would overcome total devastation at the Alamo. And yet the unyielding drive for independence that has always filled the hearts of Texans led to victory at the battle of San Jacinto. And thus began the legend that Texas has become.”
He went on to mention some inspirational people who have overcome adversity in Texas, saying, “Where a boy like Dan Duncan who grew up dirt poor in East Texas started a business with two trucks and $10,000, but with hard work and true grit he went on to become one of the wealthiest Texans ever.”
He also referred to the Collen Barrett story, saying that Texas is a place “Where people like Colleen Barrett can climb the ladder from executive assistant to being listed as one of the most powerful women in America as President of Southwest Airlines.”
The governor then referred to a “13-year old daughter of immigrants from Mexico who worked nights in a drapery factory but never gave up on her dreams. Now Eva Guzman is the first Latina to serve as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court.”
Abbott then referred to another heartfelt story saying Texas was a place “where a mother from Wichita Falls who, like so many mothers, chose to stay home with her children to raise them and instill in them the values she thought important. Although she’s now in Heaven with my Dad she’s no doubt proud that her timeless love and devotion inspired her son to become the 48th Governor of Texas. These stories are the promise of Texas. These stories are not the exception because our state truly is exceptional.”
He then said, “I am living proof that we live in a state where a young man’s life can literally be broken in half and yet he can still rise up and be governor of this great state.”
Abbott then went on to list some assurances for the people of Texas, saying, “As governor I will ensure Texas remains the state that provides that brand of opportunity for every Texan. Texas truly is the land of opportunity, the place where anyone can achieve anything. But as great as Texas is there’s more we must do.”
He further listed more that needs to be done for Texans including: “More for the families stuck in traffic. More for parched towns thirty for water. More for parents who fear their child is falling behind in school. More for employers searching for skilled workers. More for our veterans who return broken from battle. And we must do more for the millions of Texans who are tired of seeing our state sovereignty and the rule of law ignored by a federal government that refuses to secure our border.”
“As governor, I will ensure that we build the roads needed to keep Texas growing. That taxes raised for roads will be spent on roads. I will speed up our needed water projects, and I will secure our border. As governor I will continue my legacy of pushing back against Washington if they spend too much, regulate too much, or violate our state sovereignty. Any government that uses the guise of fairness to rob us of our freedom will get a uniquely Texan response: ‘come and take it.’
He also said, “We Texans aren’t spoiling for a fight, but we won’t shrink from one if the cause is right. For too long Washington has tried to remake America in its image. In Texas, we offer a different approach; We don’t put our trust in government; we put our trust in the people, and I will make sure we keep it that way. We must never forget that government is the servant of the people….not the other way around.”
Abbott also promised to maintain Texas as the number one job creator in the U.S. However, he recognized that, “Yet we know too many still live on the fringe of opportunity. For them there is no solace in number one rankings that fail to touch their lives. I speak about children lving in broken homes and struggling in broken schools.”
He discussed the significance of education, saying, “Our children transcend politics. If Texas is to remain the leader at creating jobs we must become the leader at educating our children.”
Continuing his discussion of education, he recognized his English teacher Nancy Nickel from Duncanville, High School, saying, “She taught me nore than how to read and write. She taught me to reach for my dreams. Thank you, Mrs. Nickel, and thanks to all our tremendodus teachers.”
After saluting Mrs. Nickel, he continued along with the education thread, saying, “We will cultivate those teachers to educate those students to fill the growing job markets that will keep Texas the economic engine of America.”
Texas newest governor also referred to the Bible, saying, “Scripture teaches us that tribulation produces perseverance, perserverance character and character, hope. Texans are filled with hope because our lives have been infused with the perserverance and character that sprang from the tribulations faced by those before us.”
Earlier in his speech he expressed gratitude to the people of Texas for electing him “Governor of the greatest state in America.” He also gave a tip of the hat to outgoing Governor Rick Perry, saying, “For fourteen years we the people have placed our turst in a man I am humbled to succeed. Along with his wife, Anita, he has been a faithful steward of the miracle that is Texas. And I thank Rick Perry for his unwavering leadership.”
He also thanked his wife Cecilia, who is the first Latina First Lady in the history of Texas, saying, “That path that brought me here I could not have traveled alone. I share today with so many, starting with a woman of genuine warmth and character: My beautiful wife, Cecilia.”
He also referred to his daughter Audrey, saying, “Cecilia, and I share this day with our precious daughter Audrey. Through your eyes we see the promise of the next generation of Texans. I am honored to be Texas Governor. But the title that matters most to me is Dad.”
Abbott is the first native of Wichita Falls to be elected governor. A Wichita Falls resident James V. Allred was elected governor in the 1930s, but he was born in Bowie, down Highway 287 from Wichita Falls.
Abbott appeared at his boyhood home on Randel Drive in Wichita Falls during the campaign. He also made several other campaign appearances there including at Stanley’s Barbecue, Eleventh Street Coffee Shop and Wichita Falls Country Club.
He has served the last three terms as the top law enforcement official in Texas with an extraordinary record as Texas Attorney General. Texas has lost a great general today, but has also gained an extraordinary governor.