M. Jodi Rell

Swearing In Speech - July 1, 2004

M. Jodi Rell
July 01, 2004— Hartford, Connecticut
Print friendly

Good afternoon.

A few moments ago I raised my right hand, humbled in spirit and with hopefulness in my heart, to take the oath of office as Governor of the State of Connecticut.

It is not a position I sought through the normal course of electoral politics, but little has seemed normal over the past several months.

Few could have accurately predicted the incredible, seemingly unrelenting, series of events that have led to today's actions.

It has been a time of profound disappointment and disillusionment.

It has been a moment in history that we never thought we would see, and fervently hope that we never see again.

Yet while the people's trust in government has been weakened, I know that Connecticut is resilient.

Ours is a strength that is centuries old, but ever new.

The wellspring of our state's strength is untainted by corruption, and untouched by controversy.

It's the optimism of Connecticut families -- always ready to look forward to tomorrow.

A new administration is taking shape, and though awed and inspired by the incredible responsibilities that await me, I assume the governorship of our .great state with respect, honor, and modesty.

The time to heal has begun.

Yes, our trust has been broken. Our faith in government has been shaken. Our belief in the inherent virtue of public service has been called into question.

We have been tested. We have been tried.

But there can be no doubt, with this historic transfer of power today, that the very principles upon which our constitution, our laws, and our system of government are built are far stronger and far greater than the frailties and failures of anyone individual or group of people.

Today we chart a new course.

Today, we begin to restore faith, integrity, and honor to our government. It is our solemn obligation.

It will be our lasting legacy.

I deeply believe that public service is a noble and necessary cause.

For generations, indeed for more than two centuries, well intentioned, virtuous men and women have served our state well.

We cannot allow the actions of a relative few to tarnish all who serve, or more significantly, to discourage future generations from answering their call to service.

We must and we will recommit ourselves to ending the culture of corruption that has plagued our state for far too long.

To that end, my first order of business as the 87th Governor of Connecticut is to issue Executive Order Number One, which imposes strict ethics restraints on those who serve in state government.

It also creates a new public integrity officer in my cabinet - a person who will report directly to me and who will work with enforcement agencies on matters involving corruption, unethical practices, or alleged abuses of public authority. She will also aggressively educate and train state employees on both the spirit and letter of the laws regarding ethics.

Let the message be clear: From this day forward, if you are entrusted with public office, you will uphold the highest standards of public integrity and ethical principles.

Ours is a rich and proud history, and we will return pride to our state.

Connecticut will again be home to innovation, idealism, and integrity in government service.

To be sure, this is a time unlike any other in our state's history, and in many ways we have a most unique occasion to govern.

We should view our opportunity to lead as a gift --- a gift holding unlimited potential and promise for addressing long unmet needs and long-standing policy problems.

Let us not squander our opportunity, for there is too much work to do and too many pressing priorities ahead.

My administration will work steadfastly to create jobs and grow our economy.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be proposing new initiatives on the economy, education, and campaign finance reform.

We will also seek a spirit of cooperation and public service transcending partisanship.

We will work together to find common ground in philosophy and workable solutions to complex issues.

Before turning the page and moving forward, let me take a moment to acknowledge that these have been very difficult and trying times for everyone - including Governor Rowland and his family.

My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I ask you to remember them as well.

My pledge, as your new governor, is a simple one: I will work tirelessly, with honor, dignity, and civility in the days and weeks to come.

I ask for your support, your understanding, and your prayers.

But now we start anew.

And so the journey begins.

Thank you, and God Bless the Great State of Connecticut.