Bishop Gelineau, Bishop Hunt, Reverend Miller, Rabbi Gutterman, and Reverend Shaw...
Governor and Mrs. Sundlun, former Governors, Members of the Congressional delegation, General Officers, Members of the Legislature, Members of the Judiciary, and the representatives of the cities and towns. And to all of you - the citizens of Rhode Island.
Before I begin my remarks, let me introduce to you my wife Marilyn, my mother, my son Lincoln and his wife Lynn, my daughter Amy and her husband Sam, and my three grandchildren, Zachary, Chase and Emily.
Like most Rhode Island families, we go through it all together, so my thanks to them for all their help and support.
Governor Sundlun, thank you for your years of service to our state. We will all remember your drive, your enormous effort during some tough times, and your desire to make things better for all Rhode Islanders. And let me add that you're a lucky man to have such a wonderful, talented and courageous partner as Marjorie. We all shared with you the personal tragedy of her accident. And we're so grateful for her recovery. On behalf of all Rhode Islanders, we wish you and Marjorie the very best.
This morning I attended an inaugural church service in Central Falls. When I was growing up there - some days that seems like a thousand years ago - I certainly never thought of standing before all of you as your Governor. But as I grew up and was fortunate enough to attend the University of Rhode Island, raised my family with Marilyn, served three wonderful terms as Town Administrator of Lincoln, worked for the Blackstone Valley Development Foundation, and then had the privilege of serving as your United States Attorney, Rhode Island became much more than just a place to live.
I am very proud and honored to have had the opportunity to serve our state. But I know our state has not been without its problems. Day after day, the morning paper brought some unbelievable scandal, or a story detailing gross mismanagement, or another insider special deal. Like you, I became concerned and increasingly upset at what I saw happening to our state.
It was just about 15 months ago that I stood inside the State House Rotunda and said that we needed to bring about real change, and that as Governor I wouldn't hesitate to go directly to the people to bring about the changes we need. And thanks to you, that time has come. I'm here today, not because of me, but because of you. And I want you to know I won't forget that over the next four years.
For too many years, the average Rhode Islander has felt disengaged and left out of the process of government. My commitment to you is that will change from this day forward. Let's all commit ourselves today to writing a new chapter in the long, proud history of Rhode Island. And let's begin by making it clear that everyone in state government is here for one reason and one reason only - and that is to serve the citizens of Rhode Island, and not the other way around.
We can and will change the way state government does business. For example, one issue that has divided Rhode Islanders is the proposed Providence Place Mall. An independent task force, at my direction, is currently reviewing the contracts for the mall project and the review should be completed this month. Tough decisions will have to be made. I promise the process will be open and any decision will be in the best interest of all Rhode Islanders.
Another issue facing us is the welfare of our children. I am committed to finding a new director for the Department of Children, Youth and Families --one who will be able to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the complexities of that troubled agency. For Human Services, I have already recruited one of the nation's leading experts in that field. We will make RiteCare work and we will address the crucial issue of welfare reform.
We will also change the way state government tries to attract new jobs. Too many of our children and grandchildren are leaving for other states. I'll work hard to change that so more of our own can still call Rhode Island home.
Economic development policy will see fundamental change. From my years of experience in the Blackstone Valley, I know the answer lies in state government and the business community establishing a true partnership - with the private sector taking the lead - to rebuild our economy. But let's not kid ourselves. Our first order of business has to be to improve our state's image. Let's send the message starting today that this is a new Rhode Island. That its elected leaders are committed to real reform and the highest ethical standards.
We have a beautiful state. Foremost, we have wonderful people, and among them, many civic-minded individuals who give much to their community. I know how much you care for Rhode Island and I know I will never feel alone or overwhelmed as long as you are there and continue to care for one another and the future of our state. We can only succeed by working together. We must convince ourselves first, and then those outside our borders, that we have turned the corner and our stock is on the rise.
More than anything, I want to give you a state government that you can be proud of. I don't have all the answers. No one does. But what I can and will do is to give it to you straight - push politics aside - and come to work every day for all the citizens of Rhode Island.
I've had the benefit of a wonderful transition team. Together, we have recruited a fresh new team and I am very proud of those who have come on board, and we are going to keep naming qualified people who share my commitment to change.
The transition is complete today. I know we are ready and anxious to get started. Thank you all very much for your support.
Secretary of State
You, James R. Langevin, being by the free vote of electors of this State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, elected unto the place of Secretary of State, do solemnly swear to be true and faithful unto this State, and support the Constitution of The United States; that you will faithfully and impartially discharge all duties of your aforesaid office to the best of your abilities, according to the law: so help you God.
You, Jeffrey B. Pine, being by the free vote of electors of this State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, elected unto the place of Attorney General, do solemnly swear to be true and faithful unto this State, and support the Constitution of The United States; that you will faithfully and impartially discharge all duties of your aforesaid office to the best of your abilities, according to the law: so help you God.
You, Nancy J. Mayer, being by the free vote of electors of this State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, elected unto the place of General Treasurer, do solemnly swear to be true and faithful unto this State, and support the Constitution of The United States; that you will faithfully and impartially discharge all duties of your aforesaid office to the best of your abilities, according to the law: so help you God.