Governor Janet T. Mills, the first woman Governor of the State of Maine, took her oath of office this evening as two of her grandchildren looked on. President of the Maine Senate, Troy Jackson, (D- Allagash), administered the oath as a vocally engaged crowd cheered its approval at the packed Augusta Civic Center. The Center holds 5,100 people and there were few empty seats to be seen anywhere. This marks the end of punitive government that has crippled state government, denied the will of voters, and brought embarrassing publicity to Maine at a national level; both cable television and “The New York Times.” LePage left for Florida yesterday afternoon.
The Governor outlined an ambitious agenda for her administration that focused on inclusion rather than exclusion. “Today we rise and seek new adventures,” she said. She then produced a list of goals that included improved health care, better education to attract businesses, a children’s cabinet and solar panels on the Blaine House among some of them. Her goals were frequently interspersed with thunderous cheers and applause from the adoring crowd – especially so when women’s roles were mentioned – which at times appeared to stun her.
A large contingent of the Governor’s family attended the Inauguration. They had attended a reception at the Blaine House at 4:30 pm. before the Inauguration. Relatives came from all over the country and as far away as New Mexico. When Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap entered the Augusta Civil Center, his reception from the enthusiastic crowd was second only to the Governor’s. The crowd was cognizant of his role in the election last November and let him know its appreciation that he acknowledged with broad grins. Also in attendance, but less public. were two representatives of the Turkish embassy in Boston.
Governor Mills said she would replace the sign “Open for Business” put in place by her predecessor with – Welcome Home To All. “Our state needs to find common ground again. We all love our great state. So great things can happen. We are connected by rivers and streams,” the Governor said in one of her many references to the great beauty of Maine and her hometown of Farmington.
note: Thanks to Justin for his excellent directions, to the bookseller in Hallowell who assisted greatly with his directions out of Hallowell and to the family from Farmington who helped me find my car in the parking lot of the Augusta Civil Center following the ceremony!