Virginia's 73rd governor Ralph Northam was officially sworn in during his inauguration at the state capitol on Saturday morning.
RICHMOND — Virginia’s 73rd governor officially took office on Saturday morning, as Ralph Northam was sworn in on the steps of the state capitol in front of the General Assembly, and a packed crowd.
“This country is once again looking for Virginia to lead the way,” Northam said during his inaugural address. “Let us lead with humility and optimism; telling the truth, learning from history, and removing every obstacle to progress for all Virginians.”
Northam was sworn in, along with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring.
Delegate and Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-66th) of Colonial Heights opened the ceremony, calling a joint session of the General Assembly to order. After the invocation by Pastor Kelvin F. Jones, “America the Beautiful” was performed by Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir of Richmond.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center Boys and Girl Scouts from Sterling, and the national anthem was performed by Keith Ball of Grove Baptist Church in Portsmouth.
Northam, Fairfax and Herring all then took the oath of office, followed by the inaugural address by Northam.
In his speech, Northam outlined several of his legislative priorities like healthcare, public education, and gun control.
“The solutions to these problems are not easy, but we know what they are,” Northam said. “The way ahead starts with access to quality healthcare and public education for every Virginian, no matter who they are or where they live.”
Northam also called for the General Assembly to work together in a bipartisan fashion to find the solutions to issues like the heroin and opioid crisis.
“If we work together today, tomorrow will be better for all Virginians who have placed their trust in us to fight for them everyday,” he said.
Northam also pledged to “visit every city and county,” and “every public university” in the Commonwealth while he is governor, in addition to welcoming back all Virginian National Guardsmen and women when they return home from serving overseas.
After Northam’s address, representatives from Virginia’s Indian tribes performed a special blessing of the ground, after which the benediction was given by Rabbi Michael Knopf.
The song “Light of the Clear Blue Morning” was then performed by Marna and Macy, accompanied by Larry Bland the Volunteer Choir.
The Inaugural parade began after the ceremony, and was reviewed by Northam.
•John Adam may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-722-5172.