INDIANAPOLIS – After being sworn in, the governor took time to reflect on Indiana’s past and the successes of its pioneers.
On Monday, in the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Gov. Eric Holcomb was inaugurated along with other statewide officeholders.
“We are the pioneers who will take our state to the next level,” Holcomb said. “And I’m chomping at the bit to start!”
During his inauguration speech, Holcomb described how Monday marked the 51st time that a new administration has taken the oath. He said this made it an appropriate time to reflect on Indiana’s past and to look ahead to its future.
Holcomb’s speech focused on Indiana’s forbearers and the trails they made as the state’s pioneers, mentioning Eli Lilly, Madam C.J. Walker and Gus Grissom, as well as modern pioneers of Indiana like the late Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut.
“What all of these pioneers have in common are the same traits that have been part of our DNA for 200 years: self-reliance, grit, a can-do attitude, a sense of fairness and a spirit of generosity,” Holcomb said.
He said sharing strengths doesn’t come naturally for Hoosiers because they also share the trait of humility. Instead, he said Hollywood does it for them in movies like “Breaking Away” and “Hoosiers.”
“They’re all stories of perseverance, of David not just taking on but slaying Goliath, of the underdog punching above its weight class through hard work, utilizing their strengths, playing by the rules, getting the basics right,” Holcomb said. “That’s become our story, the Indiana story, and what Indiana has globally grown to be known for.”
He went on to share what he called Indiana’s many successes such as having sound finances and keeping about $2 billion in reserves in a rainy day fund all while maintaining a low cost of living and housing.
Despite the state’s momentum and good standing, Holcomb said there is no place for complacency or distractions.
“Rather than ease up, we must hammer down and maintain that pioneer spirit,” Holcomb said.
In addition to recognizing his wife Janet during his speech, Holcomb thanked the two governors who helped him land his new job in office, former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Holcomb worked with Daniels as his deputy chief of staff and managed the governor’s 2008 re-election campaign.
Then in March 2016, Pence selected Holcomb to become his lieutenant governor. Pence’s decision to join Donald Trump’s presidential ticket then catapulted Holcomb into the governor’s race.
After the ceremony, Daniels admitted that 12 years ago when he was inaugurated, he did not expect his campaign manager to become the future governor of the state, but he praised Holcomb for sharing a similar leadership style of never settling for mediocrity.
“His agenda will be different. There will be new people and there already are,” he said, “but I hope that if there’s a point of continuity, it’s that attitude.”
Students of Hanover College, Holcomb’s alma mater, performed at the inauguration. The Hanover College Choir opened the ceremony with the national anthem and closed it with “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Auditor of State Tera Klutz, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, Attorney General Curtis Hill and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch were also sworn into their positions at the inauguration.
All of the officeholders sworn into office Monday, like the secretary of state and treasurer of state, are Republicans.
Quinn Fitzgerald is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.