Texas Inauguration Day

Texas State Capitol in Austin
In Austin, Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst have been sworn in for new terms, and the 80th session of the Texas Legislature is officially off and running. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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This was the inauguration that came in from the cold. Because of freezing temperatures in Austin, the ceremony -- traditionally held outside at the state capitol -- was moved indoors to the Texas House Chamber. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson administered the oath of office to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst first, using a bible owned by Sam Houston.

"I David Dewhurst do solemnly swear, that I will faithfully execute the duties, that I will faithfully execute the duties, of the office of Lieutenant Governor, of the office of Lieutenant Governor, of the state of Texas, of the state of Texas."

Dewhurst, who is presiding officer of the State Senate, promised to make education and protecting children his top priorities. He called for longer sentences and lifetime electronic monitoring of sexual predators who prey on children, and death for repeat offenders.

"And God forbid you do it a second time. Prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty. Literally, two strikes and you're out, forever."

Dewhurst said he wants to build up Texas public schools to improve scholastic performance, reduce dropout rates and reward good teachers.

The Chief Justice then swore in Governor Rick Perry for his second full term.

"I Rick Perry do solemnly swear, that I will faithfully execute the duties, that I will faithfully execute the duties, of the office of Governor, of the office of Governor."

In his inaugural address, Perry called on the legislature and Congress to protect America's borders and take control of immigration, but do it with compassion for those who're only looking for a better life.

"We must secure the border with manpower, not unmanned walls. We must have a guest worker program that recognizes the economic contributions of foreign workers and the desperate conditions that bring them here."

If Perry completes his new term, he will be the longest-serving governor in state history.

It's been exactly 50 years since a Texas inauguration was held indoors. The last time was in 1957 for Governor Price Daniel. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.