Iowa Public Television


Governor Chet Culver's Inauguration

posted on January 12, 2007

Note: If this video does not play, you may need to download the free RealPlayer video plugin for your web browser.

Borg: Today marks a transition in state leadership as Governor elect Chet Culver is officially sworn in as the Iowa's 40th governor. From Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, join us for the inauguration.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Dean Borg. We're going to be during the next two hours watching the inaugural of the Iowa's 40th governor, Chet Culver, and Lt. Governor Patty Judge. The visitors are arriving here, have been since about 7:00 this morning and braving the weather conditions today which turned a bit sour overnight, but it isn't deterring the crowd because they're beginning to file in here and taking their seats in Wells Fargo Arena.

During the next few minutes before the actual swearing in takes place, we'll have some pomp and ceremony, including the convening of a joint session of the Iowa general assembly, and you'll watch as they're filing in here a little bit later. We're not just broadcasting this inaugural statewide on Iowa Public Television, but thanks to the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, this broadcast is also being streamed, video and audio, on the web at In addition, we're broadcasting statewide today on Iowa Public Radio.

And with me from Iowa Public Radio's statehouse bureau, Jeneane Beck. Jeneane, this is part of a continuation of inaugural ceremonies that actually are already underway. Some of it's informal. Some of it's entertainment, dancing. This is a little bit more formal because there is an actual oath of office here.

Beck: That's right. In fact, the oath of office today is part of a string of events that occurred to really make sure that he is governor -- that Chet Culver is governor. Of course you have the election in November, but then after that the joint session convenes to canvass the election, to certify it, in a sense, to make sure he received enough votes and that he is governor and that he takes the oath of office today.

Borg: That certification is taking place right about now across the street at the Hy-Vee Arena.

Beck: The Hy-Vee Hall, exactly. They're meeting in joint session, and then they will file over here to enjoy the inaugural ceremony.

Borg: Now, I said informal. There was dancing and entertainment last night in Iowa City. In fact, Chet Culver is referring to this as a statewide event. He doesn't just want this to be centered, obviously, in Des Moines. He wants it branched out to Iowa City. Had some entertainment there last night, along with a train ride.

Beck: The train went from Des Moines to Iowa City, stopped and picked up residents along the way in towns like Newton and Grinnell and made its way to Iowa City where Al Green performed. There was a lot of festivities. Today this is the formal part of the event, but it continues the rest of the day, of course, with Taste of Iowa at Hy-Vee Hall across the street, and then later at the statehouse, an open house for the afternoon so that people can meet the new governor.

Borg: Does the legislature have any role today? I know they're canvassing and letting Chet Culver know, yes, you won election. They're doing that right now, but they'll just watch in the ceremony here.

Beck: They are not on the stage. They don't have a formal role. Senate President Jack Kibbie has a role as does House Speaker Pat Murphy. They have a role on stage, but the majority of the legislators are here to enjoy the ceremony, to watch, and then make their way back home. Actually I think many of them will stay in town for the ball tonight, which is at the Varied Industries Building on the State Fairgrounds.

Borg: Jeneane, we want to let our viewers and listeners know that in the music that leads up to the events here, the Hoover High School choir is performing and we're going to pause and listen to them. Anna Wolf is the conductor. This is a combination of three choirs within Hoover High School, which is on Des Moines' northwest side. She's in her second year at director. She's a native of North Dakota. The Hoover High School choir.

[ Choir singing ]

Borg: You just heard the Hoover High School choir under the direction of Anna Wolf. This is Rob Tully, who is familiar in Iowa politics. Rob, we may hear another musical selection here, so we'll pause in our conversation if that's true. You ran for second district congressman. You were chairman of the Iowa Democratic party -- and I know that the choir is beginning again, so we're going to listen to them.

[ Choir singing ]

Borg: Again, the Hoover High School choir from northwest Des Moines. We'll resume our conservation now with Rob Tully from chair of the Iowa Democratic party. For the Democratic party, this is a big day.

Tully: Oh, it's a big day and it's a big day for Iowa, of course especially the party. But we're really pleased that we've elected another Democratic governor, and Chet Culver, we believe, is going to be a great, great governor.

Borg: This isn't something, Rob, is it, that is two Democratic governors in a row in Iowa -- it's been a long time coming. How long has it been? Do you remember?

Tully: I think we have to go back at least -- man, you go back into the '50s for that. And you know, the beautiful thing about this is we lost the presidential this last time, and the party reenergized itself and said we're not going to let this happen again. But you also have to remember that Chet Culver did an absolutely wonderful job both as Secretary of State but as a candidate and energized a whole new group of voters that ultimately ended coming out to vote, and that's the young people. We had more people young people vote in this last election ever in this history of Iowa, and a lot of that has to do with Chet Culver getting out and with his program and travelling around the state and energizing kids to get involved. He's our first Generation "X" elected statewide official, so we're going to see some interesting things. He certainly has a lot of energy, and he's going to do a great job.

Borg: Another interesting thing as you were describing the firsts here, we have some -- I don't know that we've ever had before two of the people being inaugurated today coming out of the Iowa executive council already having served in state offices, Secretary of State for Chet Culver, Secretary of Agriculture for Lt. Governor Patty Judge.

Tully: Absolutely. You know, that experience is really going to go a long way. The executive council in and of itself makes a lot of decisions for Iowa. And quite frankly, with that experience under their belt, that puts them that far ahead in this process.

Borg: How significant is it also for the Democratic party overall for future elections to have the continuation -- it's been called often the trifecta. That's a gambling term and I'm not sure that you want to call it that, but the trifecta, what it's referred to means you hold -- the party holds the governor's office, the executive branch, as well as control the legislative branch.

Tully: I'll help you. We'll call it the hat trick since we're in the Wells Fargo Arena, but that's going to go a long way because, as I said, we were disappointed in losing Iowa to the Republicans in the presidential. We now have a foot hold to build on what we've done this year in this past election and to take us into 2008 and hopefully elect a new president and a Democratic president.

Borg: Rob, any other observations about today? As you were chair of the Democratic party, is your job pretty much over as chair? I know yours is personally. But as chair is the job pretty much over after the election, or does it continue now through the inaugural and so on?

Tully: Well, here's what I'll tell you. The Democratic party -- I hate to use this has as an analogy, but it's kind of like they never let you quit. So we'll continue it to work. We're exciting about the upcoming years and especially about a young, energetic, hard working governor that we're going to have in Chet Culver and Patty Judge as Lt. Governor. I think this is going to be a good next four years.

Borg: And my question too, did you have any role in the inaugural at all as you were chair?

Tully: No, the party doesn't have it. Pretty much it is Governor Culver and Lieutenant Governor Judge and their staff that they've put together and their transition team pretty much has to take care of it. So he has a lot on his plate, but as you can see from having events all around state, which I think is eventful in and of itself, they've done a great job.

Beck: What do you think about the job inaugurals are held as you have observed them? There's a different tone in every governor as he and his staff and spouse actually plan the inaugural. Any observations about the tones of inaugurals that you have observed?

Tully: Well, I think one thing that you'll see with their -- and this is something that I think Governor Culver will show in his administration. He likes to get as many people involved as possible, and so he made it more open, more accessible, more down-to-earth type events. And I think that's reflective of his personality. He wanted to include not just here in central Iowa and make everybody come here, but to Sioux City and Iowa city. So he really did a great job.

Borg: The Hoover High School choir has been performing while would we've been talking, and they're going to have another number now, so let's go down and join them.

[ Choir singing ]

Beck: We are live at the Wells Fargo Arena for the inauguration of Chet Culver as he becomes governor today officially of the state of Iowa. I'm actually on the stage here in the arena for just a few moments before the dignitaries come in. Down here on the floor it's a little bit cooler because this floor underneath is ice and they have put just boards over it because tonight at 7:00 the Iowa Stars have a hockey game here. So they've been joking, some of the staff, that they call it the inaugural on ice.

You've been listening a little bit to the Hoover High School band. The significance of that is that is the school in which Chet Culver taught for many years. He was a high school government teacher and also a football and basketball coach at Hoover High School. That's why we've been listening to their music this morning. Right in front of me in this seating arrangement are many of the new staff members, some holdovers from the Vilsack administration.

We have the dignitaries here with us this evening. From the left to right you start with Iowa Workforce Development David Neal. You see Cindy Peterson, interim director of cultural affairs. We have Artigent General Ron Dartus. Rich Leopold is right behind him, and he's the new director of DNR, Department of Natural Resources. We have Charlie Krogmyer, who is Department of Administrative. So a lot of his staff is on hand this morning, to watch him become Governor. Dean?

Borg: Thank you, Jeneane. I think we'll go back down and listen now to the Hoover High School choir as they sing this very patriotic song.

[ Choir singing ]

Borg: The Hoover High School choir from northwest Des Moines. As Jeneane Beck mentioned, this is the place where the governor-elect, soon to become governor, Chet Culver, taught government. You're listening to coverage of the inaugural of Chet Culver and Patty Judge on statewide Iowa Public Television and statewide Iowa Public Radio. My colleague from Iowa Public Radio, Jeneane Beck, is down on the arena floor. Jeneane, you as you look at the staging, I'd like to have you describe it and the significance. We discussed it before and I think pretty much agree it somewhat looks like the statehouse itself.

Beck: It's very grand, Dean. You have six gold pillars and they look like the ones on the front of the state capitol building. In the center, you have the green emblem of the Culver/Judge ticket. Green were the color of their yard signs and apparently remains their choice of color today. It almost looks like a state seal or something. It's got the golden dome on it, so they really wanted to bring the feel of the capitol to the arena. There are chairs on the stage available for seating, of course, for Governor Culver, for Patty Judge who's Lt. Governor, for Governor Tom Vilsack and his family, and also for Senate President Jack Kibbie and House Speaker Pat Murphy, who will have a process this morning in the swearing in. Of course, the stage is covered in beautiful flowers as well, Dean.

[ America the Beautiful ]

Borg: You just heard Megan Bobo, a native of Des Moines now living in Los Angeles. She now lives in Los Angeles, a native of Des Moines. She has quite a professional career going. In fact, you may have seen her on American Idol. She made it to the top 24 about a year or so ago. Megan Bobo from Des Moines.

That's the Iowa National Guard band that you hear now. They actually convene in Fairfield, Iowa. Their director is Chief Warrant Officer James Goodwin. He lives in Runnells but the band members come from all over Iowa. They rehearse every drill weekend, that's monthly, and they rehearse in the Fairfield Armory.

I talked this morning with Chief Warrant Officer Goodwin. He said they give 50 to 60 performances annually. The band was actually formed, surprising to me, in the late 1800s. Then around World War I, just after that, it disbanded for a time and reorganized again in 1948. 61 Members of the Iowa National Guard. This is an audition band, that is members of the Iowa National Guard try out for the band. Then if they make it in, they rehearse in Fairfield, monthly. Jeneane is down on the floor and I think has some additional observations.

Beck: Well, the procession has begun. A few family members have made their way up to the stage. The procession will includes more than 200 guests this morning. Not all of them, of course, will be seated on the stage, but many important guests, including Congressmen, U.S. Senators, members of the Iowa legislature. So a lot of dignitaries will be coming through this door this morning and be seated either on the stage or right below it so that they have a really good view of the swearing in ceremony for Chet Culver. I now see, Dean, if you can still hear me, that Senator Tom Harkin is about to make his way in. I can see him at the front of the door. He is joined by, I think as I peek out, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who is running for president as a Democrat so is a special guest here today.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, United States Senator Tom Harkin and United States Senator, Christopher Dodd. Ladies and gentlemen, the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court. Ladies and gentlemen, justices of the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Borg: As the Supreme Court justices were filed in here, they were led by the new Chief Justice, Marsha Ternus, originally from Vinton, now of course living in Des Moines, appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1993 by Terry Branstad. She's the first female Chief Justice of the court. The Court of Appeals also were ushered in. The Court of Appeals appeals trial court decisions that have been transferred from the Court of Appeals by the Supreme Court.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary of State Michael Mauro and Mrs. Dorothy Mauro.

Borg: We're seeing now members of the Iowa executive council, newly elected Secretary of State Mauro and Mrs. Mauro.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, Attorney General Tom Miller.

Borg: Tom Miller walking in solely.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey and Mrs. Cindy Northey.

Borg: Bill Northey, the newly elected Secretary of Agriculture, taking the position left vacant by Patty Judge.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, State Auditor David Vaudt and Mrs. Jeannie Vaudt. Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Robert Ray and Mrs. Billy Ray.

Borg: Former governor Robert Ray, governor from 1969 to 1983. He's had a long career, served as interim mayor of the city of Des Moines, president of Drake University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Des Moines. Now here's former governor Branstad, native of the Forest City - Lake Mills area. He served three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives and served as Lieutenant Governor before being elected Governor in 1983. He served until 1999. Now here's the outgoing Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson. She's a native of Vinton, a graduate of Iowa State University, former executive of Meredith Cooperation in Des Moines where she was Senior Food Editor for Better Homes And Gardens. She served two terms with Tom Vilsack.

Floor announcer: Governor Tom Vilsack, First Lady Christie Vilsack, and their son, Jess Vilsack.

Borg: And the Vilsack family, Iowa's 30th Governor, elected in 1998, first Democratic Governor in the state in more than thirty years. He said from the very beginning two terms and I'm out, and he kept his word.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the honorary Colonels of the National Guard.

Borg: A number of men and women walking in now who have been named Honorary Colonels in the Iowa National Guard, probably as I count them here -- and the line is still coming through the door, probably -- I can't see as far as the line goes back through the doorway, but I would estimate we've seen a good, 20, 25 march in already, both men and women, and they're still coming through the doors. These are honorary Colonels as you've heard of the Iowa National Guard, names too numerous to mention and they still are coming through the door that goes out into the hall here in the arena in downtown Des Moines.

Floor announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2007 Inaugural Joint Assembly of the Iowa State Legislature, led by President of the Senate Jack Kibbie, Speaker of the House Patrick Murphy, along with Senator Mike Gronstal and Representative Kevin Mccarthy, Representative Christopher Rants, and Senator Mary Lundby.

Borg: You heard the introduction, 150 members of the legislature. They've been in session now only a week. They convened on Monday at the Iowa statehouse. It was a ceremonial week, you might say. They heard the governor's Condition of the State address on Tuesday. They heard from the Supreme Court Justice, Marcia Ternus, on Wednesday. They've been conducting business during the week but pausing for these ceremonial events, today the biggest event of all, the swearing in of the Governor. And they'll work under the executive branch leadership coming from Chet Culver.

Chet Culver actually will present a message to them today with the vision for the state of Iowa, but the facts and figures and budgetary items will come later in -- and then Chet Culver's Governor's budget address to the Iowa legislature. That would have been combined into the Condition of the State address, which Governor Tom Vilsack gave that past Tuesday, but since he is leaving office it's not appropriate for him to suggest how the state's budget should be compiled and enacted by the Iowa legislature. So that's up to the new Governor, Chet Culver, and he has to live with it. So his budget address expected later in January or early February. When that date is set, Iowa Public Television will bring you live coverage of the Governor's budget address to the Iowa General Assembly in a date yet to be determined.

Members of the Iowa legislature still filing in through the door. It takes a while for 150 members to get in and be seated. As we mentioned earlier, this is actually a joint session of the Iowa General Assembly. They're convening here this morning and they're the ones that will conduct this inaugural, presided over by Senator Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg. They have been in session, as we mentioned earlier just a few minutes ago, across the street at the Hy-Vee building. And they canvassed the votes and officially notified Governor Chet Culver that he was elected, and now they come across the street and participate in the inaugural. Jeneane Beck is down on the floor.

Beck: Dean, the legislative procession has just about wrapped up. Those members are taking their seats. It's been interesting over the last few days to speak with members of the legislature about their relationship with Governor Chet Culver. Democrats, of course, are boasting a very strong relationship with the Governor, and they feel they'll have a less formal relationship with this Governor. When they wanted to meet with Governor Tom Vilsack, they often had to schedule formal meetings, possibly weekly meetings, but they really feel like with this Governor they'll get phone calls on the fly, they can call him up, they can stop by his office. They feel they'll have a very informal and strong relationship with him.

Borg: I would say part of that, Jeneane, is because the Democrats are in control of the Iowa legislature and he, of course, is a Democrat, so it's going to be a more congenial conference.

Beck: That's true. In the past if he wanted to meet with both parties, it did need to be a formal meeting because he wouldn't want to leave Republicans out of the meeting for fear that they would have hard feelings. And you can't have hurt feelings at the legislature or good legislation doesn't get passed.

Borg: A bit of a pause here now while we anticipate that the Joint Assembly will be convened. And as I said earlier, the Senate President, Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg, and the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Pat Murphy in Dubuque will be on the stage and actually will be convening this joint session.

Beck: And, Dean, Jack Kibbie is at the microphone now about to speak.

Kibbie:   The Joint Convention will be in order. Will the legislative inaugural committee consisting of the senator from Polk, Senator Deardon, the senator from Story, Senator Olive, the senator from Warren, Senator Apple, the senator from Tama, Senator Putney, the senator from Polk, Senator Ward, and the senator from Osceola, Senator Johnson, on the part of the Senate, the representative from Boone, Representative Donovan Olson, the representative from Palo Alto, Representative Freeburt, the representative from Story, Representative Wessle Proshell, the representative from Polk, Representative Jacobs, and the representative from Polk, Representative Raecker, on the part of the House, retire and escort the governor-elect Culver and the Lt. Governor Judge to the convention. The convention will stand at ease until the fall of the gavel. The committee will perform their duty.

Borg: Interestingly that Senator Kibbie was in office in 1965 when the Democrats, as they do right now, had control of both chambers of the Iowa legislature and the Governor's office at that time. And you'll recall that it was Harold Hughes who took office at that time. That was just after what maybe the historians might call the Goldwater debacle in the November election nationally. And Democrats, some of them who never even thought they would win when they put their names on the ballot, at least here in Iowa, were swept into office. I remember calling the following morning after the election results were in and the Democratic tide had swept over Iowa. I called the new Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Owen -- Ken Owen, and I asked him about his vision and plans for the new office that he had just been elected to. He just -- well, his words were to me were "I had no idea, I never expected to be elected." Well, that was the class that Senator Kibbie of Emmetsburg came into. He had a 20-year break from the legislature when he lost in 1968, as many Democrats did in subsequent years after having been elected in that surprise in 1964 and taking office in '65, but then he ran again in 1988 and Jack Kibbie. And Jack Kibbie now has a long tenure in the Iowa Senate and now presides over the Senate as President. Jeneane?

Beck: They want to make sure this time as they hold the trifecta that they hold it a little longer, Dean. They were only in power in all three seats a very short time, I believe, in the 60s, so this time they're hoping that they can hold onto that majority in both chambers a little longer than a year or two. It looks like the Color Guard is standing by. They should be entering in just a few moments. In fact, I think that's what is next.

Kibbie:   The chair recognizes the Sergeant at Arms.

Sergeant at Arms: The committee to escort Governor-elect Culver and Lt. Governor-elect Judge has arrived.

Kibbie:   Please escort the committee to their seats. The chair recognizes the Sergeant at Arms.

Sergeant at Arms: Mr. President, Chief Justice Ternus has arrived.

Kibbie:   Please escort the Chief Justice to her seat.

Borg: Chief Justice Ternus now being escorted in. I told you about her earlier. She's a native of Vinton. The first female Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Tom Vilsack made reference to that earlier this week as one of the great accomplishments during his tenure, although she was on the court.

Kibbie: The chair recognizes the Sergeant at Arms.

Sergeant at Arms: Mr. President, Lt. Governor-elect Patty Judge, her husband, former state Senator John Judge have arrived.

Kibbie:   Please escort the Lt. Governor-elect and her family to their seats.

Borg: Arm in arm, Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge soon to be sworn in as Iowa's Lieutenant Governor. Her husband, as you heard, former state Senator John Judge. Farmers in south central Iowa. She's a former Secretary of Agriculture. No stranger to event like this or to Democratic politics. She's been at many inaugurals. Now she's about to take the oath of office as Iowa's Lieutenant Governor. Up on the stage embracing a number of the people who are already in chairs on the stage and taking their seats there now.

Kibbie:   The chair recognizes the Sergeant at Arms.

Sergeant at Arms: Mr. President, Governor-elect Chet Culver, his wife, Mari Culver, and their children have arrived.

Kibbie:   Please escort the Governor-elect and his family to their seats.

Beck: A very warm welcome for the Culvers. The crowd is now on their feet. This is the moment they've been waiting for, to watch their newly elected governor make their way into the arena. Young children that haven't lived in the mansion, so the house is undergoing some renovation so that the new first family can move in in January because there haven't been young since the Branstads moved into the mansion. I know staff has told me it will be fun to have children back in the mansion again. It brings a new liveliness to the home. Of course, the Governor has to stop and greet people on the stage. He has a lot of people to thank today for helping him get here today. It been many years in the making as he has had a desire to run for office, I believe, since he graduated from college, became a government teacher, and then moved on to the Secretary of State's office.

Kibbie:   The joint convention will be in order. Will all please stand for advancement of the colors, the pledge of allegiance, and the national anthem.

Beck: As the Color Guard makes its way in, the state flag of Iowa and the United States flag. Four members of the color guard this morning.

Borg: This is Sergeant Jeff Downing. Two sons, Brian and Justin, were active duty Marines all in Iraq all at the same time. We're going to hear the pledge of allegiance. Jeff was a Des Moines fire fighter, made it home from that deployment without injury. Son, Brian, now 23, was caught in a fire fight, shot in the leg, suffered a hearing loss. He has recovered and sent back overseas. He's been wounded again. The other son, Justin, now 21, was injured by an improvised explosive attack in that first deployment. He's not out of the service, and word has it that he's going to be back on a third, seven-month deployment to Iraq this is Sergeant Jeff and Kimberly Downing.

[ Pledge of allegiance ]

Now the national anthem will be sung by sisters Emily Nichols and Carolyn Nichols-Haugland. These two sisters share an honor. They've both been Miss Iowa. Emily is the current reigning Miss Iowa.

[ National anthem ]

Borg: Two sisters from Iowa, Emily and Carolyn. Carolyn graduated from Iowa State University.

Father Polich: Let us pray. O loving God, on this day we offer you praise and thanks. We thank you for the blessings of life and liberty that you have granted to our nation and especially for the blessings you have given to the people of Iowa, the beautiful land, for the beautiful land between two rivers. On this inaugural day, we pray especially for Chet Culver and Patty Judge.

We ask that you endow our new leaders with the gifts of faith, wisdom, courage, and justice. We bring for the virtue of faith, that we might be convinced of your great love for us and that this conviction may inspire us to love one another and to believe in each other. We pray for wisdom that our leaders' decisions in guiding our state may be based not on political expediency but on the common good of the people of Iowa. We pray that you give them courage to undertake the challenge of their public office with enthusiasm and that you give them the strength to work vigorously for the benefit of the people.

We pray for justice, that they may be fair and impartial in their decision and that they may do what is right for all people including the weak and vulnerable members of our society, the poor, the homeless, the immigrants hoping to share our freedom, and especially those seeking to be born, that they too may be given a chance to become citizens of this great state. Armed with the virtues of faith, wisdom, courage, and justice, may these leaders bring to our state an effective government that produces lasting peace, security, and prosperity for all the citizens of Iowa. Continue to bless them with your goodness and love and grant what we ask for in faith today.

Borg: That was Father Polich, St. Augustine Catholic church in Des Moines. Now we'll see students come to risers. It appears that a poem will be read next.

Kibbie:   Please welcome the Waverly Poem Kids, who will perform a special inaugural reading.

Borg: They're going to risers here. It appeared they were a choral group, but they're actually going to read a poem, first performed this summer at the Bremer County Fairgrounds during the Culver campaign. It's been updated now for the inaugural.

Kids: We are Iowa kids and we say with great cheer, inauguration day is finally here.

Chet worked hard and crisscrossed the state to convince the adults to participate.

We are proud our parents are taking a stand and supporting what's in the Culver/Judge plan.

Now we will take a minute or two and tell you what Governor Culver will do.

He'll work to clean our lakes and our streams so a swim and fresh fish are no longer a dream.

A teacher and a coach of great dedication, he knows the power of public education.

He truly believes in the land of the free; every child should work for a college degree.

And instead of depending on foreign oil, we will use wind and products from Iowa's soil.

Health care for all and hunger for none; he will work until the job is done.

The Culvers have a family tradition of serving our state to improve its condition.

It's time to get busy. There's much to do. The kids of this state are counting on you.

It doesn't matter what party you're in. When we work together, all Iowans win. So from all of us kids, we say congratulations! We are proud to support the Culver administration!

Borg: Well, they certainly caught the hearts of the audience here at the arena. Fifteen teenagers from Waverly schools, ages three to thirteen I'm told, gender and ethnicity balanced, all in white shirts with green ties, leaving the risers now.

Kibbie:   It is my pleasure now to present the Honorable Marsha K. Ternus, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, who will administrate the Oath of Office. Her husband, former state judge, will assist.

Judge: I, Patty Judge, do solemly swear that I will support the constitution of the united states and the constitution of the state of Iowa and will faithfully and impartially and to the best of my knowledge and ability discharge the duties of the office of Lieutenant Governor of the state of Iowa.

Beck: Patty Judge now stopping to hug and kiss Chet Culver after her oath of office.

Kibbie:   It is my honor to present the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, Patty Judge.

Beck: As she steps to the podium, a standing ovation.

Judge: Thank you all. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank all of you very, very much. It's very humbling to be here before you today. I want to thank Governor Vilsack, Governor Branstad and Governor Ray, Lt. Governor Pederson, Zimmerman, Anderson, Lt. Governor Corning, Chief Justice Ternus, thank you very much. Members of the court, distinguished elected officials, especially my great family, part of whom are here on the stage, all the friends that are here with us today and fellow Iowans across the state, it is such an honor to be here with you this morning and to be sworn in as your Lieutenant Governor.

First of all, I want to extend a special thank you to my friend and partner Chet Culver. Governor-elect, I want to thank you for believing in me and putting this Culver-Judge team together. It's going to be a real pleasure to serve with you. I also want to take a moment and thank Governor Vilsack and Lt. Governor Pederson for all the hard work they've given our state for the last eight years and for the friendship and support they've shown to Chet Culver and I in this transition.

Now, I'm not Iowan. I was born here. I went to school here. I married a guy from my hometown. I raised three sons here. They're all on the stage here with us today, and they are now all raising their own families right here in Iowa. I've worked on an Iowa farm. I've been a nurse. I've owned a small town business. I've served as a community volunteer and as an elected representative for my friends and neighbors in the southern Iowa community that I call my home.

As your Secretary of Agriculture for the last eight years, I've also traveled thousands of miles in Iowa and I visited communities in every part of the state. I've met the most incredible people. Iowans who share the pride I feel in our state and who demonstrate that pride every day. For families, their farms, and their communities.

As Iowans, we share common ideals no matter where we live. I believe -- we believe in taking care of our families and educating our children. We believe hard work leads to success. And we aren't afraid to roll up our sleeves. We believe in working together and we believe in helping our neighbors. And most of all today, just as it was since the settlers crossed the Mississippi and came to our state, our one Iowa believes the future is unlimited. Thank you.

Now, I ran for political office for the first time at a time when our state was reeling from a farm crisis that left families losing their families and main street businesses closing their doors. In truth, I made that run for the state senate because I was really mad. And I decided one day that I should go to Des Moines and tell all those people just what I thought. But even in those dark days, my friends, Iowans saw the future's light on the horizon. And today I can tell you without reservation, there's never been a time in the history of our state that has been so exciting and when the future has shined so brightly.

Chet Culver and I come to our offices at a time when the bio-based industry is just beginning. Who would have dreamed even a few years ago that we could power our cars and trucks from corn and soybeans, we could generate our electricity from the wind, and create new healther food and more environmentally friendly crops from grown here in Iowa. For this Iowa farmer, that is exciting stuff. The entire country is buzzing over opportunities renewable energy offers in breaking the stranglehold or foreign oil.

Iowa is the leader today because a lot of hard working people across this state believed you could run an engine on corn or soybeans when others said it can't be done. Well, we proved we could do it. To all of those who made renewable energy a reality, I say thank you.

But I also say to you, what are we going to do next? We developed ethanol and soy diesel first. That is just the beginning. The world is not standing still. We must work hard and make smart choices to continue the progress in the bio industry and this emerging bio economy. Already we have the emergence of bio mass opportunities. One of the first biorefineries in the country is being built in Emmetsburg, and every time I drive through this state, I see more and more wind turbines lining the sky. As your Lieutenant Governor, I intend and look forward to continue advocating for clean environmentally friendly fuel and new innovative materials from the products we produce best in the state, those that grow from our rich soil. Thank you.

We are so blessed. Nowhere else on earth is there such abundance. Our soil and water makes us the breadbasket and now also the fuel center, not just of our country but of the entire world. With this abundance comes responsibility, and we must work to protect the soil and to protect and improve our water supplies, leaving this place even better than we found it for our children and our grandchildren.

We have faced problems in Iowa as we work toward that goal, and sharp divisions have been drawn that have pitted neighbor against neighbor. We must work through those divisions, and we must bring Iowans together. It is time to engage in long-range plans that will allow us to both enjoy a healthy economy and to improve our environment. We will do this together as one Iowa. And as we transform not just Iowa's economy but the economy of the entire nation from a petro carbon based to one that is based on renewable crops.

We cannot forget that Iowans, first of all, must be safe, safe in our homes, our schools, and our places of work. The events of 9/11 five years ago in New York and Washington D.C. changed forever the way we think about our security and the way we respond to threads whether caused by human or nature. For the past five years I have been closely involved in emergency planning for the state and on a national basis for security of our food supplies. Governor Culver has asked me to continue that work and to take an active role in homeland security and emergency management. Working in partnership with our capable staff and the Iowa National Guard, we will make certain we're ready to respond to any emergency or threat to the citizens of the state of Iowa.

Ensuring safe, healthy, and productive lives for all Iowans is a very lofty goal but this administration, my friends, will be about big dreams and big ideas for one Iowa. Iowans made a choice. You chose to make Chet Culver your Governor and me your Lieutenant Governor. In turn, I chose to be standing here today rather than home on the farm, because I absolutely believe that together with you, Chet Culver and I can accomplish great things for the state we love.

We know it won't be easy. There will be those who tell us it can't be done. There are those who tell us it's never been done that way before. Well, let me tell you something, Chet Culver and I are people who do not believe in the concept of the impossible. What we do believe -- what we do believe is that when good people decide to join together for a common cause, the future is unlimited.

Now, life is full of challenge. I am aware of the challenge I'm about to take is one of the largest I will ever face. And being entrusted with the position that affects the lives of nearly three million people is something to be taken seriously. At times in my life when faced with difficult challenges, I have remembered and thought about the words of a favorite Bible verse, and I want to leave you with those words today because I believe that passage clearly sums up the challenges and opportunities we will see in the next four years. The verse is from 2nd Corinthians, chapter 9, verse 8: "It is God's power to provide you richly with every good gift, thus you will ample means in yourself to meet each and every situation with enough to spare for every good cause." Again, thank you very, very much.

Beck: That was Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge giving her first speech. I think judging from her speech, you can tell she's going to play a prominent role in this administration. She's the fourth woman Lieutenant Governor. She has already been a part of Homeland Security briefings, will remain front and center on that issue, and has already been sitting in on new appointments of new directors. So she's going to play a very big role in this administration. President Jack Kibbie now stepping back to the microphone.

Kibbie:   The choir will perform The Quest Unending.

Beck: This is the Gay Men's Chorus from the Des Moines area, directed by Rebecca Grueber. Approximately 35 men from central Iowa, they've performed for about eight years. They performed at the last inaugural too. [ Choir singing ]

Beck: That's the Des Moines gay men's choir. They performed four years ago for Governor Vilsack's second inauguration. We now move back to the stage with Senate President Jack Kibbie making a few remarks before the swearing in of Governor Culver.

Kibbie:   It is now my pleasure to present the Honorable Marcia K. Ternus, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, who will administrator the oath of office to Governor-elect Chet Culver. His wife, Mari Culver will assist.

Beck: She is stepping forward to give the oath of office to Governor Culver, who will put his hand on a Bible that was given to him by his wife, Mari Culver. So it was a family gift from his wife. She will assist by holding up the Bible for him.

Culver:   I, Chester J. Culver, do solemly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Iowa and I will faithfully and impartially and to the best of my knowledge and ability discharge the duties of the office of Governor of the state of Iowa.

Beck: A hug and a kiss from his wife and now a standing ovation. He's bending down to hug his small children. That's a far reach for him. He's a tall guy. He's now hugging his father, former U.S. Senator John Culver. Other family members as well. Final handshake from Senator Mike Gronstal and Senator Jack Kibbie stepping back to the microphone.

Kibbie:   It is my honor to present the honorable Chet Culver, Governor of the state of Iowa for his inaugural address.

Culver:   Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Today is the greatest honor of my life. And I want to thank Iowans for their confidence, their support, and their prayers. I also want to thank God for the many blessings in my life. Chief Justice Ternus and members of the court, Speaker Murphy, and President Kibbie, majority leaders Gronstal and Mccarthy, minority leaders Lundby and Rants, members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, including Governor Ray, Governor Branstad, Senator Harkin, Senator Dodd, my good friend Tom Arnold, and to everyone who is here today, I am honored with your presence. Lieutenant Governor Judge, thank you. Thank you for being my running mate and my partner in this administration. I am very fortunate to have you by my side. The people of Iowa will be well served by your experience, passion, character, and common sense.

To my fellow statewide elected officials, agency directors, and the thousands of dedicated state employees, thank you. Governor Vilsack and Christie, may God bless you and your family in the days ahead. Christie, you have been a great First Lady and your commitment to literacy will be not be forgotten. And Governor, thanks to you, the foundation has been laid and and we have made real progress because of your outstanding leadership and hard work. I want to take -- I want to take this moment on behalf of the people of Iowa to personally thank you, Governor, for your eight years of dedicated service. You have done an incredible job and we have grateful for that. Thank you, Governor. I would also like to that thank Lieutenant Governor Pederson and her husband, Jim Autry. You and your family have brought grace and class to this very important position.

To my staff, my family and friends who are here, I can't thank you enough for your loyalty and friendship and to my parents, thank you for the guidance that you give. I'm a very fortunate and grateful son. I love you all very much. My mother and my stepmother, MaryJane and, of course, my father, John. And I would like to thank my father for the example that he has set for me.

Now, most importantly, I would like to thank my First Lady, Mari. Mari, thank you for your unconditional love and your support. And to my wonderful children, words cannot express my love for you and I am very proud of both of you. And let me just say, Team Culver, this is going to be a very fun journey for all of us. Finally I would like to thank General Dartus and the brave men and women of Iowa who are serving our nation in uniform. We are very proud of and you we thank you for your service to our country and to our state. Thank you.

And if you haven't figured it out already, I love Iowa. This land between two rivers is blessed with people of strong character, a history that is rich. And as the Native Americans who came before us said, a beautiful land. My fondest childhood memories are docked along the banks of the Mississippi River near Mcgregor. As I kid I remember going out in my fishing boat, Chet's charter, and enjoying the magnificent surroundings. Some of my ancestors settled just north of there and our family lived there for many years. We had a house on the bluff overlooking the river, and when you looked down the valley of the mighty Mississippi, you get a real sense of the awesome landscape and vast history of our state.

The constant movement of the river also reminds us that things are changing all the time. It rises and falls, freezes and thaws, yet emerges strong and powerful generation after generation. Right now, Iowa is experiencing much of the same change, and with it comes the opportunity for a new era of greatness.

As some of you may have heard a time or two, I was once a high school history and government teacher. But -- but I am also a student of history. In my classroom I would remind my students of the ebbs and flows in our history as Iowans, I think we could do much worse than to learn from the lessons provided by those who have come before us.

Our state has always been a state of explorers and pioneers. Chief Black Hawk and the Native Americans taught us how to live off the land. Marquette and Juliett were the first Europeans to navigate the Mississippi River in 1673. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark made their famous expedition up the Missouri River along our state's western border. These explorers were fearless but they faced obstacles but showed great courage in their pursuit.

Today I think we should challenge ourselves to emulate their commitment to pushing the limits of discovery. These visionaries were undaunted by the practical challenges of the day. They were guided by their faith, their hopes, and their dreams, even when no one gave them a map. One of my heroes, John F. Kennedy, also believed in the importance of exploration and the relentless pursuit of a new frontier. He challenged us to win the race to space saying, we choose to go to the moon and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

Well, my fellow, Iowans, this is our time. It is our time to accept the challenge to explore and discover Iowa's unlimited potential. It's our time to win the race to become the energy capital of the world. Let us invoke the lessons previous generations of explorers and leaders have taught us. Let us all come together and leads our own 21st century Iowa expedition. You know, there is an energy frontier open before us, and we must explore it immediately. America and the world are counting on us. Simply put, we cannot afford to duck this responsibility.

It's time for Iowa to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. It's time to create the jobs of the future that will keep your children and my children at home in Iowa where they belong. It's time to make the entire state a laboratory so we remain on the cutting edge of all forms of renewable energy.

We will protect the land, the lakes, the rivers, and the streams that we all love; however, with the right balance, we can harvest rewards beyond our wildest imagination. Our value-added opportunities allow us to take from the earth more than once because we are blessed with the best soil and most productive farmers in the world. In addition, we have a tradition of great scientists like Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug and a world class education system that nurtures our talents. We have already led the nation with bio diesel. Now we must maintain that leadership with the eyes of the world upon us, we must prepare for the next generation energy economy, and let's do it in Iowa.

And here's what we're going to do. We're going to create an Iowa power found to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development. This will ensure we can lead the way not only in alternative fuels but in geothermal biomass, wind, and solar energy. It's time for Iowa to become the first state in the nation to declare our independence from foreign oil. We can do it in Iowa.

Now, the great news is we are already on our way, whether it's to production of soy lubricant in Waverly, the development a biorefinery in Emmetsburg, the manufacturing of corn-based plastics in Clinton, the wind farm just south of Mason City, the wind storage project in Dallas County, the new biomass option of burning oat hulls from Cedar Rapids instead of hull from Wyoming in Cedar Falls.

Iowa is on the frontier! Our dreams of an amazing future one of energy independence, prosperity, and a quality of life second to none are within our reach. I know we can turn our dreams into a reality.

There's another important lesson. We must take from those daring souls who have come before us. They understood the importance of working together to get the job done. So to the 150 dedicated Iowans who will serve in the 82 General Assembly, I say this, may our inevitable disagreements reflect deep conviction but not contempt, honest difference but not divisiveness. Let's work together in a sincere and inclusive way to create and build one Iowa. After all, we serve the same Iowans and they are counting on us and our future depends on us working and getting along. We can and we will fight to do that together. Thank you.

And I want every Iowan to know in all 99 counties that we need you. It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican, a Democrat, or independent. It doesn't matter whether you live in rural Iowa or urban Iowa, whether you're a new Iowan or a native, whether you're young or old. What does matter is that we lock arms for the common good and tap our gold mine of potential. Together, together we will continue to move this great state forward.

However, to achieve this, we who serve must remember to respect the will of Iowans. They have spoken and they expect results. They expect us -- they expect us to achieve our amazing potential in renewable energy. They expect us to raise the minimum wage and reward those that are working hard and trying to earn a decent living. They expect us -- they expect us to renew our commitment to educational excellence by expanding early childhood education, getting teacher pay to the national average, and making college more affordable for our young kids. They expect us to ensure that every child in this state has health care, to save lives by increasing the tobacco tax, and to give hope to the sick by lifting the ban on stem cell research. And Iowans expect us to pay tribute on our seniors and veterans by showing them the dignity and respect they have earned.

They also expect us to find ways to support and encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners. Let's try to give them a break on their commercial property taxes and help them with the skyrocketing costs of health care. They are the ones who create the jobs across our state and they are asking and need our support as well this session.

And Iowans also deserve and expect a government that reflect their values. They are right to expect us to be smart with a buck and to balance our checkbook the same way they do. And they are right to demand ethical, accountable, and open government. And Governor Ray taught us an important lesson. Iowans expect us to encourage, not shy away from the diversity that makes us a better state. In addition -- in addition, we should never tolerate hate, especially in the form of bullying and threats in our workplace or in our schools.

Finally, I believe we have an obligation to make the most of this important moment in Iowa history, to explore and harness every bit of potential we have, but a Governor can't do it alone. That is why today I am asking for your help, especially the next generation of Iowans. Everyone has a role to play in our 21st century Iowa expedition. On Monday we will honor a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King led Americans into action when he said that everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

Well, Dr. King was right. Dr. King was right. Every single one of us can play an important role in this new expedition, and I'm asking for you to please join us starting here today. While I care deeply about the challenges we face, I have an even greater faith in Iowa's promise. Let's work together and build one Iowa, and in doing so we will achieve the greatness that we all know is possible.

So as we go from here, let us always remember this is our time, much is expected of us, and our future in Iowa is unlimited! Thank you very much. God bless the great state of Iowa, and god bless each and every one of you! Thank you!

Borg: Standing ovation here at the Wells Fargo Arena now for the new Governor Chet Culver as he goes down the line of those who are on stage, shaking hands. Jeneane, there's a strong, strong message there. Details still lacking but I imagine that will come in the budget message.

Beck: This was really about vision versus details. He talked about his vision for Iowa, wanting to start a new trend of discovery, following Lewis and Clark's trail of discovery but this time looking for the ethanol revolution in Iowa -- or energy revolution in Iowa. "I'll Make Me A World" will be sung by Effie Burt. She wrote this song in 2000 for an annual African-American celebration.

[ I'll Make Me A World ]

Borg: That's really a second official state song adopted by the Iowa legislature, by Effie Burt of Waterloo, to inspire younger citizens to stay and make their homes in Iowa. We're going to hearing just shortly the benediction to end the ceremony here by the Reverend Keith Ratliff.

Kibbie:   The benediction will be offered by the Reverend Keith Ratliff of Maple Street Baptist Church in Des Moines. Would you please stand.

Beck: He's a prominent minister in Des Moines and a spokesperson for the NAACP. A prominent member of the Des Moines community.

Ratliff: Lord God, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. From everlasting to everlasting, thou art our God. We thank you, Lord, for this auspicious occasion as the torch has been passed. We thank you, Lord, for the leadership of former Governor Thomas Vilsack and Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson. We ask that you continue to lead their steps and their future endeavors. And we pray for your continued blessings upon our 40th Governor of this great state, Chet Culver, and the Lieutenant Governor, Patty Judge. For let the spirit of great Iowans and great Americans overshadow their efforts as you overshadow us, o Lord. As we enter into the Dr. King holiday, always remind us that true peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is also the presence of justice. So, Lord, continue to bless our Governor Chet Culver and our Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge and their families for the tasks and road ahead. Bless them that they might be a blessing to others. Lead them that they might help others. Strengthen them that they might yet strengthen others. For those that pray in the name of God and for those of us that pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Borg: Well, that concludes the Inaugural ceremony. Just a few things left here now to actually close this joint session of the Iowa legislature formally, Jeneane. What a strong reaching out to various components in Iowa to unify and to, as he said at one point, link arms and go forward.

Beck: I think just to various members of different communities across the state, young and old, but also various political parties. That was met with a standing ovation, so clearly there are members of this community here today that want to see everyone join together.

Borg: I think he got the message in the last election that people across the country seem to be tired of gridlock in government and he's trying to break it or at least say I heard what you said.

Beck: It seemed like the legislature turned and applauded that. Maybe they heard what he said as well, Dean, and heard what the voters said in November.

Borg: He was very strong and spent a lot of time talking about energy and energy independence and Iowa actually being able to lead the nation if they would just take the challenge.

Beck: Not only he but the Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge focused on that as well. So I think we can clearly see that is going to be the biggest focus of this administration is energy independence, making Iowa the first state in the nation to be energy independent.

Borg: Really, that took more time than education.

Beck: That's almost a first for a Governor in Iowa to talk about something other than education. He mentioned it and affordable college and early childhood.

Borg: Jeneane, thank you so much for being with us today, and thank all of you for joining us too. On behalf of the dozens of Iowa Public Television production people who made this telecast and broadcast possible, I'm Dean Borg at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Good day.

Tags: Chet Culver Democrats governors inauguration Iowa politics