Welcome, Governor Ritter

Bill Ritter was sworn in this morning as Colorado’s 41st governor on the west steps of the state capitol. In his 15-minute speech, Ritter stressed his commitment to renewable energy, education and health care reform – all cornerstones of his campaign pledge, dubbed the Colorado Promise.

“You have my word and how you have my solemn oath,” Ritter said. “I will work every day to fulfill the Colorado Promise for all Coloradans.”

Ritter invoked the state’s history of pioneers and said their spirit is still alive and well in Colorado.

“I report back to you from the thousands of Coloradans I have spoken with over the past two years that we remain true to our legacy. We are still a bold and daring people with a frontier spirit, hardy and well-meaning, brimming with hope about what lies ahead,” the new Governor said. Ritter thanked his family and outgoing Governor Bill Owens. While discussing his appreciation for all public servants, he snuck in a mention of snowplow drivers, drawing one of the few laughs of his earnest speech.

With today’s inauguration, Democrats are now in control of the governorship and both houses of the legislature, but Ritter insisted Republicans will be included.

“We have a rare opportunity over the next four years to bridge the partisan divide and move all of Colorado forward,” he said. “This is about hope and unity, not about Republican or Democrat. It’s about possibilities and promises, not right versus left.”

“Our task today is to build on our strengths and successes,” Ritter said. Our task is to think big, to be bold and to take risks. To ask, ‘Why not?’ I believe that Coloradans are up to the task.”

Inaugural week schedule

Tuesday: Ritter began his day with an 8 a.m. mass at Holy Ghost Church in Denver. After the inauguration ceremony, he greeted the public in a receiving line in the capitol rotunda.

Thursday: First State of the State speech.

Friday: Evening inaugural celebrations at the Colorado Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Saturday: Whistle-stop train tour from Greeley to Pueblo.