Governor Tate Reeves took the oath of office today as the 65th Governor of Mississippi.
In his first speech, as Governor, Reeves reflected on the first time he took an oath of office in the state capitol. “I was just 29-years-old when I first took an oath in this capitol, to serve the people of this great state. The last sentence of that oath hit me hard on that day – ‘So help me God’.”
Reeves said, the call to action by the oath of office is not a commitment to be perfect. Reeves said, “It is a commitment to seek the guidance of the almighty God to compensate for our human frailty. Our forebearers in Mississippi governance were not perfect, but they perfectly scripted this oath, and as your Governor, you have my commitment to seek God’s guidance and God’s will in all that I do.”
Reeves took a few moments to look at the road ahead. “Here is my promise; this will be an administration for ALL Mississippi.”
Governor Reeves continued by highlighting the two priorities of his administration. Reeves said the first will be defending the loving culture that underpins quality of life. The second priority will be to grow the economy that lifts Mississippi families.
Reeves said, “A culture of love and kinship has knitted Mississippi families together and tied them to each other for ages. It is what makes us special in a fast-paced and transient world.”
Reeves said he would defend that culture against the erosion that frays societies. “I will work to make sure our state government’s functions reflect the love we have for each other. That will mean, taking care of foster kids. That will mean, getting special needs kids, the special help they need. And yes, it will mean, cleaning up corrections, to provide for the safety of our citizens, and the human dignity of all within the system.” Reeves also said there is a need to make sure that state government is not causing more problems than it solves.
Reeves also spoke about providing jobs for Mississippi families. “A growing, vibrant economy solves more problems than any government giveaway ever could. A government program helps for a month, but a good paying career helps a family for generations.”
Reeves said his mission is to spend every single day, creating a climate where good careers are plentiful while preparing Mississippians to pursue those careers.
Reeves said, to accomplish this goal, we must raise expectations. “It must not be our ambition to simply keep up with Arkansas or Alabama. It must be our goal to compete for the very best jobs in all the world. We can do it.”
Reeves emphasized workforce training as the key to obtaining competitive jobs. “I am committed to a history-making increase in workforce training in our state – a skills-based system that will be the envy of our nation”.
Reeves also asserted his plan to elevate public schools by saying, “That means a pay raise for every teacher.” Reeves said he has a new mission for Mississippi to have more national board-certified teachers, per capita, than any state in the nation. “It is a goal we can achieve and one worth achieving. We have done it before and we can do it again.”
Reeves said, “While we rebuild the way we train our workforce, from kindergarten, beyond high school, we will travel the world to find the job creators who want to be our partners. We will comb our state to find the companies that want to grow. We will lower barriers for innovation. We will do everything in our power to make sure, this is the easiest place in America to start and grow a business.”
Reeves, who served as State Treasurer and Lt. Governor, said, “The greatest preparation you gave me was the understanding that no Governor does this job alone. Leadership is an attitude of common purpose. It is the product of solidarity. It comes only when we all begin caring about each other, more than ourselves. That kind of leadership requires a sense of mission. Not just for our governor, and not just for our legislature, but a sense of mission for all Mississippi.”
Reeves asked every Mississippian to join him in that mission. “We must care about each other enough to overcome our differences. We must be faithful to each other enough to outlast our shortcomings. And, we must be committed to each other enough to raise our expectations.”
In closing, Reeves said, “When I first took that oath of office in 2003, I did not know how long my service would last. All I knew was that you, the people of Mississippi, had demonstrated a faith in me that I might never be able to meet. I have never underestimated your trust. I have never forgotten the oath to pursue service with the help of our God. I will wake up every day, working to bring us together, to make our state be all it can be. Work that can be done by all of Mississippi, for all of Mississippi.”