DENVER — Governor Jared Polis was inaugurated for the second time in front of the state capitol on Tuesday. The governor along with the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer were all sworn into office to serve another term in front of a crowd of hundreds.
The ceremony featured bands, choirs, a canon salute, a flyover from the armed forces and speeches.
What was left out
Polis’ address to the crowd was brief and did not offer many details into what his next term in office will hold. It also made no mention of the COVID pandemic that dominated the governor’s first term in office from executive orders to mask mandates, shutdowns and more.
The closest the governor got to mentioning the pandemic was a vague reference to the unpredictability of the past four years.
“With joy in our hearts, we take on the toughest battles, and we're going to one we ask what's next. Nobody could have predicted all that the last four years would bring,” Polis said.
However, it was the pandemic that earned the governor praise for his quick response but also criticism from many who disagreed with his actions.
The 12-minute speech also did not mention some of the key legislation that he signed during his first term in office like abortion protections or gun reforms. It also made no mention of wildfires, the likes of which were the biggest and most destructive in state history.
Instead, Polis’ inaugural address largely glossed over the last four years and briefly highlighted some of his accomplishments over the past four years.
What made it in the speech
In it, the governor touted free universal kindergarten and pre-k, lowering prescription drug prices, protecting Colorado’s climate and more.
The beginning was also a call for unity and an end to the election-denying conspiracy theories that have popped up over the past two years.
“That peaceful continuation of power based on fair and democratic elections should never be taken for granted. It is what sustains our republic year after year, decade after decade, century after century,” Polis said. “Colorado wants unity, not division. We want practical solutions. We want real results over partisan ideology.”
The governor also promised to focus over the next four years on affordability and bringing solutions to the real life challenges that Coloradans face rather than advancing a particular brand of politics.
“We're going to keep using every tool we have to help save Coloradans money. That means lower taxes, lower transportation costs, lower medical bills, lower business fees, and of course lower housing costs,” Polis said.
One of the biggest affordability challenges will be lowering the cost of housing in the state, something the governor said would be a priority in coming years.
Polis also promised to tackle crime head on by holding criminals accountable but also by preventing crime before it happens to make neighborhoods safer.
Finally, the governor spoke briefly about his focus on Colorado’s climate and bringing the state to 100% renewable energy by 2040. The state is already committed to moving to 80% renewable energy by 2030.
“Look, nothing about the task in front of us would be easy. If it were, it would have been done already. But here in Colorado, we don't ask for easy,” Polis said.
The governor’s inaugural ceremony will be capped with a sneaker ball Tuesday night. He will then address a joint session of the legislature for the annual state of the state address on Tuesday, where he is expected to lay out more of his specific priorities for this legislative session.