Texas Governor's Inauguration Rivaled Only by That Other One in WashingtonOpinion
AUSTIN, TX — Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were sworn in on a cloudy morning on the north steps of the Texas Capitol building in Austin in a ceremony that was both grand and friendly at the same time.
Unlike previous Texas inaugural ceremonies, Tuesday’s celebration took place on the north side of the Capitol building beneath a huge Texas flag with VIP seating flanked by bands from the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
The day included a military flyover of what appeared to be four F-15 aircraft and a 19-gun salute after Gov. Abbott was sworn in. The cannon fire echoed among the downtown Austin high rise buildings. The first cannon shot shook the ground and for a split second I thought it could’ve been a bomb but the rhythmic booming continued and I realized it was the cannon salute commemorating Gov. Abbott’s inauguration.
If Gov. Abbott decided to run for President of the United States, the pomp and circumstance of this event would be a perfect precursor to that endeavor. It was very Presidential.
I also saw a famous face in the crowd I couldn’t quite place. After a Google search, I found it: entrepreneur and founder of the Patron Tequila Company John Paul DeJoria was there among the politicians, celebrities and the rest of us.
At one point, I watched a young man with a mysterious backpack pacing back and forth among the attendees. He looked out of place. Really out of place. My first thought was the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I realized I could be part of a ‘soft target.’ Although we didn’t go through security to get on the capitol grounds, there was a large presence of uniformed and plain clothed officers including Texas Rangers, DPS Troopers, Capitol Security and many I’m sure I wasn’t aware of. I was growing concerned. That young man looked nervous; shifty and like was high on something.
Some of the people standing near me were commenting that for the first time, the DPS was using drones for our safety. A glance skyward seemed to confirm their comments.
Sure enough, there were at least four drones flying over the ceremony and knowing that you have to have a permit for that kind of thing, I began to feel a little better. There were individuals on surrounding rooftops, one of which looked like a DPS Sniper. I saw a sheriff standing near me from some unknown Texas county. He was wearing all black including a cowboy hat and body armor. He was armed. I relaxed even more when I realized there was a huge visible and covert security presence at the inauguration.
Then I realized that I was standing outside the capitol when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick arrived. I took his picture. As I brought my camera down, I saw another familiar face; Chuck Norris (famous martial arts actor and star of Walker, Texas Ranger). Norris was there supporting Lt. Gov. Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott. So I felt fine. Nobody messes with Chuck Norris. I was so star struck I didn’t get a picture. Patrick introduced Norris during his remarks. Patrick said he asked organizers of they would put a Texas Ranger behind him on stage. They put Cordell Walker there. That was Norris’s character on his TV show ‘Walker, Texas Ranger.’
The ceremony itself was designed to show unity among Texas government’s top three leaders. Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick were joined by newly-elected House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. All three pledged to work together to fix skyrocketing property taxes, give teachers a $5,000 annual raise, and reform the public school finance system.
President Donald Trump’s name was never mentioned but Lt. Gov. Patrick said the unity and ability to work together in Texas should be an example for those in Washington. Patrick said the legislature last session passed 1,600 bills and only 23 of them were voted along party lines. Patrick noted that’s 99 percent bipartisan support.
The Texas legislature reconvened Wednesday morning to continue the 140 day session to tackle those issues.