AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick celebrated the inauguration of their third term of office together after handily winning re-election last November.
“This time-honored tradition exemplifies the Lone Star State’s unwavering commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy,” the inaugural pamphlet read.
“We are united in our vision of building the Texas of tomorrow. A Texas where, through hard work and determination, anyone can succeed.”
The members of the House and Senate being in attendance, a quorum was established for both chambers, and a joint session was opened by Speaker of the House Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills).
The lieutenant governor went first, being sworn in by his son, former District Court Judge Ryan Patrick. The recently retired Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) gave brief remarks commending Lt. Gov. Patrick’s record.
“Well, governor, we did it again. A three-peat,” Patrick opened in his inaugural address. “We still love God in this state … Jesus is King!”
Patrick highlighted what he thought made Texas special, suggesting the state stands as an example not only to the rest of the nation but to the rest of the world.
“We have the strongest economy on the planet,” Patrick claimed, referring to the over $30 billion budget surplus. “We are going to do a lot of great things for the people of Texas because it’s your money.”
Patrick noted his legislative agenda, including lowering property taxes, raising the homestead exemption, securing the border, expanding school choice, stopping the teaching of critical race theory, increasing funding to police, and strengthening the electric grid.
“The governor and I are all in on school choice,” the lieutenant governor declared.
As president of the Senate, Patrick exerts considerable control over the direction of the upper chamber.
“We are not in a battle between Republicans and Democrats anymore,” Patrick suggested. “The battle in this county is between powers and principalities, good and evil.”
“I will be relentless in our fight of good against evil,” Patrick concluded. “God bless you, and God bless the great state of Texas.”
Gov. Greg Abbott then took his oath of office, administered by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht.
Following the constitutional format, Abbott swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”
Cannons fired in celebration after the oath was taken, with the sound echoing across the marble building and the capitol grounds.
Speaker Phelan introduced Abbott. Phelan, who overcame an intra-party challenge to his speakership, makes up the final member of the so-called “Big Three” in Texas politics, which includes the house speaker, lieutenant governor, and governor.
“Thank you for the trust you have placed in me to lead this state for four more years,” Gov. Abbott said, taking the podium. “We are going to work together this session to keep Texas the land of opportunity.”
“Texas is America’s undisputed economic leader, providing pathways to all Texans,” Abbott said, noting that Texas is now the ninth-largest economy in the world.
“Made in Texas is the mightiest brand in the world.”
“Texas is great in so many ways,” the governor continued. “Texas is providing opportunity that people cannot get anywhere else … Everyone can succeed in Texas.”
“We now have the largest budget surplus that we’ve ever had in the history of our great state. But make no mistake, that surplus does not belong to the government. It belongs to the taxpayers,” Abbott continued.
His legislative priorities included lowering property taxes, improving infrastructure, and continuing to make Texas a place “where freedom and fortune are found around every corner.”
“Since our bipartisan reforms, no Texans have lost power because of our electrical grid,” Abbott asserted, noting that expanding and improving the grid will continue to be a priority.
Turning to education, Abbott asserted that “Texas is now the knowledge capital of America.”
“But we must remember this, our schools are for education, not indoctrination,” he continued. “Our schools must get back to teaching our students the fundamentals. We must reform curriculum back to learning the basics.”
“No one knows what is better for their child’s education than their parents,” Abbott claimed, referring to school choice.
“Those parents deserve the freedom to choose the education that is best for their child.”
“We will not end this session without making our schools safer,” he noted. “Public safety is a core priority for Texas.”
Abbott also condemned the administration of President Joe Biden, blaming the lack of enforcement for the historic increase in unlawful migration across the Southern board.
Suggesting also that the rise of fentanyl in Texan was the result of “Biden’s open border policy.”
“We live in a state of infinite possibilities,” Abbott said in closing. “We provide a ladder for anyone to climb from humble beginnings to the height of success.”
“May God forever bless the great state of Texas,” the governor concluded as a choir sang “Texas, Our Texas.”
Catholic Bishop Michael Olson from Fort Worth gave a blessing, and the Texas A&M Singing Cadets performed a retention of “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”
The joint session of the House and Senate adjourned while the University of Texas Band played the “Yellow Rose of Texas” as an exit march.
After the inauguration, the celebration continued on the other side of the capital, with the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) hosting the “Taste of Texas.”
The DFW area was represented by the Pelican House Restaurant, which served Cajun chipotle corn salad and BBQ brisket jambalaya.
Other participating establishments included George’s from Waco, The Spot from Galveston, SILO Elevated Cuisine from San Antonio, and Houston’s PHAT Eatery.
The festivities would continue throughout the day with a “Celebration of Texas” held that evening at the Moody Center.