By Rich Griset and Brittany Daniels
VCU Capital News Service
RICHMOND, Va. – On an unseasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, Robert F. McDonnell was sworn in as Virginia’s 71st governor.
Thousands descended upon Virginia’s capital to witness McDonnell, Lt. Governor William Bolling and Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli take their oaths of office.
“I kept my first promise – I said that it would be warm and sunny on my inauguration day,” McDonnell said.
Stressing the importance of restoring jobs, increasing energy resources and opening up higher learning opportunities, McDonnell echoed his campaign platform during his inaugural speech.
“As we confront the worst economy in generations, the creation of new job opportunities for all our citizens is the obligation of our time, so all Virginians who seek a good job can find meaningful work and the dignity that comes with it,” McDonnell said.
He spoke of the need to harness Virginia’s natural resources and, by doing so, create jobs. “We will make Virginia ‘the Energy Capital of the East Coast,’ ” McDonnell said.
After McDonnell was sworn in, the 29th Army Band struck up John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” concluded by a Howitzer 19-gun salute and a flyover by four F-22 Raptors from the Virginia Air National Guard 192nd Fighter Wing.
Following the flyover was a performance of song and dance by representatives of eight Virginian Native American tribes and a parade featuring participants from more than 40 organizations.
Among the attendees was J.C. Cancelleri, a 53-year-old lawyer from Hanover who went to Regent University with McDonnell.
“I watched him go from the House of Delegates to attorney general to governor,” Cancelleri said. “It’s grand. It’s a beautiful day.”
Jenny Robertson, a 28-year-old student at Regent University in Virginia Beach, worked for McDonnell’s campaign.
“McDonnell talked a lot about the economic conditions, encouraging us to step up,” Robertson said. “It’s a new start … a new hope for Virginia.”
Bob Marcellus, a 45-year-old commodity trader from Goochland, was on McDonnell’s transition team.
“Bob is a forward-looking guy, I think he’ll be one of the most proactive governors we’ve ever had,” Marcellus said. “It’s a great day … I don’t think it could have been any better.”