Gov. Bill Haslam stressed his accomplishments but accused Tennesseans of complacency as he promised a vigorous agenda in his second term.
The Tennessee Republican said the state had made vast improvements in education and job creation over the past four years. But he said the state’s standards have been far too low.
“We haven’t had nearly high enough expectations of ourselves,” he said. “In many ways, we’ve settled and haven’t lived up to our full potential. So, one thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line.”
A crowd of about 1,000 people turned out in front of the state Capitol on a warm-yet-windy day to see Haslam sworn back in. James Estep drove four hours with his wife, Whitney, and two young daughters, Izabelva and Zayvalee, from Claiborne County to witness the event and tour the governor’s residence.
“It’s an historical moment to have a governor that is from our area, East Tennessee, and actually be re-elected,” he said. “We wanted to be a part of that.”
Howitzers rang out to mark the occasion, and several dozen protesters gathered in the downtown. They dispersed shortly before the ceremony began.
“We let the governor know we won’t stop, we can’t stop until our message is heard,” said Antonio Cathey. “People over profit. Put the people first. We’re tired of struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. We’re tired of people going hungry.”
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee administered the Oath of Office. Country star Trace Adkins sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while Rev. Dr. David A. Bowen of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis gave the invocation.