Gov. Huntsman sworn in for second term

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Team coverageJon Huntsman was sworn in for his second term as Utah's governor this morning, along with Utah's other statewide office holders.

This year's inauguration was a scaled back affair, thanks to the frosty economy. Perhaps symbolically, it also happens to be the coldest day of the year. It was 18 degrees outside. It was so cold, they were passing out hand warmers. The children from Rose Park Elementary noticed that fact. They were grateful to have the hand warmers.

The Republican governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and auditor were all sworn in on the stairs outside the Capitol. Holding the ceremony in the Capitol rotunda, as originally planned, would have cost about $150,000 for lighting, sound and other expenses.

The inauguration was scaled back in response to a scaled back economy. The usual black-tie inaugural ball was canceled too.

This is just an example of the financial responsibility that the governor says he intends to continue during his final term in office. While state law doesn't mandate term limits, Huntsman says he won't seek a third term.

The governor's theme of pulling together in tough economic times seemed quite timely. Huntsman said, "As a state, we are known for our commitment to volunteerism and outreach to others. These innate strengths are needed like never before."

Despite a tough budget expected for 2009, Gov. Huntsman says he's committed to keeping up funding, especially in the area of teacher salaries. "I think by the end of the next three to four years, we can actually reach, if not surpass, the national average for teacher salaries," he said.

In energy, the governor sees opportunity to become a hub for renewable energy: Working toward creating the infrastructure to support wind, geothermal and solar distribution.

In health care, the governor says he wants to bridge the gap between those who are insured and those who aren't. He plans to start by supporting wider CHIP coverage.

"In a very real sense, the decisions that we're making today won't be felt by the people who are hanging around today. They'll be felt by the next generation," he said.

While Huntsman's first term was marked by record economic expansion, his second term already is different. The state is rapidly shedding jobs and next year's budget is expected to shrink by $1 billion.

Murray's "American Idol" David Archuleta sang the national anthem. The ceremony included prayers by local religious leaders, and a flyover by the Utah Air National Guard.

When it was all over, for some, the highlight was clear: David Archuleta.

The governor promised the school kids in attendance that the inauguration event would be historic, the first time outside, and mercilessly short. His speech was less than 10 minutes, the entire event lasted about a half hour.

Meanwhile, across town this morning was a similar ceremony inside the cozy confines of the Salt Lake County government complex. Democrat Peter Corroon was sworn in for a second term as Salt Lake County mayor. Also sworn in were the new Salt Lake County Council members, which include some new members and switches from a one-seat Republican majority to a one-seat Democratic majority.


(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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