JEFFERSON CITY - Jeremiah W. "Jay" Nixon began his second term at noon Monday.
As the clock neared noon, Attorney General Chris Koster, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Secretary of State Jason Kander and Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder each took their oaths of office. Then, dignitaries and ordinary citizens alike waited as the bells of St. Peter's Catholic Church tolled 12:00. The bells stopped chiming early, only to start again just as Senate Pro Tem and Master of Ceremonies Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, began to introduce Gov. Nixon. The delayed chimes drew laughter from those present.
In his inaugural address, Gov. Nixon compared Missouri's current divided government with the condition of the state's government when he entered the state senate 30 years ago. Nixon said party divisions did not prevent compromise.
"We will put our shared principles ahead of our small differences, and work together for the common good," he said.
Nixon repudiated claims that Missouri's government is as divided as ever. He reminded the audience that during the Civil War, Missouri had two separate state governments. Nixon praised Missourians' resiliency in recovering from disasters ranging from the Civil War to the Joplin tornado. He said he pledged his oath of office to all "hard working, God-fearing" Missourians.
"Recognizing that there is a Republican majority and that we need to work together, I think that was the message," Dempsey told reporters after the ceremonies ended, adding he took that as "a positive step."
Nixon did not lay out any policy goals in his inaugural address. Dempsey said he expects he will do so in his State of the State speech on January 28.