Governor Rick Perry Celebrates with 6,000 of his Friends and Supporters

Where Opportunity Still Looms Large

Sometimes you just have to take a break! Bill and I did just that and travelled to Austin on January 18 to celebrate the inauguration of our Governor Rick Perry. We did not attend the Oath of Office Ceremony or the BBQ but were quite content with enjoying the evening Inaugural Celebration. It was easy to get caught up in the moment and have a good time with friends from the Republican Club of Comal County, Canyon Lake Republican Women, Bexar County and my blogger friends from TexasGOPVote (Houston and Dallas). We also met our friend’s friends and that was an added bonus. The music was entertaining and the mini pastries and fruit were delicious. There was also a cash bar, souvenirs and inaugural photos you could purchase if you so desired. The cost to attend the celebration was $75.00 per person. The Texas first lady Anita Perry chose to ‘redo’ her beautiful yellow silk dress instead of buying a ‘new’ one because of the economy. I doubt if she was the only one shopping in her closet this year. Six thousand Perry supporters came to enjoy it all!

Governor Perry was quite jubilant and declared that TEXAS was the best place in the Universe! He also said that the legislative session was to convene the following day at 10am ready to work on the budget and bills necessary to keep Texas great. I just could not resist, I sneaked in a friendly conversation with our state representative, Doug Miller, and asked him about some of the bills being presented this session. Patti Johnson, an active CIA, was one of Governor Perry’s 15 appointees to assist in the preparations of the inaugural festivities. She has a positive spirit, a constant smile and has a talent for organizing. She let me know that her neighbor provided some of the desserts. Not one penny was spent from taxpayer money to host this event. Patti has shared her account of the day’s festivities and I have included photographs taken by me for your viewing pleasure.

Notes from Patti Johnson

The Governor is required by the state constitution to appoint 15 citizens to his Inaugural Host Committee for the purpose of planning and instituting the inauguration of the Governor and Lt. Governor of Texas. The Lt. Governor also appoints 15 citizens to his committee and the two work together.

9:30 AM
The Prayer service was wonderful – the A&M Singing Cadets sang “The Presence of the Lord” and it was so sweet. Dr. Ed Young of Second Baptist in Houston led the Invocation and former Spur David Robinson led the Benediction. The Governor’s pastor, Mac Richard, delivered a strong message from the book of Nehemiah about “standing on the wall” and standing strong in the Lord – a great message for our great state’s leaders. Larry Gatlin sang “Great is thy faithfulness” and the service closed with the Cadets singing “The Lord Bless you and Keep You”.

11:00 AM
The third inauguration of Governor Rick Perry was indeed a great historic state event. Governor Perry was sworn in on January 18, 2011, as the state’s longest –serving governor in our history. He took his oath following the swearing in of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, under a large steel pavilion on the south steps of our nation’s largest (and tallest) state capitol. The theme was “Texas – where opportunity still looms large” and the draping of the pavilion was totally maroon, a salute to the alma mater of the governor – Texas A&M, hard to swallow for a UT-ex like me, but very moving nonetheless. It was the Sul Ross A&M cadets who formed the crossed sabers for the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House Joe Straus and President Pro Tem of the Senate Steve Ogden as the joint session of the Legislature was called into session for the sole purpose of swearing in the state’s two highest officials.

12:15 PM
Following the ceremony we went to the Governor’s Press Room on the second floor of the capitol, where tables had been set up and we had the barbecue luncheon that was also being served out on the now-sunny Capitol lawn. Red McCombs underwrote the entire luncheon so that it could be served free to anyone who wished to join the festivities. Ten thousand lunches provided by EddieDeen’s were served in less than two hours. And it was delicious!

And another first – the Inaugural Ball was changed from Black Tie and Formal to Business Suits and Cocktail dresses in acknowledgement to the economy, a change that I am certain thrilled all the men, and to a smaller venue at the Palmer Events Center, where 6,000 of the Governor’s best friends came to wish him well. Entertainment was provided by, notably, Pat Green and Clay Walker.

The night before the inauguration we were invited to a dinner at the Bob Bullock Museum honoring the committee and the people and companies who had sponsored the inauguration’s events. We were all so proud of the fact that not one penny of the Inauguration had been paid for by tax dollars – another historic first for the state – every penny had been donated, and the dinner was to thank those donors.

At each of these events Governor and Mrs. Perry thanked everyone for their service. They were solicitous and thoughtful, never seemed tired or in a hurry –just seemed happy to be there and grateful – an amazing family. And we met many people who had known them for years, who just reiterated what a great family they are.

If you weren’t there, we missed you and hope that in four years when we elect another Republican (or Rick Perry again!), hope you will attend. It is a great part of Texas history and will make you even more proud to be a Texan! It was an honor to serve on the committee, and I am indebted to Governor and Mrs. Perry for asking me to do so.



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