Jennifer Granholm, Michigan's first female governor, used her inauguration to call on constituents to serve their communities - and pointed to her groundbreaking election as evidence that they can make a difference.
"I stand before you as living proof that the door is open to every single one of you in this room," she said in her inaugural address Wednesday. "Any one of us can run for office, and every one of us can elect to serve this Michigan family."
Granholm was one of three governors sworn in on New Year's Day. Former Clinton administration Cabinet member Bill Richardson took office as governor of New Mexico and George Pataki was inaugurated to his third term as governor of New York.
Granholm, who had been the state's attorney general the past four years, attended an interfaith church service before her inauguration. She called her milestone election "a great message for our daughters and our sons that everybody can be governor."
She said the first job of her administration will be tackling a budget deficit that could approach $2 billion in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. She has to present a spending plan for that budget to lawmakers by mid-March.
In his address, Richardson outlined a proposal for a 6 percent increase in teacher salaries next year. He also said his administration would immediately begin performance audits of all state agencies to identify potential budget savings.
During his campaign, Richardson outlined a broad agenda that ranged from a reduction in the state's personal income tax and elimination of the tax on groceries to tougher penalties for drunken driving. But Richardson began his four-year term confronting an uncertain financial outlook, with New Mexico's economy producing only modest growth in tax revenues.
"Do not judge me on my promises," Richardson said. "Judge me on my results."
Pataki also faces fiscal problems, both from the national recession and from the aftereffects of the Sept. 11 attacks. In Albany, he called for unity and nonpartisanship to overcome the "historic, grave and daunting" economic problems facing the state.
"Today, 16 months after the attacks, the dust has long since settled, the fires have been extinguished, the rubble is gone," Pataki said. "And yet, the challenge isn't over; we still face a crisis."
"Make no mistake, the challenges before us are the most difficult our generation has ever faced," the 57-year-old Republican said.
Pataki gave no hint of how he proposes to cover revenue shortfalls estimated at up to $10 billion over the rest of the 2002-03 fiscal year and in fiscal 2003-04, which begins on April 1.