PRINCETON, N.J. – Jon S. Corzine was sworn in Tuesday as New Jersey's 54th governor, vowing that the "fiscal gimmicks" that have papered over the state's financial problems will no longer be tolerated.
The former Wall Street titan turned Democratic U.S. senator took the oath of office during an early afternoon ceremony. His swearing-in ended a tumultuous period in state politics that began in 2004 when Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned after acknowledging a gay affair. State Senate President Richard J. Codey had been acting governor since then.
"All New Jerseyans should know my resolve is to govern the state of New Jersey as one community with one future," Corzine told the crowd. "Like our nation, we are 'one state' under God."
Corzine, 59, beat Republican businessman Douglas Forrester by 10 points in November. The two spent more than $75 million, much of it their own money, making their contest the most expensive New Jersey governor's race ever.
There is a year left on Corzine's Senate term, and he selected Rep. Robert Menendez to succeed him. Menendez, 52, is to be sworn in Wednesday.
In his inaugural speech, Corzine stressed fiscal responsibility, saying that "every dollar squandered in violation of the public trust is a book not bought for a classroom, a prescription drug with a higher co-pay, meals-on-wheels not delivered, a road or science lab not built."
He has estimated that the state will face a $6 billion gap in the coming fiscal year budget that must be approved by July 1.
"Too often, for too long, under both parties, fiscal gimmicks have been invented, recycled, and reapplied to mask fiscal realities," he added.
Corzine went into politics after being ousted from Goldman Sachs, where he had been CEO, in a power dispute in 1999. He was elected to the Senate the following year. Now, instead of being one of 100 senators — and in the minority party — he heads an administration that will work with Democratic majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly.