Next week, when Governor-Elect Greg Abbott is sworn in as the 48th Governor of the State of Texas his inauguration will mark the first time in fifteen years that Texas will have a new chief executive. In December 2000, Rick Perry assumed the office of governor after George W. Bush’s resignation following his election to the U.S. Presidency. Since taking office, Governor Perry has presided over eight legislative sessions, vetoed 335 bills, and issued 80 executive orders.
Thanks to Texas’ colorful history, it also had numerous presidents during the Spanish Texas period (1691-1821), the Mexican Texas period after Mexico gained its independence from Spain (1821-1835), interim leaders during the Texas Revolution, followed by five presidents serving as leaders of the Republic of Texas (1836-1846). After annexation into the United States, James Pickney Henderson became the first governor of the State of Texas in 1846.
Through the Texas Legislative Reference library, you can explore not the executive materials produced by the Governors of Texas like messages, orders, speeches and proclamations (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/governors/search.cfm). Of particular interest this week though, is the Legislative Reference Library’s collection of inaugural materials from 1846 to the most recent in 2011. This inaugural collection includes the text of the inaugural addresses made by each governor since 1846, as well as special materials like programs of inauguration ceremonies and invitations to inaugural festivities.
Texans who glance through the words of the incoming governors, reading their goals and vision for the state may be surprised. Despite the great changes in all aspects of life in Texas, it is remarkable to see how Texas’ self-image remains unchanged: a steadfast sense of pride, devotion to independence, and fierce ambition for continued progress.