Missouri inaugural features full day of events

Monday, January 14, 2013 | 8:56 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — Looking to the future amid an uncertain economy, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon proclaimed "A New Day for Missouri" after he was sworn in to office four years ago. When he takes the oath Monday for a second term, Nixon plans to look to Missouri's past for inspiration.

The Democrat is to be inaugurated at noon Monday as just the fourth governor in Missouri history to be elected to consecutive terms.

The celebration began Sunday with a private dinner for Nixon's supporters and wraps up Monday night with a formal ball. The events are projected to cost $180,000, with Nixon's campaign committee covering $150,000 and about $30,000 coming from state funds.

Nixon is starting Monday in church for a public worship service before participating in a traditional parade winding past the Governor's Mansion to the Capitol. There will be 10 marching bands from around the state, mascots for Missouri's major sports teams and entries from various military, police and fire departments.

The forecast calls for temperatures at or below the freezing mark when attendees sit down in the 3,840 chairs being placed on the Capitol's south lawn for the inauguration ceremonies. The officials will be seated on a raised platform heated from beneath their feet.

First will come the oaths of office for Missouri's other executives elected this past November — Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, Democratic Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander and Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Only Kander is new to his position.

After Nixon takes the oath with his hand on the family Bible, a 19-gun salute will be led by the 129th Field Artillery Regiment, the unit that once counted Missouri native Harry Truman among its ranks long before he became president.

Unlike four years ago, there is no slogan for the inauguration, said Nixon spokesman Scott Holste.

"There will be an underlying theme of looking back at Missouri history as precedence for finding ways to come together and move Missouri forward," Holste said.

Following his speech, Nixon plans a public meeting in his Capitol office with early childhood education officials — a means of emphasizing a second-term agenda that includes more funding for early childhood programs, longer school years for elementary and secondary students and more opportunities for them to receive free tuition at community colleges.

After his 2009 inauguration, Nixon held a similar public meeting with small business owners to highlight his commitment to economic development.

This year's inaugural also features a greeting line at the Governor's Mansion and free barbecue at a nearby hotel that is being catered by prominent restaurants in Kansas City and St. Louis. Two-thousand people are expected to pass through the food lines. The night will be capped by an inaugural ball in the Capitol, where the governor and first lady Georganne Nixon intend to follow tradition by dancing to "The Missouri Waltz."

Nixon, 56, is just the fourth Missouri governor to be re-elected — a feat that was not possible under the state constitution until the second term of Democratic Gov. Warren Hearnes in 1968. The only other governors to win re-election were Republican John Ashcroft in 1988 and Democrat Mel Carnahan in 1996.

Nixon said in a recent interview that voters have given him "a rare opportunity."

"As somebody who's been around this public service for over a quarter of a century, I am truly, truly excited and challenged by the opportunity," he said.

A native of rural De Soto in eastern Missouri, Nixon worked briefly as an attorney in his home county before winning an open state Senate seat in 1986. He won election as attorney general in 1992 and served there for a record 16 years before becoming governor. He generally has enjoyed political success, though he failed twice in bids for the U.S. Senate.

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