- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 15, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG — Timothy Michael Kaine was inaugurated yesterday as Virginia’s 70th governor before a shivering audience wearing plastic ponchos to ward off winter rainfall that did not dampen the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony.

Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. asked Mr. Kaine to repeat the oath of office as first lady Anne B. Holton held the Bible. The swearing-in was punctuated with 19 shots from Colonial-era cannons.

In a 15-minute speech that covered the state’s history, the achievements of today and a view toward tomorrow, Mr. Kaine touched on themes of courage, opportunity and community.

“We will lead boldly and manage wisely. We will protect the liberties endowed by our Creator. We will affirm that family and faith is our bedrock, hard work our way and education our path to progress,” said Mr. Kaine, a Democrat. “When we are true to that promise, we will succeed and truly honor the legacy we inherit.”

Mr. Kaine, who defeated Republican former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore in November, also congratulated the newly inaugurated Republicans who will serve with him for the next four years — Lt. Gov. William T. Bolling and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell.

Mild temperatures dropped to frigid by 11 a.m., as raindrops fell on the guests witnessing the swearing-in from bleachers in front of the reconstructed Colonial Capitol. Inaugural staff quickly passed out clear plastic ponchos that women pulled over their fur coats.

“This is a glorious day,” said Mr. Kaine, who was not wearing a poncho or coat over his gray morning suit. “The weather is to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.”

The new governor praised a visibly emotional outgoing Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat who leaves the state with a high approval rating he is expected to exploit in a 2008 presidential bid.

The 140 members of the General Assembly — many dressed in ponchos — sat on risers behind Mr. Kaine and former governors Sen. George Allen, James S. Gilmore III, Charles S. Robb and A. Linwood Holton, Mr. Kaine’s father-in-law.

Mr. Kaine, 47, said he will focus on providing accountability, strengthening education and easing gridlock.

“I seek the help of all Virginians, regardless of party or region, race or religion, in keeping the promise of Virginia,” he said. “Ours will be a nonpartisan Virginia agenda that includes all.”

Mr. Kaine, who spent a year in Honduras as a Christian missionary, delivered a portion of his speech in Spanish, promising a “fair and inclusive” administration.

Moments later, he signed six executive orders, the most notable of which adds sexual orientation and military veterans to the state’s nondiscrimination policy.

He also evoked famous Virginians, from Thomas Jefferson to Pocahontas, giving a preview of the Jamestown 2007 celebration for the state’s 400th birthday.

Along the inaugural parade route, volunteers in Colonial-era clothes served cider in front of taverns built in the 1700s, and families stood under umbrellas to see fife-and-drum corps and college marching bands from across the state, their feet stamping in the mud.

Re-enactors representing Patrick Henry and Jefferson, the first and second governors of Virginia and the last two chief executives to take the oath of office in Williamsburg, delivered remarks to the crowd before the inauguration.

Inaugurations have been held in Richmond, the state capital, since Jefferson’s ceremony in 1779. The swearing-in was moved this year because the Capitol is being renovated.

The day’s drenched festivities were just part of the inaugural celebration, which started last week with a ball in Southwest Virginia.

Friday night, thousands packed the Kaplan Arena at the College of William & Mary for an inaugural performance by the Beach Boys. Several Virginia musicians delighted the crowd before the main act.

Mr. Kaine played the harmonica with Galax, Va., band No Speed Limit. Other acts included the Constituents of Northern Virginia.

Mr. Kaine and the first lady were expected to attend balls in Williamsburg and Richmond last night.

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