Pawlenty begins second term

ST. PAUL - Tim Pawlenty began his second term as Minnesota's governor today in a low-key and bipartisan fashion, befitting the new atmosphere at the Capitol.

ST. PAUL - Tim Pawlenty began his second term as Minnesota's governor today in a low-key and bipartisan fashion, befitting the new atmosphere at the Capitol.

Pawlenty, a Republican, was sworn in during an hour-long ceremony. Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau and three Democratic statewide officials took their oaths, although two also planned separate ceremonies.

Pawlenty started his second four-year term by reaching out to all Minnesotans.

"On this occasion and from this place, I'm calling on every Minnesotan, especially our political leaders, to walk down a new and better pathway: a path of civility and positive change," he said to applause.

Pawlenty began term No. 2 without Republican House control that he enjoyed the past four years. Even before the Nov. 7 election, when Democrats took over the House and padded their majority in the Senate, he began talking about issues that normally are considered in the domain of Democrats - health care, education and lower property taxes, for instance.


In his inaugural speech, Pawlenty called on the state's leaders to take risks to serve Minnesota.

"We need to keep what works, change what doesn't and have the wisdom to know the difference," he said in prepared comments.

"By removing the political malice, and enhancing our charity toward each other and new ideas, we can make our way down the new path. Together, we can strive for something better and arrive at a place that serves Minnesotans well."

The 46-year-old governor's inaugural activities today are different than last term's week-long extravaganza. He and his wife, Mary Pawlenty, began the day by attending a morning service at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie.

"The state of Minnesota is unusually blessed," the Rev. Leith Anderson said during the service. "I believe that God called Tim Pawlenty to the office of governor."

Anderson said he read from the Bible's first book of Timothy at a service during Pawlenty's first inauguration in 2003. The pastor read from the second book of Timothy at this morning's service.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, site of the "Prairie Home Companion" radio show. While ornate, it is much smaller than the nearby Landmark Center, where Pawlenty first took his oath of office four years ago.

"Today, as political leaders, we have a charge from the people of Minnesota: to blend the music, the humor, the opinions and the stories in all of us - not with nostalgia - but with a desire to create a better future for the people we serve in a fast-changing and uncertain world," Pawlenty said.


An inaugural party, including a ball, was planned for downtown Minneapolis tonight.

Joining Pawlenty and Molnau on the Fitzgerald Theater stage were new Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Attorney General Lori Swanson and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. All three are Democrats.

Ritchie planned his own inaugural ceremony in the Capitol later. Otto plans something for later in the month.

Swanson held her ceremony the first thing this morning, promising to work for all Minnesotans.

"My mission is for the attorney general's office to fight for the rights of everyday people, and especially those without a voice," she said in a 45-minute ceremony. "In my attorney general's office, no one will be so powerful they are above the law or so powerless they are beneath its protection."

Out-going Attorney General Mike Hatch and former Attorney General Miles Lord swore Swanson in as the state's 29th attorney general.

In brief remarks to about 300 people in the Capitol rotunda, Hatch announced he accepted Swanson's offer work for her. He lost the November governor's race to Pawlenty.

"Lori Swanson will stand up for all of us and she will make a better state for each of us," Hatch said about his new boss.


Pawlenty, who like Swanson lives in Eagan, became governor after a three-way race in 2002. He had served 10 years in the Legislature after a term on the Eagan City Council.

An attorney, Pawlenty grew up near the South St. Paul stockyards to laborer parents.

When he took office, Pawlenty inherited a nearly $4.6 billion budget deficit and in last year's election said the solving of the fiscal problem is one reason he should be re-elected. He edged Hatch after the Democrat faltered in the campaign's final week.

-- Forum Communications reporter Mike Longaecker contributed to this story.

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