© Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press, USA Today Network

'Building Bridges Together:' Whitmer Sworn In As Michigan's 49th Governor

"I will be a governor for everyone," Whitmer said.

January 01, 2019 - 12:06 pm

LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) -- A new administration has taken the reins in Michigan, as Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was sworn in as the 49th Governor of Michigan on the steps in front of the State Capitol Tuesday morning.

After taking the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein, Whitmer addressed the crowd in front of the Capitol, vowing to reach across party lines and "building bridges together" to work for all of Michigan, citing one of her predecessors -- G. Mennen Williams -- as inspiration.

"Over 60 years ago, G. Mennen Williams, a Democrat, worked with a Republican legislation and built the Mackinac Bridge," Whitmer said. "At that time, people believed building a bridge that long was not possible. Others thought politicians could not put differences aside and get it done. But leaders came together from both parties and proved them wrong."

"In November of 1957, against the odds, the Mighty Mac opened. It connected our people and it strengthened our economy. And most of all it sent a powerful message to the world: don't ever bet against Michigan," she said, driving home a promise to work with everybody and push partisanship to the side.

Whitmer was sworn in shortly after 11:30 a.m., following a number of other new officials who were also sworn into office -- Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Part of Whitmer's campaign was to "fix those damn roads" -- something she says residents in all 83 of Michigan's counties have called for.

"We might live in divisive times but Michigan's problems are not partisan," Whitmer said during her address. "Potholes are not political; or better skills or schools

Whitmer was joined on stage by outgoing Governor Rick Snyder, former Governor Jennifer Granholm, former Governor James Blanchard, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

Whitmer takes over in office for term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder after defeating Republican opponent and former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the general election last November.