Council President Skorman, members of the City Council, judges of the Municipal Court, federal, state and local dignitaries, City employees, family, friends and all citizens of Colorado Springs – Thank you for attending or watching this quadrennial event at which our city’s mayor and at large council members are sworn into office. I want to first extend my congratulations to Wayne Williams, Bill Murray and Tom Strand on their election and reelection to the Colorado Springs City Council. I look forward to working with all of you. I also want to thank Merv Bennett for his tremendous service to the City of Colorado Springs over the past eight years.
The swearing in you just witnessed was the eighth time in 30 years that I’ve been sworn into public office, either elected or appointed. That may or may not qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, but is, in my mind, a testament to faith and to love. You see, there have been two constants in all of those swearing in ceremonies. One is our family bible, which was a gift from my mother to my father 67 years ago, shortly after they adopted me in November of 1951. And the other constant has been my wife, Janet, without whose love and support I could not have been successful in public life. When she said “I do” forty three years ago, she had little inkling of what she was getting herself into. But she has excelled at being a wife, a mother, a career woman, a volunteer and a public servant. She has provided the balance and stability that’s made our life together so meaningful.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s fitting that we meet today in front of one of our community’s most historic buildings, because those sworn in today will play a significant role in writing the next chapter in the history of Colorado Springs. That’s what inaugurations are all about. But we should accept our responsibility to help shape the future of our city with full acknowledgment and appreciation for the history that’s been written by those who have gone before us. In two short years, on July 31, 2021 we will observe the sesquicentennial of Colorado Springs – our 150th birthday as a city. Between now and then I hope we will be very focused on our community’s history and very mindful of the fact that history is not a matter of inevitability. Rather history is created by the decisions and actions of people. And our history as a city has been written by the likes of William Palmer, Winfield Scott Stratton, Spencer Penrose and many, many other leaders that have followed, including our political leaders. We should be inspired by their vision and foresight. Think about all our city Council members through the years that had the strength and vision to help create the incredible water delivery system we benefit from today. And when I’ve tackled some tough issues over the last four years that had considerable opposition, I’ve often thought about Mayor Bob Isaac, who in the face of intense opposition, engineered the Annexation of Broadmoor and Skyway into our city, because he sincerely believed it was in the best interest of the community. Political leadership often entails taking a difficult road to accomplish what’s necessary, despite considerable opposition.
I am very pleased by the progress Colorado Springs has made in the last four years. We’ve made remarkable strides in improving the critical public infrastructure of our city, particularly roads and stormwater, and in promoting new job creation. Our economy is among the best in the country. We are seeing transformational additions like the U.S. Olympic Museum and other City for Champions projects. And those are inspiring other transformational developments in our downtown area. It will be exciting to see all the projects that are underway in Olympic City USA come to fruition over the next few years.
But as I indicated, such success just didn’t happen, but stemmed from a collaborative political environment that has encouraged unprecedented public and private investment in our city. And in our success I hope we have set an example for other governments at all levels.
The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, what we in Colorado Springs have demonstrated is that in our public life today, we need less angry noise, we need less unconstructive fanfare and less contention for contention sake. We need more common sense, we need to speak the truth, work hard, stay faithful to our fundamental beliefs as Americans, and we need to recognize that while we’re each responsible for our own actions, we are part of a community and without cooperation and the willingness to work together, we won’t accomplish what we need to accomplish.
The future of Colorado Springs begins today and our citizens have given us the honor and privilege to lead the city into that future. While we have made great strides we must remain focused on infrastructure and economic development. We must build the infrastructure needed to accommodate the growth and prosperity that our city enjoys. We need to fix our residential streets as well as our arterials. We need to secure greater state investment in highways in the Pikes Peak region. We need to ensure the public safety our citizens deserve, including greater traffic safety. And we need to continue to attend to the issues of affordable housing and homelessness.
As I did four years ago, I ask all our citizens to take renewed pride in their city and look for ways they can contribute to its’ quality of life. Volunteer to help beautify our city, to clean up litter, to work on our parks and trails, to mentor our youth, assist the elderly, and support the arts. Consider applying for a City board or commission or volunteer with a non-profit organization. There are unlimited opportunities to become involved in making Colorado Springs an even better place to live work and play. And I ask all employees of the City of Colorado Springs and of Colorado Springs Utilities to rededicate yourselves to your public service commitment. Endeavor each day to carry out your responsibilities effectively, enthusiastically and always with the public interest in mind.
I am blessed to have had a very interesting career. It began right here in Colorado Springs and has taken me from the local courthouse to the U.S. Supreme Court and from my first job mowing lawns to working for the President of the United States. But I can’t adequately express to you what an honor and privilege it is at this point in my career to be helping to lead my hometown, the city I literally grew up with, into its future as one of the great cities in America. And I’m so thankful to the citizens of Colorado Springs for giving me this opportunity.
So today, I ask all our citizens to join me in embracing our enduring challenge as citizens of Colorado Springs to continue to build a city that matches our scenery, a shining city at the foot of a great mountain. Thank you and may God continue to bless the city of Colorado Springs.