A crowd of more than 200 people braved the cold Friday to attend Gov. Butch Otter’s third inauguration on the steps of the Statehouse.
And his third inaugural address was directed to his critics in the federal government and at home.
“For anyone who believes my commitment to liberty has been eroded by age or sullied by experience… for anyone who doubts my commitment to resisting with all that I am those federal policies that (undermine) the tenets of federalism or state sovereignty, watch closely over the next four years,” said Otter, 72.
Otter deviated from his script to thank his mother, Regina, and wish her an early 100th birthday. Otter said she was watching the ceremony live on television – prompting him to look into a bank of news cameras and pledge to call her once the ceremony finished. She will celebrate her 100th birthday next month.
The ceremonies were highlighted by performances from the Cecil D. Andrus Elementary ambassador honor choir and a military cannon salute staged in a park across the street from the Statehouse.
Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra took the oath of office alongside the state’s other constitutional officers, but the act was ceremonial. Otter, Ybarra and others were officially sworn in during private ceremonies Monday.
Aside from repeating the oath of office, Ybarra did not speak during the hour-long ceremony.
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Those attending the inauguration included former Govs. Dirk Kempthorne, Phil Batt and Jim Risch, now one of Idaho’s U.S. senators.
Also in attendance, wearing a black motorcycle jacket with his catchphrase “HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE” stitched into leather, was Harley Brown, one of three Republicans who unsuccessfully challenged Otter last year.
Ceremonies continue Friday evening and Saturday, leading to Monday’s opening of the 2015 legislative session.
Otter will kick off the session by delivering his State of the State address and budget request at 1 p.m. Monday.
Check back with Idaho Education News Monday for full coverage of Otter’s State of the State address. Follow @IdahoEdNews on Twitter for breaking news from the Legislature.