Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 2023 Inaugural Address And Celebration Scenes

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham receives the oath of office at a public celebration administered by retired New Mexico District Court Judge Wendy York this afternoon at the historic Lensic Theater in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo

From the Office of the Governor:

          • Gov. Lujan Grisham Sworn in For Second Term

Today, Jan. 1, 2023, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was sworn-in as Governor of New Mexico for the second time. Following the traditional swearing-in ceremony at midnight on New Year’s Day, Governor Lujan Grisham and Lt. Governor Howie Morales were inaugurated in a public celebration this afternoon at the historic Lensic Theater in Santa Fe. 

The oath of office at the public celebration for Gov. Lujan Grisham was administered by retired New Mexico District Court Judge Wendy York. The Lt. Governor was sworn in by New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Shamara Henderson.

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s 2023 inaugural address is released below, as prepared: 

“My fellow New Mexicans, good afternoon. This will be a shorter speech than last time. You’re welcome. Four years ago, a significantly longer inaugural address was appropriate. We had ground to cover. We had dozens of policy objectives to outline. We had to articulate, after eight years of stagnation, how we were going to inspire and enact positive change.

“When I gave this speech in 2019, there was a lot to talk about, and a lot to get done. And for a governor who likes to talk, and who loves to get things done, that was just fine. 

“Four years ago…

  • …minimum wage workers hadn’t gotten a raise in more than a decade. 
  • …college enrollment was declining. 
  • …the economy was shrinking, and jobs were hard to come by. 
  • …mothers had to choose between work and child care.
  • …a renewable energy economy was nothing more than a pipe dream. 
  • …our growing film and new media industries were shackled by outdated government policies
  • …and meaningful, high-quality early childhood education was out of reach for most New Mexico families.

“Now I look out, with immense pride, at a state that has changed its historical trajectory. In four years that were defined in many ways by the crucible of crisis, we have nevertheless inspired and embodied a transformative optimism. Workers have more rights and better opportunities; families have more support and better services; more of our natural environment and wildlife is protected by the power of the state.

“I truly believe that through the tireless work of New Mexicans from 2019 up to this moment, we have established a new way of looking at and understanding ourselves. Ever since statehood in 1912, New Mexico has faced countless challenges. For more than a hundred years, we have struggled to make the changes that our families and workers deserve. 

“Not now. Not anymore. No longer do other states surpass us.

“This New Mexico, these New Mexicans have demonstrated that progress, not paralysis, is our destiny. 

“Whether it’s tax cuts for seniors and working families, whether it’s millions in direct financial support for small businesses, whether it’s pay raises to give our public school educators the highest salaries in the southwest, we are, quite simply, getting the work done. 

“This administration has always stood for, and will continue to fight for, the people we represent – every last one.

“I am indescribably proud of New Mexicans. Our fortitude, our compassion, our dignity – it’s who we are. It’s who we’ve always been.

“And now, in this moment of opportunity, we are, in fact, launching our state into the bright future we have always deserved – it’s happening today, all around us. There are real-life examples of our successful investments, some of whom are on stage with me today.

“I want to recognize Angela Lechuga, a proud recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship, who is studying business at CNM.

“We also have Juliana Hernandez, a queer single mother from Anthony who is working tirelessly to improve reproductive health care in southern New Mexico.

“And we have Alicia Fout, a mother of two, who, because of our nation-leading child care eligibility expansions, was able to keep her career and get her kids into high-quality child care.

“From Taos to T or C, in every community I visit, I meet people with stories just like this. It’s an important reminder: An act of imagination is no longer required to visualize a thriving New Mexico. We are living it. We have already made this moment a pivotal moment in our history.

“We are, right now, a New Mexico that has become the first government in the world to make early childhood well-being and education a constitutional right. It is a generational achievement, one we will honor with further strategic investment in early childhood providers and educators, one that will convey to history that this group of New Mexicans, at this time, fought for and enfranchised tens of thousands of children and families, into the future, permanently.

“We are, right now, a New Mexico that offers incredible economic opportunity to workers and students across diverse industries in every single community – with unemployment at its lowest point since before the Great Recession, with dozens more businesses starting up each year, and with job-creation numbers that would make any state in the country jealous.

“We are, right now, a New Mexico that deploys the great wealth at our state’s disposal to meaningfully improve the lives of families and workers; that provides free child care and free college to all; that protects the rights and freedoms of every single person. 

“We have been, and we will continue to be, relentless. And we must, and we will, strive on to finish the work we are in. 

“In the coming years, with a new focus and funding to match, we will fight the scourge of homelessness that afflicts so many New Mexicans who are suffering. Building serious momentum on affordable housing can be a hallmark of the next four years, and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with the Legislature to achieve it.

“We will approach opioid addiction as the epidemic it is, fighting tooth and nail to provide life-saving services to victims and families who have been torn apart by this horrific disease. We must approach the expansion of behavioral health care – including substance abuse treatment – as an urgent moral priority. Every New Mexican is entitled to achieve freedom from addiction and mental illness. And we should treat high-quality health care as a fundamental right. And that is why I am announcing today I will be asking the Legislature to create the New Mexico Health Care Authority, a comprehensive entity that will expand access to services and cut through the red tape that keeps too many New Mexicans from getting the affordable, high-quality care they need. This authority will streamline the government’s efforts to support families and their health care needs while more effectively holding insurers accountable. 

“And with all the power of the state, we will continue to fight to free families from the horrors of poverty. Across the country, New Mexico stands alone in improving rates of childhood poverty. Our programs and policies and investments across all of state government are, in fact, providing a deliverance from financial hardship and hunger for thousands in every corner of our state. The work is not done, but we have made a good start, and I will not rest until this is a state where the conditions that create generational poverty are a dusty relic of the distant past. 

“The free child care and universal high-quality pre-k that we have made reality will go a long way in accelerating that effort. We all know better outcomes begin at the earliest age. Healthy, happy families are the bedrock of our success as a statewide community. Our thriving Early Childhood Education and Care Department is the envy of the nation; if we stay the course, we will, in fact, make this generation of young school-age children into New Mexico’s greatest generation.

“And New Mexico’s greatest generation of students will require the greatest generation of educators. Our state is rapidly building a reputation as a place where motivated, high-quality teachers want to be. And we all know reputations are earned, so that is why I am announcing today that I will ask the Legislature to increase our public school budget this year to cover all health care premium costs for all educators and school workers. In this administration, we don’t just pay lip service to supporting public school educators; we keep working to find new and meaningful ways to provide that support, because our communities depend on them, New Mexico families depend on them, and New Mexico children depend on them.

 “Meanwhile, no matter what threats arise in our country or in the world, we will continue to stand for freedom of choice, opportunity and safety. I vow today that we will codify Roe v. Wade as the law of the land within our borders. Never again, for all of time, will a woman in the state of New Mexico have anything less than full bodily autonomy and freedom of choice. 

“Our efforts to spread economic opportunity to every community, every tribal nation and every individual no matter their background will continue with renewed enthusiasm. As I mentioned, we are creating new jobs at a rate not seen in this state in many, many years; and we are poised to invest even further in the job training and workforce development programs that amplify the empowerment we have possible through universal free college and trade school. College enrollment in New Mexico increased this year for the first time in a decade; that’s only the beginning. This administration is foundationally committed to keeping our best and brightest right here in New Mexico, and to making sure that any individual, no matter their age, has the chance to grow and learn and become who they are meant to be. 

“And we will continue to fight the scourge of violent crime. Our state will be safer when we get more community-first police officers on our streets and get more violent offenders off them. We will continue to invest aggressively in the safety and well-being of our communities, and in the high-quality training of the officers who serve them, because New Mexicans expect and deserve to live their lives free from the fear of gun violence and violent crime. 

“Before I go, I want to thank my husband, my family, my friends and all of you here today for your tireless support. And I want to express my gratitude to all of the people of our great state for their faith in the program of positive change we have enacted. Women and young people, in particular, have seen and felt the tide of opportunity turning. It’s why they voted in record numbers to stay the course; it’s why New Mexicans voted to give this administration four more years to do the work of ensuring that the next fifty years are the greatest and most prosperous in New Mexico history.

“Four years ago, we couldn’t have predicted the challenges we’d face. Standing here now, I am reluctant to issue declarations about what will come. But I am firm in my belief that we have both a clear moral vision and the tenacity to fight for every single improvement that will benefit workers and families. I have hope. I know you do too. We move forward into the unknown with malice toward none, with charity for all – and the conviction that hard work on behalf of New Mexicans will win the day.

“As your governor, I am determined to continue to be compassionate and effective in equal measure. Together, we have demonstrated that we can, in fact, transform how we define and understand ourselves as a people, and as a state. We have created, through the work we’ve already done, a novel theory of hope and growth that can and will continue to unite us. And we can commit to one another that we will hold true to the cultural principles of honor, dignity and empathy that make us New Mexicans, that make New Mexico the most unique and beautiful multicultural community in the entire world. 

“It’s time, once again, to get back to work. Thank you, may God bless you, may God bless and keep your families, and may God bless our beautiful state. Viva New Mexico!” 

Scenes from the public celebration for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this afternoon at the historic Lensic Theater in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo

Scenes from the public celebration for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this afternoon at the historic Lensic Theater in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo 

Scenes from the public celebration for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this afternoon at the historic Lensic Theater in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo

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