Jared Polis on Tuesday (8 January) was sworn in as governor of Colorado. With his inauguration, he became the state’s first Jewish governor and the country’s first openly gay governor.
Polis made history on 7 November when he won his race in the midterm elections.
He ran opposing Republican candidate Walker Stapleton, who took 44.9% of the votes, compared to Polis’ 52%.
Prior to becoming governor, Polis served as the representative from Colorado’s 2nd congressional district since 2009. He fought for numerous progressive causes, such as LGBTI rights, education access, and healthcare.
Civil Rights icon and House of Representatives member John Lewis endorsed Polis in his bid for governorship.
‘‘Jared and I have worked together for years to expand civil rights and to make healthcare more affordable to millions,’ he said.
Watch Polis’ inauguration and swearing-in below.
‘Right now, our nation is experiencing a period of growing divisiveness and rising tribalism,’ Polis said in his inaugural speech.
‘But we here in Colorado have chosen a different path. Here, we have come so far, climbed so high, and done so much not just to say, but to show that we reject that brand of politics.’
His speech continued with him praising Colorado’s diversity.
‘We have embraced the idea that no two people are exactly alike, and we have decided to celebrate our differences, Colorado for all.’
Diversity was a theme of the day, as well as hope for the future.
Numerous other speakers followed Polis’ speech. First was an invocation by the Reverend Dr. James D. Peters, Jr. of New Hope Baptist Church, followed by a Sikh blessing.
Then Anne Waldman gave a poetry reading and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Spiritual Leader Terry Knight delivered a Native American blessing.
Polis’ predecessor, John Hickenlooper, also spoke at the event.
‘We are connected to the very best of ourselves when we are connected to one another,’ he said. He added he was ‘honored’ to hand the baton to Polis.
Polis also took a selfie with the crowd.
At the inaugural ball following the event, Cyndi Lauper will perform.