Optimism and opportunity were the themes of the day as the new governor spoke for about 10 minutes about the economic and educational challenges facing the state.
Sandoval made clear his goals for the next four years, promising to shrink government, grow jobs and improve education in the state during his first term.
“Some would have us believe that Nevada’s best days are behind us,” the former federal judge said in his inaugural speech before quickly shooting down that notion: “Nevada will be Nevada again.”
Nowhere else has the recession’s toll been so harshly felt, with the nation’s highest unemployment and foreclosure rates as evidence of the economic bust that has caused about 100,000 Nevadans to leave the state in the last two years.
However, Sandoval said that while the state’s new reality meant sacrifices would have to be made, he was confident that economic renewal was on the horizon.
“My optimism is rooted in the spirit of Nevada,” Sandoval said. “Nevadans believe in opportunity … and are not afraid of hard work.”
Though Sandoval gave no specifics for job creation during his speech, he did sign an executive order Monday prohibiting any proposed administrative regulations and any new regulations within agencies under the purview of the governor from taking effect in 2011.
“I’ve been clear that my number one priority is economic development and freezing archaic and ineffective regulations until the end of this year will help promote business,” Sandoval said in a statement.
The order also requires all regulatory bodies to conduct a review of their enforcement procedures.
Exceptions to the freeze, however, were given to regulations that concern public health and public safety and those pursuant to federal funding and certifications.
A second executive order issued Monday addressed ethics guidelines for public employees and officers in regards to the acceptance of gifts.
Though it is presumed that most inauguration attendees were supporters of Sandoval, there was at least one notable exception.
Fred Kessler, a member of the Carson City Democratic Central Committee, showed up at the swearing in just as he has for every newly elected governor in recent memory. Though he didn’t vote for Sandoval, nor generally shares the conservative view of politics, Kessler said for the sake of Nevada he hoped the governor would be a problem solver.
“With a successful governor, we all do well,” he said.
But Kessler wondered whether Sandoval’s governorship would resemble that of former Gov. Kenny Guinn, whom he respects, or outgoing Gov. Jim Gibbons, who fell from favor after less than one term.
Like many Nevadans, Kessler is most concerned about the state’s economy.
A veteran of the construction industry, he said, “My hope is the governor does more than talk about diversifying the economy.”
After the inauguration ceremony, Sen. John Ensign fielded questions from the Sparks Tribune. He said he would work closely with Sandoval on issues in Washington that have great impact on Nevada.
“It is important we work together,” he said.
Reducing federal Medicaid and educational mandates were among the priorities the two shared, Ensign said.
“We need to bring these back to the state and local level,” he added.
In his final inaugural remarks, Sandoval said his immigrant family history was proof of the power of positivity and the benefits it can sow.
“Optimism is a solid foundation for growth,” he said.
Also sworn in Monday were Nevada’s five other constitutional officers.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Secretary of State Ross Miller, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Treasurer Kate Marshall and Controller Kim Wallin all won re-election in November. Krolicki is a Republican; the others are Democrats.
Supreme Court Justices Ron Parraguirre and James Hardesty, who ran unopposed, were sworn in to new six-year terms.