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The ceremonial inauguration of Governor Daniel McKee

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Governor Daniel McKee was ceremonially sworn in by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Sunday. The socially-distanced event took place on the south steps of th Rhode Island State House.

  • Kara McKee, the Governor’s daughter, sang the national anthem.
  • The Abney family led the Pledge of Allegiance. Governor McKee coached brothers Eric and Derrick Abney in basketball years ago. The Abneys are now grown and have children of their own who led the Pledge of Allegiance – Dayton, Dante and Demarco Barrette, and Amara, Aria, and Alina Abney.
  • A quartet from the 88th Army Band of the Rhode Island National Guard performed Stars and Stripes Forever.
  • Reverend Dr Christopher Abhulime of King’s Tabernacle Church delivered the invocation.
  • Tina Cane, Rhode Island’s poet laureate, recited an inaugural poem entitled “Sunshine of Your Love.”
  • Henrietta White-Holder, founder and chief executive officer of Higher Ground International delivered words of hope.

The Governor’s wife, Susan McKee, held the Bible during the ceremonial swearing in. She and the Governor were joined by their daughter Kara McKee and their son Matthew McKee and his fiancée Laura Clifford.

Governor Daniel McKee’s inaugural address:

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be sworn in as your Governor today. It’s one that I will never take lightly because Rhode Island has always been my home.

“I want to recognize and thank my family — my wife Susan, my daughter Kara, my son Matt and my soon-to-be daughter in law, Laura — for the support they have given me. I also want to thank my mom, who is 92 years old and watching safely from home today. This week, she received her second Coronavirus vaccine and I’m almost as excited as she is.

“I know this is not a typical inauguration celebration. We are one year into a once-in-a-century public health crisis. Too many Rhode Islanders are struggling. Everyone has missed loved ones. Many have lost their job or lost a business they had built for decades. So many have lost friends and family members to this virus.

“This past year has been hard on all of us.

“But as we reflect on all that we’ve been through, we must also remember the heroism and resolve that Rhode Islanders have shown in our hospitals, nursing homes, classrooms, public safety organizations, local shops and our own living rooms each day and each night. I would like to thank Secretary Raimondo, Dr. Alexander-Scott and General Callahan for their leadership during these difficult times.


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“Today, we move forward. Today, is about our future.

“Together, we’re going to keep Rhode Islanders healthy. We’re going to get us back to work. We’re going to get teachers and students safely back in school. We’re going to get our businesses back in business. And we’re going to make sure that families in all 39 cities and towns not only recover, but come back stronger.

“Thankfully, the vaccines are here and we’re getting shots in arms. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel. And there’s reason to have hope.

“Right now, I ask Rhode Islanders to join me, to come together as a team, and meet this moment.

“We’re going to get the job done.

“And that job is mobilizing every aspect of state government and engaging elected leaders, educators, first responders, and civic and church leaders in all 39 cities and towns to reach our goal of fully vaccinating Rhode Islanders as quickly as possible.

“Getting everyone vaccinated is priority number one. But we also know this isn’t just a public health crisis. We are in an economic crisis. Our families, small businesses, workers and students are struggling. And our communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted.

“But even with all of these challenges facing our state, here’s my message to Rhode Island today: We will get through this, together. We are getting through this, together. And we will come out of this crisis a stronger, better Rhode Island.

“Before I entered politics, I was a small business owner. Before that, I was a Boys & Girls Club kid. I grew up at the club that my dad and his friends started in our town. I became President of that Boys & Girls Club, then left the board room and went into the gym to coach basketball for over a decade.

“There, on the basketball court, I learned a philosophy that I took to Cumberland Town Hall, to my office as Lieutenant Governor, and that I will take to the Governor’s office. That is: Good teams are built when talented individuals do their best. But the best teams, the very best teams, are built when talented individuals use their skills to help others do their very best.

“Rhode Island can be better than just a good team. We can be one of the very best.

“We will get through these challenging times – and we will rise together to reach our highest potential. By lifting each other up. By making each other better. By working as a team. As a great team.

“One that recognizes the sacrifices of nurses, teachers, grocery store workers, those living in isolation and more – a team that rallies around our frontline heroes to get over the finish line.

“There is no playbook for this extraordinary moment in Rhode Island’s history. There is no playbook for defeating this virus or for a lieutenant governor becoming governor during a global pandemic.

“I want Rhode Islanders to know: My team is prepared to lead and beat COVID-19. And I ask all of you to join us in the huddle and help us make the right calls to keep Rhode Island safe and move us forward, together.

“With every decision we make in the months ahead, I am going to be thinking about how to get through the challenges facing all the communities that make up our 39 cities and towns.

“E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. One team. That is my promise to you.

”Thank you for being with me today. Thank you to my staff and my transition team and everyone who made this afternoon possible.

“In 2021, let’s stay positive and test negative.

“God bless the people of Rhode Island and the men and women who are keeping us safe.”

  • Major General Christopher P. Callahan presented the Governor with the ceremonial gorget.
  • Father Robert Marciano, President of Bishop Hendricken High School, delivered the benediction.

About the Author

The hardest working news organization in Rhode Island! Uprise RI was founded in 2017 by Steve Ahlquist, and focuses on civil liberties, social justice, and human rights.