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Last updated 5:19PM ET
February 25, 2021
Riley Celebrates Good Times in Speech
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Republican Governor Bob Riley began his second term Monday by celebrating the good times the state is enjoying and by predicting they will be better if Alabamians address their problems with courage.

Riley's swearing-in ceremony occurred on the Martin Luther King Junior holiday, and it took place a few feet from where King ended the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march in 1965. Riley also stood a few feet from where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederacy in 1861. Riley encouraged Alabamians to draw strength from their history, but not be limited by it. He called Alabama's history our foundation, but not our ceiling.

The inauguration had a touch of presidential politics. Retired General Wesley Clark swore in Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks for a second term. And Arizona Senator John McCain attended as guest of Riley and Attorney General Troy King. McCain was asked repeatedly about whether Riley might be his running mate. McCain repeatedly praised Riley, but said it's premature to start talking about the vice presidency because he hasn't even officially entered the race for president.

Riley began his second administration in a much different position from his first. A record budget deficit has turned into record state appropriations. An economic slowdown has turned into the record low unemployment. Riley called it a new day in Alabama, but he said it's going to get even brighter. Riley did not recount his campaign promises, such as a second income tax cut. And he did not mention his failure last week to organize the state Senate around his allies. But he did acknowledge Democratic legislative leaders in attendance and thanked them for their commitment to give his proposals a full and fair hearing before the Legislature.

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