DOVER, Del. (AP) — Democrats John Carney and Bethany Hall-Long took the oaths of office for their second terms as governor and lieutenant governor Tuesday in a live-streamed online ceremony.
Carney was sworn in by Chief Justice Collins Seitz Jr. in the hallway outside the governor’s office in Legislative Hall, which remains closed to the public because of the coronavirus.
“I’m prepared to take the oath, and I’m smiling,” said Carney, whose face was covered by a black mask. Hall-Long was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice James Vaughn Jr.
Foregoing the traditional inaugural speeches, Carney and Hall-Long made remarks in a prerecorded video that were interspersed with photos and videos of Delaware and remarks by several business owners, educators and health care workers. The video focused heavily on the coronavirus pandemic and the Carney administration’s response to it.
“This year has been a balancing act,” Carney said. “We’ve tried to protect public health, while protecting our economy.”
“2021 is a year of hope and optimism,” he added. “It won’t be easy. There’s a lot of work ahead. But I’m confident that Delaware will come out of this current crisis stronger than ever.”
Carney said steps he took during his first term to ensure fiscal stability in state government have left Delaware well-positioned to rebuild its economy.
“Unlike so many states around the country, Delaware is not facing budget challenges this year,” said Carney, who promised to create new jobs through infrastructure spending, ensure that Delawareans have clean drinking water, and help businesses recover from the pandemic restrictions he imposed.
“We’ll make historic investments in public schools statewide, focused on students who need our help the most,” Carney said.
Under the administration’s settlement of a school funding lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Community Legal Aid Society, Carney is required to seek significantly higher funding from the legislature for disadvantaged students, defined as children from low-income families, those with disabilities and children whose first language is not English.
While the inaugural video was focused primarily on the coronavirus and its effects, Carney and Hall-Long touched briefly on other issues, including what Hall-Long described as “systemic racism and discrimination in our institutions.” She did not offer specifics, but Carney followed up on the them.
“Of all the lessons this past year has taught us, perhaps the most important had nothing to do with the pandemic,” he said. “The George Floyd protests here in Wilmington and Dover and across our country showed us that we cannot continue to ignore the injustices faced by our brothers and sisters of color,” he said.