SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert will take the oath of office for the third time in less than four years at an inauguration ceremony in the state Capitol rotunda on Jan. 7 that will feature the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
"We want to pay tribute to the office," the governor's spokeswoman, Ally Isom, said of the ceremony marking the start of Herbert's first full term as governor. "We feel a sense of heritage and a need to honor tradition."
Herbert was elected to a four-year term in November but has served as governor since August 2009, when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China.
Because of a recent change to the state constitution, Herbert had to run for the remaining two years of Huntsman's term in 2010. With another election looming, the governor held a fundraiser the day of his 2011 inauguration, a move that caused some controversy.
This time, Herbert won't use his inauguration to raise money, Isom said. The governor, who had a less competitive race this year, collected more than $1 million at his annual gala fundraiser this fall with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the keynote speaker.
Isom said next month's ceremony will cost about $70,000. The state will pick up about half the tab, and the rest will be covered by proceeds of the governor's earlier fundraising efforts, she said.
"We don't want to be Spartan about this, but we're certainly fiscally prudent," Isom said.
In 2005, when Herbert became lieutenant governor under Huntsman, a lavish inauguration ceremony was held at Abravanel Hall and also featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
But thanks to the nation's economic downturn, the state faced a $1 billion shortfall at the time of Huntsman's second inauguration in 2009 so that ceremony took place on the steps of the Capitol.
While some details of the upcoming ceremony have yet to be finalized, including who will deliver the invocation and the benediction, Herbert knew from the start he wanted to hear "The Battle Hymn of Republic" performed.
"He was pretty insistent on that," Isom said. The song will be performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and orchestra, she said. "It's his favorite."
Isom said the governor's inaugural address will focus on both aspirational and inspirational themes. He will talk about the need for the country to remember the principle-based decisions made by the nation's forefathers.
"It has a touch of yesterday and today," Isom said of the speech. "There is no bigger fan of the state. When the man has a chance to cheerlead, he seizes the moment. It's not showmanship. That's who he is."
The ceremony is set to start at 11 a.m. and last an hour. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and will begin at 9:15 a.m. A free shuttle to the Capitol will be provided from City Creek Center.
In addition to Herbert, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, Attorney General-elect John Swallow, Auditor elect-John Dougall and Treasurer Richard Ellis will also be sworn in at the ceremony. A reception will be held after the ceremony on the first floor of the Capitol.
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