CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and the state's other four statewide elected officials were sworn in Monday in Cheyenne.
Mead took the oath of office for his second term. "This state is small, and it's strong because men and women get up every day and do their job, do their job well. And they take care of their families. And they take care of their neighbors," he said in his inaugural address at the Cheyenne Civic Center.
Thanking Wyoming people for the chance to serve four more years, Mead noted 2015 is the 125th anniversary of Wyoming statehood. While he said people could reflect on how things have changed since 1890, he said they could also reflect on how things have stayed the same: "Wildlife, treasures of nature, physical beauty and abundant resources."
Mead said he intends to continue to support coal production and get a new water plan in place. "We will continue to meet the challenges we face fighting for coal, and against federal overreach," Mead said.
Wyoming is the nation's leading coal-producing state, and Mead has launched dozens of legal challenges to federal air-quality regulations aimed at reducing emissions from existing and future coal-fired power plants.
Mead said he intends to continue to press for access to ocean ports to allow export of Wyoming coal overseas. In his first term, he pressed for access to coal ports in the Northwest that would allow coal exports to Asia.
The state of Oregon recently granted both Wyoming and Montana a seat at the table in an energy company's appeal of Oregon's refusal to allow construction of a coal terminal on the Columbia River that would allow barges to carry coal down to ocean-going ships.
The Wyoming Legislature convenes its general session next week.
Mead last month suggested state lawmakers approve an additional $156 million in spending on top of the two-year budget the state passed last year. He's calling for $27.5 million more for University of Wyoming projects, $25 million in local government funding, more than $21 million for highway improvements and $18.6 million for water projects.
Mead also called on state lawmakers last month to consider developing a clear policy on how much money to keep in its rainy day fund and what the fund is ultimately going to be used for. The state, which draws the bulk of its revenues from energy development, has about $2 billion in the fund, called the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account.
Many state lawmakers have expressed reservations about drawing down the rainy day fund, saying the state has had to rely heavily on its savings in past energy bust cycles.
Mead said Monday that many of the state's best decisions over the years have been investments in the state itself. He said officials shouldn't make decisions based on how the outcome will affect their own political futures, but on how they will affect their children and grandchildren.
E. James Burke, chief justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to Mead and the state's other four statewide elected officials, all Republicans.
Auditor Cynthia Cloud also was sworn in for a second term.
Treasurer Mark Gordon was sworn in to his first full term. He was appointed to replace former Treasurer Joe Meyer, who died in office in 2012.
Ed Murray was sworn in as secretary of state. Jillian Balow was sworn in as superintendent of public instruction. Both Murray and Balow were elected to their first terms in the fall.