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Gov. Patrick's 2nd Inauguration: Less Ceremony, Sober In Tone03:39
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Newly re-elected Gov. Deval Patrick addresses an audience in the House Chamber during his inaugural address Thursday. (AP)
Newly re-elected Gov. Deval Patrick addresses an audience in the House Chamber during his inaugural address Thursday. (AP)

Gov. Deval Patrick begins his second term with far less ceremony than he began his first. In part, the low-key tone is a nod to the hard times the state is facing, and to the problems at the State House that just won't seem to give the governor even a day to enjoy a moment of glory.

The attention was on his inaugural address, but all around the State House, people were ready to remind him of the challenges he faces.

Patrick seemed mindful of those challenges. He delivered an address very different from the one he gave four years ago. Then, it was poetry, lofty rhetoric and the compelling personal story of the state's first African-American governor. On Thursday, it was prose. Patrick offered a succinct list of priorities.

The attention was on his inaugural address, but all around the State House, people were ready to remind him of the challenges he faces.

"More jobs. Stronger schools for all our children. Affordable health care. Safer neighborhoods. That's the work of our second term," Patrick said.

Patrick had not made violent crime much of a campaign issue, but he did focus on it in his speech. He said it's time to find a strategy to end the despair felt by too many young people and the fear felt by everybody else.

"I don't have all the answers, and that frustrates me to no end, but I know that the answers are out there," he said.

Usually, inauguration days are news-free. But immediately after Patrick's speech, out there in the hall just outside the House chamber, another State House leader was making news over the Parole Board's release of a felon who killed a Woburn police officer over the holidays. Senate President Therese Murray was asked if she supports the suspension of Parole Board hearings.

"Yeah, I do. I do until the results of the investigation," Murray said.

Patrick has ordered a review of the decision, and he's facing criticism among some legislators because he won't speak out against the Parole Board. Patrick didn't answer questions from the press Thursday. One of his aides said the day was about the inauguration.

Patrick headed downstairs to greet members of the public who had lined up to meet him. One of those people was the veterans' agent for the town of Chelmsford, Regina Jackson. She was there to remind Patrick of another controversy he faces: the firing of Veterans Services Secretary Thomas Kelley.

"I said, 'Governor, I respectfully ask you to un-fire Tom Kelley,'" Jackson said. "He asked me if I had served, and I said yes, and I said we need to have Tom Kelly continue to be our leader."

At one point, some 60 veterans gathered across Beacon Street from the State House, next to the Shaw Memorial to the all-African-American regiment of Massachusetts soldiers in the Civil War. Among them was Andrew Wallace, a Marine from Dorchester who served in Iraq and is heading to Afghanistan. He came out there to show his support for Kelley.

"They're asking him to leave because of politics. All he's doing is what he's been asked to do, which is to represent veterans and do everything he can for them," Wallace said.

But the day wasn't all controversy. There was celebration.

Inside the State House, people dug into a giant cake in the shape of the State House. And many people were inspired by Patrick's address. Among them was Republican freshman Matt Beaton, from Shrewsbury. He builds energy-efficient houses. He employs six people, one of them solely to fill out government paperwork.

"I was very happy to hear his mindset of focusing on creating a healthier business environment going forward over the next legislative cycle, because that's certainly something that's a focus of mine and the Republican caucus's agenda," Beaton said.

The governor will need all the allies he can get to push forward his agenda.

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This program aired on January 7, 2011.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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