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McMaster takes oath of office, lawmakers optimistic about productivity

The crowd at the statehouse in Columbia as the new legislative session began and elected officials took their oath of office on Jan. 9, 2019. (WCIV)

January 9 was a day of promises and pledges from South Carolina politicians.

Top leaders in government took their oath of office Wednesday morning, including the chief executive.

On a sunny and cold winter day, the rhythm of the capital city came from the steps of the Statehouse.

A South Carolina tradition brought political friends and foes together for a ceremony to symbolize a commitment to public service.

Cadets from The Citadel received instructions on escorting family members, dignitaries and lawmakers to the site where the state's executive leadership made a promise to the people it serves.

After Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette was sworn in to office by state supreme court Justice John W. Kittredge, the man at the top of the ticket took his turn.

Governor Henry McMaster recited the oath of office, administered by supreme court Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty.

That’s when McMaster began his first full-term in office. In his inauguration speech, he highlighted a recent championship to champion his agenda.

"And as the Clemson Tigers just showed the world again, South Carolina produces superior team work and we will not fumble the football," said the Republican stalwart greeted with laughs from people attending the ceremony.

McMaster used similar sports analogies to look ahead at his goals.

"My game plan for South Carolina requires changing our offensive plays on education. It means putting a strong defense on the fields that tackles regulations. Keeps high taxes off the field, and protects our environment like it is the end zone," he said.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they're hopeful in reaching the governor's goals. And they're ready to get to work.

"The time to do it is now if we're going to do education reform. And so I was pleased to hear him mention that. Obviously mentioning that and doing something about it is different. So I’m encouraged. We’ll see,” said State Representative Marvin Pendarvis, a Democrat serving areas including North Charleston.

"We try to work together because we try to represent everyone in our community across the state. So I believe in that. I believe in that voice that the governor mentioned today of working together and I believe he will do that," added State Representative Nancy Mace, a Republican serving Daniel Island, and parts of Berkeley and Charleston Counties.

It marked the beginning of the legislative session with a prayer from the man in charge.

"May God bless the great state of South Carolina. And the great United State of America," said Governor McMaster.

South Carolina's congressional delegation was scheduled to attend Wednesday’s ceremony, but the inauguration’s announcer said those elected members chose to stay in Washington D.C. to work.

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