Texas Leaders take Oath & Make Promises to solve Education Crisis

A gray sky hung over the inaugural ceremony Tuesday.

For the first time the North steps of the state Capitol  were used to give the oath of office to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

The celebration included the traditional military jet flyover, and a 19 shot cannon salute. Before the oath, members of Abbott's childhood Boy Scout troop, from Longview, lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

"It was a really great experience I would definitely do it again. it was great and such an honor to give the governor a High 5, and see his happy face,” said Jackson Spain form Troop 201.

In their speeches, Abbott and Patrick both talked about property taxes and funding education

"We will pay our teachers more, and reward achievement in the classroom. We will reform a school finance system that robs one district to pay another district,” said Governor Abbott.

Lt. Governor spoke of the political unity he believes will push many of the wanted reforms though the Session. But that optimism also came with a warning. 

"We have a small window in time to set the stage for future generations. The challenges are tough, the decisions will be tough, the solutions are not easy. It will cost billions and we can spend only what we have,” said Patrick.

Invited guest included TV star Chuck Norris, former Lt Governor David Dewhurst and Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham. Security was tight. There were mounted patrols. Bicycle teams. Tactical units on rooftops and drones hovering in the sky.

The celebration continued on the South side of the Capitol with a Texas sized BBQ cookout. The crowd had no trouble working through the barbecue that was served up. It was a carnival like atmosphere with mascots from several Texas sport teams jockeying for attention.  It provided a brief distraction from the challenges that wait under the Dome. But those who we spoke to accepted the anything can be done message Abbott and Patrick were dishing out.

"It went beyond a political speech for me, because I do have 2 children a child in public school and so it was absolutely vital, the Governor did a great job to point out he is trying to improve education and he is also trying to increase pay for some of our teachers because they certainly deserve it,” said Vanessa Hicks-Callaway who drove to Austin from Victoria.

Kirk Brown who works in Austin has a personal interest in the promises to help teachers. 

"It’s about time, my mother is a retired teacher and she had to retire... she couldn't pay for herself, ...with the way she was and even with retirement it's not enough."

Just as big as his cookout- Governor Abbott closed the beginning of his second term - with an even bigger promise.

"I want to make this very clear, we are going to do this session what no one thinks we are capable of achieving. We will finally fix school finance,” said Abbott.

Steps to fulfill promises made Tuesday were actually made Tuesday. Senate Bill 3 was filed that, if passed, will give all teachers a $5,000 pay raise.

Lt. Governor Patrick said that raise will be paid for with $3.7 billion in new education funding which is in a proposed budget that was also to be filed Tuesday.