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Carnahan focuses on education

January 13, 1997
By: Angela Greiling
State Capital Bureau

Note: Click here for a complete transcript of the governor's speech.

JEFFERSON CITY - Education was the central theme of Gov. Mel Carnahan's inauguration in the Capitol rotunda Monday.

"Let there be no doubt - this administration will vigorously promote education, not just with words, but through plans and hard work that translates into achievement of our children," Carnahan said in his inaugural speech.

Carnahan began his ten-minute speech by referring to the background of his own parents - one a school superintendent and the other a teacher.

"They hauled surplus flour and butter from the railway depot to school in their pickup truck so bread could be made for the students," he said.

Young people were well-represented in the audience that was around 3,000 people. Following his inauguration, Carnahan met in his office with freshmen high school students from around the state.

Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, said he was pleased with the governor's message.

"He talked about education, education, education, and that's what we like to hear," Jacob said.

Viewers of all ages packed the balconies during the hour-long festivities, which were slated to occur outside until the weather necessitated breaking tradition by holding them indoors.

Joining the dignitaries onstage was former two-term Gov. Warren Hearnes. Hearnes was the first governor to bring the inaugural ceremony to the Capitol's lawn, where it has been held until this year.

Hearnes said he chose the outdoor forum in an effort to involve more people and to make the ceremony more similar to the presidential inauguration. However, given the 15-degree temperature outside, Hearnes supported the shelter this year.

"When you're 73, like me, you like it inside. When you're 41, you like it outside," joked Hearnes, who was elected in 1964 at age 41.

Hearnes listened as Carnahan stressed the importance of parental involvement in childrens' education and emphasized the growing need for students to be at the forefront of advances in computer technology.

"We pledge this - a state in which every school is linked to the information highway and equipped with the computers to provide hands-on training for every student," Carnahan said.

Rep. Tim Harlan, D-Columbia, said the governor's emphasis on technology preparedness ties in well with what the Columbia Public School District is already doing.

"I think it gives Columbia an opportunity to exert some leadership in the education field," Harlan said of the educational direction of Carnahan's speech.

Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia, saw special relevance to M.U. in the speech.

"A lot of the initiatives he cited are things the university is already working on," she said.

Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, shared his colleagues' high regard for Carnahan's words.

"He laid out a work plan for us, and that's what we look to the governor for," Graham said.