The President of the United States has called him one of the finest Lieutenant Governors in America. He was considered to be a serious front runner for the post of Secretary of Labor in 2013 in Barack Obama’s cabinet. Joseph A. Garcia was sworn in for a second term as Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor in the inauguration ceremonies January 13th that also saw John W. Hickenlooper,Jr sworn in for a second term as the state’s Governor.
After the Native American blessing given by Terry Knight of the Ute Mountain Tribe, Chief Justice Nancy Rice administered the oath of office to both men.
In his Inaugural remarks Garcia told the crowd of about 500 who had gathered outside Colorado’s State Capitol in Denver that Colorado is incredibly diverse state stating “We are transplants and we are natives. We are indigenous and we are the descendants of the early Hispanic settlers in the San Luis Valley. We are also highly educated recent arrivals who are building our innovative economy in places like Boulder, Loveland and Fort Collins. We are active duty
and retired military in El Paso County and we are ranchers in
Yuma and Fort Morgan. We are confident civil rights leaders
in North and West Denver, oil field workers in Weld County,
and generations of mill workers in Pueblo. We are faith driven
conservatives and unabashed liberals.
The Lt. Governor also talked about Colorado’s much improved economy but also about the many challenges lie ahead, “The last four years have been an amazing chapter in Colorado’s history, and we know that the book is not yet closed. While we have seen our economy improve, unemployment decline, our businesses generate record revenues and our exports multiply, we must look beyond statistics to the people who have been left behind. We do not diminish our accomplishments by recognizing that not all among us have benefited from them. Economic prosperity for some is not the same as opportunity and prosperity for all.
We see this most acutely in our educational attainment gap as too many minority, low income and rural students fail to earn that much coveted workforce credential — but also in the unemployment rates and lack of investment in some rural communities, in communities of color, and in neighborhoods that have been left behind for too long.”
In regards to education, Lt. Governor Garcia who also serves at the state’s Director of the Department of Education said, “We know that education is a critical pathway to opportunity, mobility, and freedom capable of feeding our dreams, our families and our economy. Through education, we not only build and sustain our economy; we build and strengthen our civic and cultural institutions and, in doing so, we build and strengthen our democracy itself. As Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
We know it is also less costly. With that guiding principle in mind, we created a new Office of Early Childhood completely dedicated to investing in and supporting our kids’ futures.
We’ve added thousands of new pre-school slots to reach our neediest youngsters and we have engaged our generous non-profit community in dozens of partnerships to fund and improve early childhood education. To improve early literacy we passed the READ Act and launched new programs that bring together volunteers and community partners and we’ve put hundreds of thousands of books into our youngest childrens’ hands.
We substantially increased our commitment to need based financial aid and, after 8 unsuccessful attempts, we signed ASSET into law — ensuring that hard working but undocumented students who have spent their lives studying
All of these steps and more are moving us steadily toward achieving our goal of ensuring that 66% of Coloradans have a post high school credential — a goal that will fuel my work and our economy over the next four years.”
Born into a military family with deep roots in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, Joe Garcia has lived in cities ranging from the Western United States to Western Europe. zjr earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.
Before he was elected lieutenant governor, Garcia was president of Colorado State University – Pueblo. During his four-year tenure at the University, he helped overcome financial difficulties, stagnant enrollment and a mediocre reputation through aggressive marketing and non-traditional solutions. Lt. Gov. Garcia earlier served as president of the second-largest community college in Colorado, Pikes Peak Community College.
Lt. Gov. Garcia has also been actively involved as a board member for many non-profit agencies such as the YMCAs of Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver, Pikes Peak Legal Aid, the Colorado Springs and Pueblo Economic Development Agencies, The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (where he served as Board President), the Pikes Peak Child Nursery Centers Inc., the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and numerous other civil rights, educational, and cultural organizations.
In concluding his remarks the second term Lt. Governor said, “As I look out this morning on the glorious vista that is Colorado, I am reminded of the final words of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography.
“I have walked that long road to freedom….but I have
discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill one only
finds there are still many more hills to climb.”
“I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the
glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the
distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment – for
with freedom comes responsibilities.
And I dare not linger For my long walk is not yet ended.”
Colorado, thank you for allowing me to continue the walk