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Tim Walz sworn in as Minnesota's new governor

Outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton said a short, grateful farewell to office.

Democrats Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan were officially inaugurated as Minnesota's new governor and lieutenant governor respectively at a ceremony in St. Paul on Monday morning.

Walz won election alongside Flanagan in November to replace the retiring Gov. Mark Dayton, overcoming the challenge from Republican Jeff Johnson to become Minnesota's 41st Governor.

A former school teacher, Walz entered the Fitzgerald Theater accompanied by a procession of state educators, including some of his former teachers.

After taking the oath of office surrounded by his family, Walz gave his inaugural address, in which he took a shot at the current federal government.

"We find ourselves at a time when economic, social, racial, and geographic division feels rampant," he said. 

"I will not normalize behavior that seeks to deepen and exploit these divides nor policies that ones that undermine our decency and respect. If Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will."

"To those who voted for me, thank you for your trust. For the Minnesotans who for someone else ... I'll work hard to earn your trust and be your governor too," he added.

Other key campaign promises Walz touched on in his speech were access to quality education and affordable healthcare.

Flanagan, becoming the highest ranking Native American woman elected to public office, said that she and Walz will run the governor and lieutenant governor's office as partners.

"My story is a One Minnesota story. It's about trying new things. Governor Walz and I did something different, we ran as a team from early on," she said.

"We will build on the legacy forged by Lt. Gov. and now Sen. Tina Smith. We will re-shape the role of the Lt. Gov. in Minnesota and we will govern in partnership."

Also inaugurated to their positions were new Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, new State Auditor Julie Blaha, and the re-elected Secretary of State Steve Simon.

In his speech, Ellison spoke of his aim to help Minnesotans "afford their lives" particularly as it relates to health insurance.

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"The demands for profit over people is putting pressure on democracy," Ellison said. "Minnesotans deserve an AG's office where they can count on fair treatment and equal justice.

"There is no town or county too small or too far away from the metro where my office can't do anything to help."

Among those in attendance for the ceremony at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul were Sen. Amy Klobuchar, newly-appointed U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum and Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez.

Republicans in attendance included the now former Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and outgoing Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.

Earlier, outgoing Gov. Dayton issued a short statement thanking the Minnesotans he has served for the past eight years.

"THANK YOU," he wrote. "I am deeply grateful for the chance to serve as our great state’s Governor for the past eight years.

"In 2010, I promised 'A Better Minnesota.' Working together, we have kept that pledge."

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