Ventura Sworn In As Minn. Governor
Jan. 04, 1999
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura took the oath of office Monday as Minnesota's 37th governor after a two-month honeymoon as the country's most unlikely political star.
In his 11-minute inaugural speech, Ventura sought to reassure Minnesotans that they didn't make a mistake in electing a bald, boisterous radio host, former Navy SEAL and actor known as ``The Body.''
``Now we move forward to do Minnesota's business and we will do it to the best of our ability,'' Ventura said to about 800 people watching in the Capitol rotunda. He then added the Navy cheer ``Hooyah!''
Chief executives also were sworn in Monday in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
But none of them had generated as much attention or amazement as Ventura, the Reform Party candidate who got 37 percent of the vote in November, good enough to stun two political veterans, Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Hubert Humphrey III.
As he did through the campaign, Ventura spoke mostly without notes _ from the ``heart and soul,'' as he described it, with people standing three and four deep on two balconies overlooking the rotunda floor.
``I'm not changing,'' Ventura said.
He doled out thank-yous and talked about his hopes but did not touch on any plans he might have for tax relief, a central theme of his campaign. He did reach out to the young, disenchanted voters who provided much of his support at the polls.
``We must put down the partisan party politics and look at the bigger picture,'' he said. ``We must not fail because if we do, we can lose this generation.''
Ventura, 47, replaced Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, a 30-year public servant who was state auditor before becoming governor. Ventura's only political experience was as mayor of the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park from 1991-95.
His most notable acting role was in ``Predator'' (1987), in which his character declares: ``I ain't got time to bleed.''
``Predator'' co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger sat with Ventura's family at the inaugural. Although Schwarzenegger is a Republican, he had nothing but praise for his friend.
``He's a very disciplined man, and if there's one thing politics needs right now it's a lot of discipline,'' Schwarzenegger said.
As if to drive that home, Ventura made several references to his four years in the Navy in the 1970s. He wore a gold Navy trident in his lapel and read from a letter sent to him by Master Chief Terry Moy, who oversaw his training in Coronado, Calif., and stood behind the podium Monday in Navy dress blues.
The letter urged Ventura to draw on the strength he found in the brutal SEAL training to get him through the rough parts of his four-year term.
After he was sworn in, Ventura hugged his wife, Terry, and their two children, Jade, 15, and Tyrel, 19.
He scheduled an invitation-only reception at the governor's mansion, but he planned to be back in the office Tuesday to work on the state's two-year, $23 billion budget.
He decided to forgo a black-tie ball in favor of a ``people's celebration'' bash at the Target Center on Jan. 16 with live music.
Jane Tee, 52, a communications worker from St. Paul, said she votes infrequently but got excited by Ventura's plain-spoken approach to politics.
``I hope he can do what he says, get people involved,'' she said. ``I think people will storm the Legislature if he doesn't get what he wants.''