"Texas is the place where the improbable becomes the possible," he told the crowd of more than 4,000 legislators, invited guests and Texans who made their way to the Capitol's south lawn.
The new governor spoke about the unlikelihood of his ascension to power, having been paralyzed in an accident 30 years ago. He stressed the spirit of Texas and the opportunity it provides, while speaking of the importance that Texas plays economically and politically to the rest of the nation.
"Because as goes Texas, so goes America, and as goes America, so goes the world," he said. "So we must take the lead here in Texas -- from Amarillo to McAllen, from El Paso to Beaumont. We must work together to ensure that even the future is bigger in Texas."
He also warned of the challenges that lie ahead as the 84th legislative session gets underway. "There's more we must do. More for the families stuck in traffic. More for parched towns thirsty for water. More for parents who fear their child is falling behind in school. More for employers searching for skilled workers."
Also taking the oath Tuesday morning, new Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Houstonian who outlined his priorities for the session: border security, tax cuts, and education. He recognized the dominance of Republican legislators in the house and senate and how they'll be tasked with leading the state into a new era.
"We the people of Texas and we as servant leaders in our Capitol have a responsibility to do whatever it takes to keep Texas strong," said the Lt. Governor. "You have given us a mandate and you have been very clear about what you want us to do."