A new podium has been erected on the east portico of Florida's Old Capitol. Streets are barracaded for the parade route along Adams Street from the Capitol to the Governor's Mansion. And crews were still working by 10 p.m. Monday night, adjusting lights and making final preparations as Tallahassee readies for the inauguration of a new governor, Republican Charlie Crist.
The governor-elect and his lieutenant governor, Jeff Kottkamp, took a run-through on the rain-soaked lawn of the Old Capitol Monday afternoon. Crist won't say what his inaugural speech will be about, but has hinted that he will continue to take a centrist tack that focuses on inclusiveness and bi-partisanship to address the top issues he believes are facing the state: soaring property insurance and property taxes.
Crist will begin his day early Tuesday at a 7:30 a.m. prayer breakfast at Florida A & M University's Jake Gaither Gymnasium. The inaugural ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m., when Crist as well as Cabinet officers take the oath of office from Chief Justice Fred Lewis. Crist will be only one of three newcomers on the podium. Bill McCollum, will take the oath as new attorney general, replacing Crist, and Alex Sink will be sworn in as chief financial officer, the only Democrat on the Cabinet. The returning veteran is Charles Bronson, agriculture commissioner.
Crist will be the first unmarried governor to take office since Republican Claude Kirk was elected in 1966, only to be married six weeks later. But Crist will be just one of seven bachelors to reside in Florida's governor's office. Three of Florida's governors, Harrison Reed, Fuller Warren and Kirk, married while in office. Three others, William Dunn Moseley, Marcellus Lovejoy Stearns and Albert Waller Gilchrist were single throughout their term, although Moseley was a widower.
The new governor will be joined on the podium by his parents and three sisters, as well as outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush and Bush's family.