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Monday, January 3, 2011

 10:06 PM 

Walker asks supporters to 'spread the message' of job creation at inaugural ball

Gov. Scott Walker joked at his inaugural ball that he was "preaching to the choir," but still urged supporters to help spread his message of creating 250,000 new jobs during his first term to their neighbors and communities.

"You're going to help us show that Wisconsin is open for business," the new governor, surrounded by his family, told a crowded room of supporters at Madison's Monona Terrace.

"In the world of putting people to work, it's not always about the process. It's about the mentality."

But Walker also said that the state would see the tangible effects of his job creation initiatives tomorrow with his official call of the Legislature into a special session on jobs.

He also joked that he kept busy today by walking across the East Wing of the Capitol to authorize Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to join a multi-state lawsuit over federal health care reform. Walker said health care decisions should be left to states and the people -- not Washington, D.C.

"With that lawsuit, we're going to make that change," Walker said. "We're going to lead the way."

The governor and new First Lady Tonette Walker then led the ball's first dance to Frank Sinatra's "The Best is Yet to Come."

Walker was preceded by a video showing highlights of his 2010 campaign, as well as a speech by new Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

"We are here tonight on this stage and celebrating because of you," Kleefisch said, flanked by husband and Oconomowoc state Rep. Joel Kleefisch.

"Wisconsin is about to experience lean government ... a government that functions at the pace of business."

Walker transition chairman Mike Grebe served as master of ceremonies for the program, which also featured the Pledge of Allegiance -- led by former Veterans Affairs Secretary John Scocos -- and the national anthem.

Eleven members of the University of Wisconsin marching band also paraded through the reception hall to "On, Wisconsin" and several other "Fifth Quarter" standards.

Outside the hall, Walker supporters crowded each floor of the expansive Terrace and into several side rooms. Walker's inaugural committee estimated the total number of attendees at 3,500.

Listen to Walker's speech here.

Listen to Kleefisch's speech here.


See photos from the inaugural ball:


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