Secretary of State
JANUARY 1, 2015
Johnson focused on making state stronger, improving service
LANSING, Mich. – Ruth Johnson was sworn in today for her second term as Michigan's 42nd secretary of state.
"In my office, we've proven that government can and must listen, change and work better, faster, smarter and more efficiently with less," Johnson said during the inauguration ceremony on the front steps of the state Capitol in Lansing.
Johnson noted the success the Secretary of State's Office has had in promoting organ donation, strengthening the state's election system, fighting fraud and improving customer service. Under her leadership, Michigan residents now have more online service options to renew or replace driver's licenses, ID cards, and vehicle and watercraft registrations plus the ability make appointments and get in line online at some of the busiest offices across the state.
"It’s my hope that the people of this state – at times strong in their differences but sharing the same love of family, of state and country – will come together like never before to build upon the great momentum we’re seeing today so that we all may enjoy an even better tomorrow."
The full text of her inauguration address is included below.
Johnson was sworn in using her maternal grandfather's Bible that dates to 1911. It is the same Bible that she was sworn in with in 2011 for her first term as secretary of state.
Joining Johnson at the inauguration were her husband, Don Nanney, as well as her mother and sister.
Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to
speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson Inaugural Address Jan. 1, 2015
My fellow Michiganians, Gov. Snyder, Lt. Gov. Calley, Attorney General Schuette, honorable members of the court, legislators, elected officials, friends and family – today is a GREAT day for Michigan.
Four years ago, our economy was broken. We had record job loss. People were losing their homes. Too many of our kids were leaving because there were so few opportunities here.
And then this self-described "nerd" began talking about re-inventing ourselves and something he called "relentless positive action."
You sent a new team of leaders to Lansing to make hard decisions. And things started to change, for the better, in Detroit and the U.P., from the shores of Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, and from Iron Mountain to Monroe.
People started to believe in themselves and in Michigan again. We remembered who we are. And that’s who we need to celebrate today – you, the people of Michigan.
We showed this country what we are made of, time and time again.
Our nation has by far the most generous people in the world and that’s true here in Michigan where we’re known for our generosity, friendliness and being Midwest-strong.
We're a state of problem-solvers, innovators, thinkers, and leaders. It was our state that put the world on wheels.
That legacy includes people like my mom and dad who both worked on the line building cars.
My dad, an immigrant without a high school degree, worked his way up to foreman. And my mom, Ginny, painted dashboards as they came down the line until they got married, bought a 400-square-foot cinder-block home, saved to put additions on and raised us three kids. Most of our neighbors in Waterford worked at "the shop."
Michiganians are fighters who don’t back down from hard work. We've survived tough times, but we want our children to thrive here at home and are willing to work hard to make that happen. Michigan is a leader for research, technology and manufacturing. At the end of the day, the people of Michigan are as strong as the steel that runs through our factories and as innovative as the technology we see rolling off our production lines.
We all know there is more to do. We have big challenges as we continue our fight to regain, rebuild, restore and invigorate our communities and economy.
I want to be a part of that … to keep Michigan moving forward, to continue my tradition of public service.
I want to represent Michigan’s people and values … to tell Michigan’s success story and work where I’m needed, especially where I can have the biggest impact.
That’s my passion.
As Winston Churchill once said: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal and it is the courage to continue that counts."
In my office, we've proven that government can and must listen, change and work better, faster, smarter and more efficiently with less.
We tripled online services with ExpressSOS.com and for the first time offered Print N’ Go technology, which means millions of people don’t have to come into our offices.
Lines are shorter even with 25 percent less staff.
We began an appointment system in our busiest branches that a million people have utilized. We’re helping our 680,000 veterans. We’re number one in the nation at getting people registered to vote and at the same time we’re standing strong for election integrity
In just four years, we've added record-breaking numbers of people to Michigan’s organ donor registry.
When we started, just 27 percent of Michiganians were registered. Today, nearly half of all adults are willing to give the gift of life! If you are one of those people, or planning to be, thank you.
But we’re not done yet.
In the next four years, we are going to improve customer service even more. We will expand our fight against fraud — which hurts all of us — and protect consumers. We will continue to work hard to insure election integrity.
I want to say thank you to our team at the Secretary of State’s Office – the best there is.
It’s been an honor to work with each of you and I know we will do great things in the next four years.
Also, I want to introduce and thank my husband Don, my daughter Emily, my mom Ginny, my sister Ina, my brother Norm and thank all my friends, family and supporters who offered help, ideas, laughter and encouragement along the way.
Today, standing on the Capitol steps, our leaders are determined to keep Michigan’s positive momentum going.
There will be new ideas. More changes.
It’s going to demand working even better together.
Henry Ford once said, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; (but) working together is success."
It’s my hope that the people of this state – at times strong in their differences but sharing the same love of family, of state and country – will come together like never before to build upon the great momentum we’re seeing today so that we all may enjoy an even better tomorrow.
Thank you and bless each of you!