Four statewide elected officials were sworn into office this morning (Monday), including the rookie of the bunch — 31-year-old Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
Schultz, a Republican, decided to have a solo ceremony to take the oath of office, and he asked a retired Council Bluffs district court judge who is now a senior judge to administer the oath.
“Because this is my first time, I wanted it to be special…and, you know, Council Bluffs is really special to me. If it weren’t for Council Bluffs, I wouldn’t be here and so I wanted a judge I knew from Council Bluffs to come swear me in and I’m honored to have Judge Abel here,” Schultz says.
Schultz, who grew up in Des Moines, got his law degree from Creighton University and was a member of the Council Bluffs City Council. Schultz has left his law practice behind, but plans to commute from Council Bluffs to Des Moines, as his wife is expecting their fourth child in February.
Schultz took the oath of office in the old Iowa Supreme Court Chamber in the statehouse, just around the corner from his new office.
“I am just thrilled. I’m excited. It’s a neat experience. Being in this chamber and in this building is very humbling,” Schultz said. “…I pinch myself every time I come in here. I mean, it’s a really neat, really neat experience.”
Schultz held his 18-month-old daughter as he took the oath. His parents, his wife, eight-year-old son Levi and five-year-old son Hiram stood beside him, the boys dressed in suits for the occasion.
Three other statewide elected officials who won reelection to their posts were sworn in for their next terms at a ceremony earlier this morning. It was the first public act for Mark Cady, the new interim chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, and he called it a “pleasant” occasion.
“The oath is not taken just for the officer and the official, but it is for the public as well. It is for all Iowans,” Cady said. “The oath serves as a constant reminder of the significance of the duties and obligations that we carry out as public officials in the service of the people and for the people of Iowa.”
Cady, who has been a member of the court since 1998, is the author of the controversial 2009 opinion which paved the way for gay marriage in Iowa. Cady was selected to be chief justice by the four justices who remain on the court. The terms for the three justices who were voted off the court this fall ended last week.
Cady administered the oath of office to State Auditor Dave Vaudt, a Republican, and two Democrats – State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller – then each made a few remarks to the crowd of family and staff members who’d gathered in the courtroom. Fitzgerald said he was “enthusiastic and honored” to be serving another term.
“This is the eighth time I’ve taken this oath and I’m as committed today as I was on the first day I’ve taken this office,” Fitzgerald said. “And I pledge to you that for the next four years I will do everything possible to help the folks of the state of Iowa through the treasurer’s office.”
Like Fitzgerald, State Auditor Dave Vaudt gave a brief speech. ”It is an honor and a privilege to serve as Iowa’s state auditor,” Vaudt said. “It’s a role that I take very, very seriously.”
But while the other two officials spoke for a minute or less, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller spoke for six minutes, offering his own commentary on the 2010 elections.