Brian Kemp was sworn in as Georgia’s 83rd governor on Monday, kicking off a week of events that will define his first year in office.
The ceremonies began at 10 a.m. with a prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead followed by a 2 p.m. swearing-in at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. At 4:30 p.m., Kemp will conduct a review of the troops at the statehouse.
Follow the AJC throughout the day for live updates:
3:10 p.m. Brian Kemp was sworn in as Georgia’s 83rd governor on Monday with a speech that aimed to put the charged, partisan campaign behind him and start anew with a pledge to work with Democrats to “put people ahead of divisive politics.”
2:45 p.m: Kemp is now swearing in other statewide constitutional officers: Attorney General Chris Carr, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, School Superintendent Richard Woods, Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
2:35 p.m.: Geoff Duncan, the new lieutenant governor and a Georgia Tech graduate, jokes that Kemp is “finally able to work through the divide” between UGA and its bitter rival.
He gave special thanks to his wife, Brooke, and his three sons. A former baseball player, he met Brooke on the football field when he was a high school quarterback and she was a trainer.
Duncan said she’s followed his “every crazy dream” - from minor league baseball to one of the state’s top offices.
2:30 p.m.: Brian Kemp is sworn into office by Judge T.J. Hudson, and shortly after footage of a 19-gun salute plays on the big screen at McCamish Pavilion. His first act as governor: He swears in Geoff Duncan, who was elected lieutenant governor.
2:25 p.m.: Gov. Nathan Deal delivers the Great Seal of the state of Georgia to Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden, who hands it to Kemp. He accepts it, to a round of applause.
2:20 p.m.: House Speaker David Ralston gets to take the podium first.
He thanks members of the armed forces “who provide the shield” to protect the nation before praising Kemp and other statewide elected officials.
“Together, we look forward to working with you to keep Georgia moving forward,” he said, welcoming “the next chapter in the history of our state.”
2:10 p.m.: Host Erick Erickson introduces dozens of Georgia leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the members of Georgia’s top appellate court and every statewide elected official.
Gov. Nathan Deal got the warmest greeting, drawing sustained applause and a standing ovation.
1:55 p.m.: Here’s the scene about five minutes before the ceremony started:
1:45 p.m.: A group of protesters has gathered outside the Georgia Tech basketball arena where Brian Kemp is about to be sworn into office.
1 p.m.: The McCamish Pavilion is starting to fill up with Kemp supporters and officials. Gov. Nathan Deal’s senior staffers walked by a few minutes ago, and a big crowd of lobbyists and former legislators is cramming into the seats.
Noon: A hint about how Kemp will govern? The Bible verse he will invoke when he’s sworn into office is Proverbs 16:7: “When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
11:30 a.m.: After the service concluded The Very Rev. Samuel G. Candler, dean of the Cathedral, said “it was a great honor” to host Kemp and family and the hundreds of people who attended the private event.
“We pray for the state and for the country regularly here,” Candler said. “This was a good way to symbolize that witness.”
He was on site at the crack of dark, overseeing last-minute preparations, and things seemingly went off without a hitch. The service included remarks from 16 celebrants, four congregational hymns, a responsive Psalm, choral selections and the passing of the Peace - yet took less than an hour.
“It was complicated, but sometimes the kingdom of God is complicated,” Candler quipped afterward. In contemplating the prayers to offer Monday morning, he turned to the seal of Georgia for inspiration. It is emblazoned with the state’s motto, “Wisdom, Justice and Moderation.”
“My prayer for the governor-elect and for all the citizens is for wisdom and for justice and for moderation,” Candler said. “They go a long way these days.”
10:50 a.m.: With the church service over, Kemp and his family left the sanctuary followed by hundreds of friends and dignitaries. Next up: His inauguration ceremony at Georgia Tech.
10:30 a.m.: A handful of current and former Georgia politicians packed the pews at the church service. We spotted Attorney General Chris Carr, incoming Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton, former state Sen. Judson Hill and Hunter Hill, who ran for governor and later endorsed Kemp.
10 a.m.: Kemp and his family enter the sanctuary as the choir sings: “To God Be the Glory.” The dean, The Very Rev. Sam Candler, opened with a prayer that Kemp serve justly and humbly. He was followed by a series of hymns and solemn readings.
Monday’s prayer service was an ecumenical one, with celebrants from other Protestant denominations and the Jewish faith represented. Unlike a typical Episcopal service, there was no homily or eucharist.
9 a.m.: Kemp’s friends and family are filing into the Cathedral of St. Philip for a private ceremony with no fewer than 16 members of the clergy from across Georgia.
The site is personal for Kemp, whose sister Julie K. Rief is a parishioner here. And Candler is known for giving AJC Peachtree Road Race runners a refreshing spritz of holy water.
The red and white flowers on the altar and throughout the church are meant to symbolize love, devotion and spirituality in honor of Brian and Marty Kemp’s late fathers.
8 a.m.: Crowds will soon begin to arrive at McCamish Pavilion, a setting that isn’t designed to send a political message but still holds a certain symbolism for Kemp.
An Athens native, the Republican steeped his campaign in hues of deep red and black, laces his speeches with maxims from coach Kirby Smart like “keep chopping wood,” and took time off the campaign trail to take in Georgia games.
One of his first public appearances after his victory: A venture to the sidelines of this month’s SEC championship game between Georgia and Alabama.
He’s such a fierce Bulldog supporter that the Democratic Party of Georgia, looking to get under his skin, financed a plane to fly above Athens on a football Saturday towing a banner displaying something unspeakable to any self-respecting UGA fan: “@BrianKemp says … Go Vols.”
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