Over 2,300 attend Kelly's inaugural ball

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Governor Laura Kelly ended her Inauguration Day at the Kansas Expocentre.

With a standing ovation more than 2,300 people welcomed Kelly to her inaugural ball.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, Senate President Susan Wagle and house leaders toasted bipartisanship and a new era with Kelly in the capital.

“Governor Kelly,” said Hensley. “That has a nice ring to it.”

“We are called to respect our leaders, pray for our leaders and do everything possible to be a positive influence on our collaborative process,” Wagle said.

In her final speech of the day, Kelly gave a collective thank you to her family, supporters, Kansas Law Enforcement and state legislators.

“I know we won’t always get along but we will always work together,” said Kelly. “I will always listen, I will always negotiate, I will always compromise and we will move this state forward.”

She’s ready to celebrate, then get to work.

“The energy during the inaugural was palpable,” said Kelly. “I think many people are excited about the opportunity we have today.”

For former Governor Kathleen Sebelius, the night brought back memories.

“It was 12 years ago when we were in this very place for my first inauguration,” said Sebelius. “I’m thrilled to be here with Laura.”

Sebelius first encouraged Kelly to run for the state senate in 1994. Now, they’re two of the state’s three female governors.

“I just felt she was the right person for this time in Kansas,” said Sebelius. “A big challenge but a big opportunity.”

Republican Representative Brenda Dietrich was attending her first Inaugural Ball, showing her support for the new governor and the state.

“I know tons of people here who are excited about what we might accomplish in the next session,” Dietrich said.

Kelly’s term is just beginning but her supports are hopeful.

“We needed Laura Kelly as our governor to support education and make sure we have a future for the children of Kansas,” supporter Judy Desetti said.