BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Kathleen Blanco was sworn in Monday as the first woman governor of Louisiana.
Blanco, a Democrat, defeated Republican Bobby Jindal in a hotly contested Nov. 15 runoff. The former two-term lieutenant governor succeeded Republican Gov. Mike Foster, who was limited to three terms.
After receiving the oath of office in English and French -- an acknowledgement of her Cajun heritage -- the new governor pledged to improve education, health programs and to bring new jobs to Louisiana during her term in office.
"Our state is a cherished national treasure because there is something irresistible about the way we live life to the fullest," Blanco said. "As we share our culture, our language, our music and our recipes, we also want the world to know about building a bolder, more confident Louisiana."
The ceremony on the Capitol steps was the culmination of a 20-year political climb for the 61-year-old Blanco, who was a state legislator, a public service commissioner, and lieutenant governor before her victory last fall over Jindal by a margin of 52 to 48 percent.