COLUMBUS, Ohio - When Governor Bob Taft and Lt. Governor Jennette Bradley were sworn-in this week in Columbus many at Bradley's alma mater, Wittenberg University, shared her pride as she took her place in history books as the first African American female Lt. Governor in the United States. When she took the oath, Bradley also made Wittenberg history by reaching the highest elected political office of any graduate in the school's 158-year history, according to Dan Harkins, Clark County Republican Party chairman.
"This is a big moment for Wittenberg," Harkins said at a reception in her honor following the ceremony.
Later in the day, Lt. Governor Bradley was also sworn in as director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, where she will oversee the state's chief regulatory agency in addition to her role as Lt. Governor. Bradley also becomes the chief policy adviser for community development and housing programs, and will chair the Clean Ohio Council, which selects projects that will receive grants and low-interest loans from $200 million of the Clean Ohio Fund.
"I am both proud and humbled to become part of such a dynamic administration," Bradley said. "I relish the chance to work with Governor Taft over the next four years, assisting him in achieving his vision for a more prosperous Ohio."
Bradley is a 1974 graduate of Wittenberg, where she majored in psychology and was active on campus. She currently serves on the university's board of directors. Wittenberg Vice President for University Advancement Charles Dominick and others from the school attended the inauguration where a tribute to the Lt. Governor attracted about 600 people.
"We at Wittenberg are very proud of her accomplishments and very pleased to have one of our graduates in such a prominent position of public service," Dominick said. "Jennette embodies the very values that Wittenberg seeks to nurture in all of its graduates."
At the reception in her honor, an emotional Bradley said, "This is America, the land of opportunity where all dreams may come true. I am honored to occupy this place in the history of our nation and in our great state. Words cannot adequately express the elation and deep emotion that comes with this moment."
Taft's inaugural speech referred to Ohio's Bicentennial observance this year, the state's founding fathers and other notables. He used that as a link to Bradley's historic role.
"Let us walk in the shoes of those who went before us," he said. "Let's make it possible for every single Ohio child to succeed like Jennette Bradley or John Glenn or Neil Armstrong."
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