AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott had nerves of steel as he recited the oath to become Texas’ top leader Tuesday, if you ask the man standing closest to him at that moment.
“He wasn’t nervous, but he was very serious,” said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht. “He’s taken the oath before, many times. It gets to be something that you kind of go through the motions, and then it was over.”
Just as governors had for more than 150 years before him, Abbott raised his right hand and laid his left hand on the traditional Sam Houston Bible, pledging allegiance to the Lone Star State. Hecht held that historic book which was stacked on top of a family Bible given to Abbott by his father.
“Gov. Abbott was pronouncing each word, and you really heard him at the end: “So help me God,” Hecht said. “When Audrey (Abbott’s 17-year-old daughter) leaned over and hugged his neck at the end, he was visibly moved.”
Abbott was previously the state’s attorney general and – like Hecht – sat on the state’s highest court as a justice. With that background, the chief justice said the new governor will have a unique approach to his new job.
“Being a judge has given him two great things,” he explained. “One: he can see both sides. Judges have to be able to see both sides. Two: he’s got very strong principles, too. I think those traits he had as a justice on our court will serve him very well as governor.”
Watch our full interview with Hecht this Sunday morning at 8:30 on State of Texas: In-depth.