2013 Opening Day: 51st Legislature Underway
The 51st Legislature is under way and senators are at work. The session began with opening ceremonies on Monday, January 14. The gallery was full of guests who were invited to watch the ceremonies. After the call to order, a prayer was led by Jose R. Montenegro, pastor of Apostolic Assembly in Surprise, Arizona.
Following the opening prayer the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Color Guard presented the colors. Life scout and student from Greenfield Junior High Carlos Rojas led the body in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Arizona native and finalist on the show America’s Got Talent, Anna Graceman.
The Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Rebecca White Berch was escorted to the Senate floor to lead the Senators-elect in the Oath of Office. After the Senators were sworn into office, the first order of business was the election of the President of the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs was unanimously voted Senate President.
President Biggs took his chair and after a brief recess, he introduced the Heritage Academy Advanced Choir—a group comprised of junior and senior high school students. Heritage Academy is dedicated to instilling a knowledge of and respect for the ideals and values of the great men and women of history, including those who founded the American nation. The choir strives to support this goal through their music and performances. Led by Karli Giles, the students sang America the Beautiful and Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Finally, President Biggs introduced the day’s speaker, Brigadier General Michael D. Rothstein—Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base.
The General shared the history behind Luke Air Force Base’s namesake, Frank Luke. He talked about Luke’s heroism that led him to be the first airman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. With an attitude of humility, gratitude, and respect, General Rothstein urged members to remember the core values of the Air Force over the course of this session: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all they do.