Newly-inaugurated Gov. Jared Polis identified two guiding principles for his administration's approach to governing the state during his inauguration speech Tuesday: viewing problems as solutions waiting to happen and valuing bold, new approaches to Colorado's challenges.

"If you have a bold idea and you fight for it...then truly anything is possible in our great state and in our great country," Polis said.

Polis said he will detail what his administration will do to address Colorado's challenges during the State of the State address on Thursday, which he said include:

  • Building a stronger education system.
  • Ensuring families have access to high-quality healthcare.
  • Creating high-paying jobs.
  • Protecting Colorado's air and water with cheap, renewable energy.

"We will never be slowed by indecision," Polis said. "We will never be stunted by lack of imagination."

Jared Polis Inauguration
KUSA

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Polis soundly defeated Republican Walker Stapleton in November to become the nation's first openly gay governor.

John Owsley, 22, said he came to the inauguration because it meant so much to see someone like him in high office. He grew up in the rural community of Alamosa. He's attending graduate school in Denver and is openly gay.

grew up in the rural community of Alamosa. He is currently in graduate school in Denver and is openly gay. He said he came to the inauguration because it meant so much to see someone like him in high office.

"There was a time when I never thought I'd see this and I did," Owsley said. 

A man from Springfield, Missouri, came to the inauguration to sell buttons -- some of which he said he typically sells at Pride events around the country. What he said was a "historic event" prompted him to make the drive. 

RELATED: Democrat Jared Polis defeats Republican Walker Stapleton to become Colorado's next governor

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Polis, a wealthy tech and education entrepreneur and former five-term congressman from Boulder, succeeds Gov. John Hickenlooper, who served the maximum of two terms.

Hickenlooper also spoke Tuesday, touting the state's accomplishments over the past eight years, such as closing coal plants, attracting talent from all over the world and reversing "decades of emissions growth."

KUSA

Hickenlooper said Polis spent "most of his adult life working on the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change to the arc of lifelong learning."

"He's curious and creative. He's bold," Hickenlooper said Tuesday. "It's really coded into the DNA of all entrepreneurs ... and Jared is a true entrepreneur."

Tuesday's ceremony, which was free and open to anyone, took place on the west steps of the state Capitol. The public was in a separate area and watched the proceedings on a video monitor. 

Traffic near the Capitol will continue to be impacted throughout the day, according to Denver Public Works.

Commuters should expect delays due to the following closures:

  • Grant Street from Colfax to 14th Avenues
  • Lincoln Street from 13th to Colfax Avenue
  • Sherman Street from 13th to 14th Avenues
  • 14th Avenues from Broadway to Grant Street

The roads that were closed late Monday in preparation for the ceremony and aren't expected to reopen until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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