HARTFORD -- M. Jodi Rell was sworn in as Connecticut governor yesterday and immediately pledged to ''restore faith, integrity, and honor" as she took over for John G. Rowland, who resigned amid a federal corruption investigation and threats of impeachment.
In a somber ceremony on the Capitol steps, Rell bluntly told residents that the scandal they watched unfold over the past year had ''plagued our state for far too long." About 1,000 dignitaries sat on folding chairs to watch Rell take the oath of office, her left hand resting on a family Bible.
''It has been a time of profound disappointment and disillusionment," the 58-year-old Republican said during a ceremony televised statewide. ''It has been a moment in history that we never thought we would see, and fervently hope that we never see again."
She immediately appointed an ethics chief and said her first act would be to sign an executive order that would impose strict ethics restraints on government employees.
Rowland did not attend the ceremony. Once a rising star in the Republican Party, Rowland announced his resignation last week rather than face potential impeachment for taking gifts from state contractors, friends, and politically appointed employees.
The scandal broke after Rowland admitted to accepting renovations at his lakeside cottage, including a new hot tub. Other gifts and favors soon came to light: cigars, champagne, free or discounted vacations, a vintage Ford Mustang convertible. Rowland has insisted he never did anything in exchange for the gifts.
Rowland, 47, has kept a low profile since his resignation. He and his wife have spent much of their time packing their belongings to prepare to leave the executive residence in Hartford.
Rell, the second female governor of Connecticut, will serve out the remainder of Rowland's third term, which expires in January 2007. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin B. Sullivan, a Democrat, was later sworn in as lieutenant governor in the state Senate chamber.
Rell also reached out to state employees, a group that was at loggerheads with Rowland, sending an e-mail explaining how they all had an opportunity to work together to restore public trust.