Ralph Northam sworn in as Virginia's 73rd governor

Environmental activists demonstrated at Gov. Ralph Northam’s inauguration

Environmental activists demonstrated at Gov. Ralph Northam’s inauguration

Ralph Shearer Northam was sworn into office Saturday as Virginia's 73rd governor, calling from the steps of the state Capitol for Virginians to find their "moral compass" to take on the state's challenges.

Northam told the crowds that gathered to see him that working together with the Republican led General Assembly was key.

Northam said Virginia was an example that the rest of the country could follow. "If you've felt that way, I want to you listen to me right now: We are bigger than this".

But Northam is also backing Medicaid expansion that Republican leaders strongly oppose. "And it's time to summon it again, because we have a lot of work to do".

Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, a parade will kick off.

"We're going in the wrong direction on health care in Virginia and America", Northam said.

Northam also pointed to his time as a doctor to offer a sympathetic ear saying he would try to do the same as governor.

Northam's inaugural committee has raised over $1.9 million as of Friday, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan money-in-politics tracker.

The executive order mirrors one previously issued by Northam's predecessor, Terry McAuliffe.

"In a church on a hill 15 blocks from here, Virginia's first elected governor helped launch the American Revolution when he cried, 'Give me liberty, or give me death!'", Northam said, referring to Patrick Henry's famous speech at St. John's Church. The dogs aid wounded, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Northam addressed the cadets by saying, "I am proud to be one of you".