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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Tea party favorite Dan Patrick has been sworn in as Texas’ new lieutenant governor and will oversee the powerful state Senate.

A devout born-again Christian, Patrick had been a state senator since 2007. He was inaugurated on the Texas Capitol steps Tuesday by his son Ryan, a state district judge in Houston.

Patrick promised to take Texas’ already strong conservatism “to the next level,” saying Texans “gave us a mandate.”

He also cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in praising “school choice,” or controversial voucher programs that allow taxpayer money to flow to private and religious schools.

Patrick has also promised deep property and business tax cuts.

The 54-year-old succeeds David Dewhurst, who had been lieutenant governor since 2003 but lost to Patrick in a bitter Republican primary last March.

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