John N. Dalton took up his task as governor of Virginia today by pledging an administration that will avoid "extravagant promises" but will effectively "attack the tough problems" of the day.

In his brief inaugural speech on the sunny south portico of Virginia's 18th century Capitol, the new Republican executive transformed his campaign promises to be a "problem solving gorvernor" into government policy.

Last Nov. 8, he won a surprisingly easy victory over Democratic populist Henry E. Howell by selling himself as the new guardian of moderation in a singularly conservative Southern state.In his speech today, he reread those election results as a mandate for shirtsleeves management of public affairs.

"In my judgment," he said, "the people want government that is effective, government that will work to solve their problems. The people are more interested in solutions than in slogans.

"The results of the balloting two months ago and the observation of our own common sense show that the people of Virginia still believe in the middle way - the way of moderation, of prudence, of reliance on time-tested principle."

This was a formal assessment by the new governor of the ideological bent of the Virginia voter and taxpayer. It was the assessment that guided his successful campaign.

Asked on the eve of his nomination at the state Republican convention last June whether he would run to the political right no matter who the Democrats nominated to oppose him. Dalton nodded and said, "That's where the people are."

Dalton blamed what he called public skepticism of the effectiveness of government on unrealistic expectations that government could remake society.

"Many of the governmental programs enacted in a more confident time were later judged useless failures," he said.

"This is a hursh indictment ability of government to perform. I am afraid that in many cases the skepticism has become mere apathy as people conclude that government is ineffective or benefits only a few.

"It is our task to prove that the opposite is true - that government at least in Virginia, is effective; that it can attack the tough problems, that it works to benefit all the people or at least the great majority."

Dalton's speech, like all inagural, addresses, was long on rhetoric and short on program proposal. However he gave heart to Northern Virginians in the crowd of 3,500 by including mass transportation in his list of "tough problem" he believes Virginia government can solve.

Former Gov. Mills E. Godwin who went out office today as Dalton came in, successfully frustrated attempts during the last four year legislators from the Washington suburbs to win a long-term committee of substantial state support for Metro subway construction.

"We must untangle the traffic jams of our own technology," he said, "be it the need for more efficient mass transportation systems serving thousands of people or the individual and very personal problem of a citizen looking for a missing benefits check."

However, he returned again to the caveat that much of success in government depends on the avoidance of expectations that are too high.

"Above all," "we must make it clear that government can be trusted as much as any other frail human institution." We can do that byavoiding extravagant prontage-by trying to do what we can reasonably expect to accomplish."

Dalton also renewed his commitment to operate an administration in which black as well as white. Virginians, and and women as well as men, have a meaningful stake.


Dalton already has begun to fulfill his promise to include blacks and women in the government by naming Joy Manson as a policy analyst on his gubernatorial staff and by appointing Dr. Jean Harris, a black physician, to be secretary of human resources. Haris is the first black Virginian and first woman to hold a top level, policy making position in the state government.

Dalton's address contained an ambivalent statement of his intended posture toward the federal government. He said, "I will seek to cooperate fully with agencies of the federal government, asking only that they [TEXT ILLEGIBLE]