Newly inaugurated Gov. Jared Polis made his first “state-of-the-state” speech last week, wearing a pair of his trademark blue sneakers. His unconventional footwear was eye catching while he was on the campaign trail last year, giving a double meaning to the phrase “running shoes.”

But here’s an interesting thing about sneakers: Some people wear them to improve their performance in athletic activities, while others just wear them as fashion statements.

This is actually a pretty good metaphor for Polis as he begins his first term in office. Will he be a governor who performs his duties at a high level, or will he be more about style than substance?

This editorial board didn’t endorse Polis last fall, primarily because we thought he was offering a lot of big ideas without clear plans for how to pay for them. However, the election is over. He’s our governor. And we’re willing to give him the benefit of a doubt that he can deliver on some of the big promises he’s been making.

During his speech last week, Polis continued to stress some of the themes he highlighted during his campaign, including full-day kindergarten and lower-cost health care throughout the state. No reasonable person could be against such goals. The question was then, and remains, how Polis proposes to pay for them.

In a telephone call with this editorial board following his speech, he said that he’s already found a way for the state to pick up the costs for statewide full-day kindergarten. He said that would save Pueblo City Schools (D60) about $3 million a year and Pueblo County School District 70 about $1.7 million that the local school districts could spend for other purposes.

That’s wonderful news, although we’re still waiting to hear how the state could afford to take on that additional financial commitment for districts throughout Colorado.

Polis does seem to have a good grasp on other issues that are important to Pueblo, too. He said he’ll soon appoint a new director for the Department of Human Services, which oversees the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. Polis said one of the new director’s top priorities will be addressing the hospital’s staffing crisis. That makes sense if Polis is as serious about improving the quality of health care as he says he is about improving access.

Polis also said he hopes to influence state regulators to lower electricity rates for Pueblo, which would be a relief to local customers and hopefully a selling point for more economic development. He said he wants to encourage the continued development of renewable energy sources in Pueblo, which also would be a plus.

And while it wouldn’t directly affect Pueblo, he plans to start a program that would provide some level of student loan forgiveness for new teachers who agree to work in under-served parts of the state, including rural parts of Southern Colorado.

Perhaps most importantly, Polis said he and top staff members would be spending a lot of time visiting Pueblo and responding to the community’s needs. We’ve heard that wind blow out of Denver before, but again, we’re trying to give the new administration the benefit of a doubt.

We’ll start to find out soon enough whether our new governor is a race horse or a show horse. Despite some of our skepticism, we’re hoping for the sake of our community that he’s born to run.