Last year, Jamie Woods says, she and her 11-year-old daughter spent a lot of time at President Barack Obama’s campaign office in Davenport.
Making telephone calls and doing other volunteer work, her daughter “missed a lot of home-cooked meals,” Woods of Davenport, says. But she notes that her daughter, Jada, was an avid and capable volunteer.
“She even did talking points ... on her phone and on her school bus,” Woods says.
Now, it’s paying off for the both of them. Woods and Jada will be among the Quad-Citians attending the inauguration festivities Monday in Washington, D.C.
“I told my daughter I promise if we win this time, I will take you to the inauguration, and we will go,” said Woods, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. “I told her hard work pays off.”
For many Iowans, particularly those who volunteered for the president’s campaign last year, the weekend’s activities surrounding Monday’s inaugural festivities will be a special occasion.
Iowa not only launched the president’s 2008 campaign, but it was also a battleground in the 2012 election, and thousands of volunteers put in countless hours identifying, persuading and getting out the vote across the state. Obama won Iowa with 52 percent of the vote to just more than 46 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.
It’s a special time for Obama supporters on both sides of the Mississippi River. On Saturday night, a busload of about 40 people from across the area left for Washington, D.C., a trip organized by Davenport NAACP President Vera Kelly and her sister.
This will be her second journey to an Obama inauguration. Kelly said she’s downloaded the smartphone app that will help direct them to their spot on Monday. While they are there, she said, they also plan to visit Arlington Cemetery, as well as a gathering for people who worked in this area on the 2008 campaign.
Four years ago, the inaugural was history in the making.
“When they announced him as president of the United States, yellow, black, white, brown, everybody was hugging,” Kelly recalled last week.
Some analysts have noted that this inaugural doesn’t have the same history-making sense to it. This will be the president’s second term, and during the past four years, the administration has battled with congressional Republicans over a range of issues.
That’s often meant compromises that have opened him to criticism, even from members of his own party. Still, Kelly notes, it will be no less thrilling for her.
“I’m excited,” she said.
Of course, a lot of the president’s Quad-City supporters aren’t going to Washington, D.C. Some of those who aren’t will be going to the second Quad-Cities Obama Inaugural Ball on Monday night at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport. Organizers said 200 people had signed up as of Friday afternoon.
Don Johnston is one of those people who won’t be going to Washington, D.C., but he would have had a good seat if he had gone. Johnston, the 17th District committeeman on the Illinois Democratic Party’s Central Committee, was a member of the Electoral College. And as such, he was given a prime seat for the inauguration.
This is a busy time for his direct-mail business, however. The Illinois primary is a little more than a month away, and much of his business is political.
“I’ve got a full load of mail to be done,” he said Friday. “When you’re a one-man mailer, you can’t get away.”
But then, he’s done inaugurations before. Johnston attended the events for President Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997.
Q-C Inaugural ball
What: Second Quad-Cities Obama Inaugural Ball
When: 6 p.m. to midnight Monday
Where: Davenport RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St.
Ticket information: firstname.lastname@example.org