The Quad-City inaugural ball held four years ago when President Barack Obama first took office was such a big hit, co-organizer Cathy Bolkcom said, that she began getting messages when Obama was re-elected asking if another ball would be held.
And while the number of attendees at this year’s inaugural ball, held Monday night at the River Center in Davenport, was down to more than 300 from about 550 four years ago, Bolkcom said the event was a chance to have fun and for Obama supporters to celebrate a successful re-election campaign.
“A lot of people in this room worked very hard, knocking on doors and making phone calls,” Bolkcom said.
Bolkcom, of LeClaire, and co-organizer Lou Goral of Davenport said putting together the event was a lot of work, but well worth it.
Sue Golden, who helped organize the local Obama inaugural ball in 2009, said she was asked to be an honorary co-chair this year.
“Usually, I’m the worker bee,” Golden, of Rock Island, said.
Golden said the celebration was more subdued than in 2009, when Obama supporters were still excited about his victory, making him the first African-American to be elected president.
“To see him win was beyond our wildest dreams,” Golden said.
Golden recalled meeting Obama while he was serving in the Illinois Senate, and telling him that if he ever ran for higher office, she would help his campaign.
Golden said she was impressed by Obama’s inaugural address Monday.
“He hit it out of the park,” she said.
She said she hoped Obama would be able to make progress on new gun control legislation in his second term, despite the stiff opposition he faces.
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“It’s the start of the conversation,” she said.
Jim Ross of Davenport said he and his wife, Julie, worked on both of Obama’s campaigns, and wanted to help celebrate his victory.
“We feel a deep connection to many of the people here, as well as to the campaign,” Ross said.
Ross said he would like to see Obama make substantial progress on addressing the issue of global warming. Ross added that as a diabetic who has made several career decisions based on his need to continue his health insurance coverage, he supports Obama’s effort to reform the nation’s health care system.
Ross agreed that the crowd Monday was “a little more subdued” than in 2009, but Golden said she didn’t mind.
“That’s OK,” she said. “This is a great crowd and I’ve seen a lot of friends.”
While the event was not organized to be a fundraiser, any proceeds will benefit the homeless shelter for women operated by Churches United of the Quad-Cities Area.