By Susan Tebben
For David Green and his 15-year-old daughter, Alison, seeing the president sworn in from the lawn in front of the Capitol building was a surreal experience.
“We weren’t sure what to expect, but it was awesome,” Green said. “We got to see what we’d worked for and say, ‘That’s our guy.’”
The inauguration of President Barack Obama, seen by approximately 700,000 people in Washington, was an experience that was even more special for Green, as the president of the United Auto Workers Local 1714 at the Lordstown General Motors complex.
When Obama first was inaugurated, Green was still waiting to see how the first four years would go and if Obama would fulfill his promises for the auto industry. This time around, Green was glad to go celebrate the president he said “took a chance” on Lordstown and the auto industry.
A group of 52 members of UAW at Lordstown chartered a bus to go to the inauguration, to celebrate the president that led them through the automotive- industry bailout, without which many of the auto workers of the area could have been without jobs, Green said.
“He had our back at the worst time I can remember in my lifetime,” Green said in a phone interview on his way back from Washington on Monday. “I didn’t have to foreclose on my home, and I don’t have to worry about as much.”
Green campaigned for Obama in his 2012 campaign and was happy to take his daughter with him to Washington so she could be a part of it.
“Once we got there, she saw that it was a big deal,” he said. “It was very exciting.”
Local and national representatives of Youngstown saw the inauguration as a new beginning for the nation.
“The President delivered a tremendous address today, reminding us that we have accomplished much, but still we have more work to do,” said Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, in an emailed statement. “The President reminds us that we are made for this moment. It is not ours individually, but ours as a nation, and is ours for the taking.”
State Representative Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, didn’t make it to the inauguration because he wanted to be home in Youngstown to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and celebrate the inauguration at home. But he did attend Ohio’s inaugural ball before he left Washington.
“It was an exciting moment to be together with like-minded Democrats,” Hagan said on Monday. “It was a great moment in history for all of us.”