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Hawaii residents attend gala, support Obama at inauguration

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 05:10 p.m. HST, Jan 19, 2013

WASHINGTON >> Hundreds of Hawaii residents gathered in the historic Hay-Adams hotel tonight to celebrate President Barack Obama’s inauguration — and support an effort to bring his presidential library to the islands.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation, three Hawaii mayors and other notables were at the inaugural gala, put on as a benefit for the Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative. The event raised about $50,000.

Movers and shakers at the party said they believed Hawaii has a fair shot of snagging the presidential library, which would be an economic boon for the islands and would carry hefty prestige.

Hawaii — Obama’s birthplace — is competing for the library with Chicago, where Obama began his political career.

University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood told the crowd that UH, which is spearheading the effort, has been in talks with the Obama White House.

“I’m here to tell you we can do this,” Greenwood told attendees.

The event, which featured Hawaiian food and music, was the raucous wrap-up to a busy day for many Hawaii residents in the nation’s capital.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of residents picked up their tickets to Obama’s swearing-in ceremonies, and were taking in some sights.

Staff for Hawaii’s congressional delegation said Hawaii folks were coming in today in steady streams to pick up their free tickets to the swearing-in ceremonies. 

The turnout was much smaller than what was seen in 2009, when there were hours-long waits just to get through security at the Senate and House offices.

There was no security line to get into the Dirksen building, where U.S. Sen Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, has a temporary office. Staff laid out pastries and cookies for Hawaii residents dropping by to pick up tickets. 

Among those who came by was Gloria Borland, a documentary filmmaker who lives part-time in the islands. Borland and her daughter, Imiloa, attended the swearing-in ceremony in 2009, and plan to be in the crowd Monday.

Borland said she wanted to attend the inauguration to support the president. “It’s history for her,” she added, patting Imiloa’s shoulder.

Mun-Won Chang, of Ewa Beach, picked up tickets for her and her husband from the offices of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii. Chang also attended in 2009. 

“It’s a historic, important event,” she said, when asked why she wanted to see the president sworn into a second term.

She added that Obama’s re-election is a “confirmation from people that it wasn’t just a fluke, that he was meant to be here.”

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NanakuliBoss wrote:
Nothing like supporting our native son. Imua President!
on January 19,2013 | 08:51AM
DAGR81 wrote:
Are you really proud to say he is our native son?
on January 19,2013 | 12:42PM
Hanalei13 wrote:
Obviously, that's why they said so.
on January 19,2013 | 07:44PM
stingray65 wrote:
Obama is from Chicago!!
on January 19,2013 | 09:19AM
kaleki wrote:
he's from Hawaii when it plays in his favor.
on January 19,2013 | 10:47AM
HD36 wrote:
Wow free tickets to attend the inauguration. Where does the money come from? How come nobody paid?
on January 19,2013 | 10:04AM
Hanalei13 wrote:
Attending inauguration is free for any member of the public.
on January 19,2013 | 07:44PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The turnout was much smaller than what was seen in 2009 As the saying goes, Hope has changed to Cope.
on January 19,2013 | 11:07AM
jussayin wrote:
Yup, Obama's home is in Chicago. http://www.celebrityhousepictures.com/barack-obama.php
on January 19,2013 | 03:27PM
HD36 wrote:
Will they be sitting or kneeling before Obama?
on January 19,2013 | 07:03PM
Hanalei13 wrote:
What an astute, intelligent, and insightful comment! Really constructive and amazingly terse. How do you manage?!
on January 19,2013 | 07:46PM
HD36 wrote:
I've studied the Constitution of the United States and I've witnessed the erosion of civil liberties since Obama took office. Some choose to take a stand, others, like yourself will kneel forever.
on January 19,2013 | 09:06PM
false wrote:
Curious that your concern about the Constitution did not develop until Obama was elected. I guess Bush was just fine for you and your fellow reactionaries?
on January 20,2013 | 08:29AM
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