Elon and Burlington residents expect Obama to discuss economy in Inaugural Address

Miriam Williamson

Courtesy of Governing.com

Courtesy of Governing.com

At 8 a.m. on a rainy first day of exams, President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural address was the last thing on Elon students’ minds. Instead, they were either sleeping, studying or starting exams.

Some simply had no opinion, others were “too busy to care right now” and there was even the embarrassingly uninformed response of, “Oh, I didn’t watch it yet.”

But outside of the bubble, Elon and Burlington residents are well-aware of what an important part of history is in the making. The words economy, turmoil, mess and help all seemed to be top words on everyone’s mind.

Residents express concern for economy

“I think it’ll be a big event,” said Glen Rudd, a retired Burlington resident. “I hope he’ll get across the points that he had in his campaign. The economy is the main thing … and Iraq. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can do what he said he can do. I didn’t vote for him but I’m behind him.”

Other residents shared a similar concern for the economy.

“Obviously he needs to talk about the economy,” said Kim Debrito, a Burlington resident and mom of two. “Just here locally people are losing their jobs left and right … so job loss and what he’s going to do to turn it around.”

Even residents who did not support Obama are eager to see what he will do to improve the economy.

“I hope he gives ideas to help the economy,” said Pat Christie, an Elon resident. “It can’t get much worse.”

“In general the economy and specifically the automotive bailout need to be addressed,” said William Barham, a 1960 Elon alumnus.

Junior Sammi Miller expressed concern for the individual industries being affected by the current economic situation as well.

“I think it’s important to work on the auto industry because that’s a mess,” Miller said. “I think also he should say something about the tribune company and that our print media is really having an issue right now keeping afloat, and that’s the biggest source for in-depth news.”

Aside from the economy, residents expressed concern for every aspect of Obama’s plans to help the country, from medicare to education.

“I want to see what’s going to happen,” said Robby Wheatly, an Insurance Adjustor in Burlington. “I don’t know if there’s anything specific he should address; there are just so many problems. He’s not going to be able to address it all in one speech. The bailout and his new medicare system are probably the most important topics I can think of.”

Elon senior Leah McLeod couldn’t pinpoint a single idea she wants Obama to discuss, but she wants him to show concern for those who have supported him.

“Already a lot of people have given him a hard time and we’re not seeing a change,” McLeod said. “I’m pretty liberal and it seems like right now conservatives are thinking he’s doing an OK job so I think he needs to make some liberals happy. Just as far as  a very specific plan goes to bring change to America.”

Obama’s inaugural ceremonies, which will take place on Jan. 20, 2009, will have the theme of “A New Birth of Freedom,” according to Ian Bauder with The Washington Times.

Elon experiences the inauguration

The junior class of Elon teaching fellows will have the unique opportunity to be in Washington, D.C., to experience the event first-hand in January.

Janice Richardson, Associate Professor at Elon and Director of N.C. Teaching Fellows Program, said this will be a moment they will all remember for the rest of their lives.

“They will be there in the midst of everything, all the emotions,” Richardson said. “That’s something they will be able to tell their grandchildren. This is such a historical event, and being there in the moment is so exciting.”

Like everyone else, Richardson expressed concern for the economy. But her biggest concern was the future her students will be highly involved in.

“I hope he addresses the future of education,” Richardson said. “I think that is something the students will also be concerned about and want to hear.

As Obama begins his term, his inaugural speech will be an important way to set the tone for his presidency. People are primarily concerned about the future of the economy and want to hear what Obama plans to do to fix it.

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One Comment on “Elon and Burlington residents expect Obama to discuss economy in Inaugural Address”

  1. Janna Says:

    You have some good interviews and it’s nice to see the video clips. Check for AP Style, especially on capitalization. Definitely make the Obama photo at the top of the page much smaller, so the type will fit alongside as a wrap. You have some good content here.

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