A Week in Review, January 13, 2017

This has been a personal and nostalgic week for the Obama and the Biden families. JAC, whose office is based in the Chicago area, has had a front row seat to watch state Sen. Barack Obama become U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and ultimately President Obama. Vice President Joe Biden has been a friend to JAC since its early days, welcoming us to his office. We were honored to have him speak at our meetings.

I fondly remember the first time I met the President when he was a state senator. When he began his Senate race, we met again. Even though he was a long shot, I couldn't help feeling that his political future looked bright. Throughout  my career, I have met hundreds of candidates, but few have left such a strong early impression on me as President Obama. 

In his early unknown days, I saw the then state Senator wandering around a reception unsure where to go. I eagerly took him around to talk to people at receptions and JAC events. I even had my husband sit with the future president when Obama was sitting alone at a JAC meeting. Obama has always remembered JAC and opened his Senate office to us during our Washington, DC visits. 

When Obama won in 2008, I was so proud of our country for electing the first African American president and breaking that glass ceiling. It seemed that everything and anything was possible. It was an exhilarating night listening to him in Grant Park in Chicago.

This week I had the privilege of attending his last speech as president. It was an emotional night as our country closed the chapter on the Obama presidency. "

"Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift.  But it's really just a piece of parchment.  It has no power on its own.  We, the people, give it power.  (Applause.)  We, the people, give it meaning.  With our participation, and with the choices that we make, and the alliances that we forge," Obama said.

Mr. President, now we must forge ahead to continue the journey and job we began with you eight years ago. 

Marcia Balonick
Executive Director, JACPAC