Residents, businesses in Frederick involved in Inauguration -- Gazette.Net



advertisement

Carlotta Joyner, 69, of Middletown, worked for about 14 months as a volunteer for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.

As a neighborhood volunteer, Joyner coordinated groups of volunteers to work phone banks and canvass for re-election.

And on Monday, Joyner will join about 1 million others in Washington, D.C., to watch Obama (D) take his second oath of office.

An estimated 1.8 million attended Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and between 800,000 and 1 million are expected for Obama’s second inauguration.

Joyner said she volunteered on Election Day last year to help organize the crowd, but will attend just as a spectator this year.

“I’m most looking forward to being there and feeling the energy and the enthusiasm,” she said. “I know I can stay home and get a better view on television, but from my experience last time, the energy, the excitement the enthusiasm .... It won’t be quite the same, but just being there with the crowd is good.”

The Maryland State Highway Administration and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority have recommended the use of public transportation. The latter is expecting between 600,000 and 800,000 riders on Monday, according to a news release from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

In Frederick, Between Brothers held their second Pre-Inaugural Ball on Jan. 12. The black-tie dinner was held as a celebration of fundraising and volunteer efforts for the Obama campaign for its members. In addition to its presidential efforts, the group awards scholarships to Frederick students annually, including three in 2012.

Joyner said she led a team of about 200 volunteers, with an additional 250 to 300 volunteers on other teams in the county. The bulk of the work was calling and canvassing potential voters in Virginia.

“We played a key role [in Obama’s reelection] we were told ­­— Maryland volunteers in general,” she said. Obama won Maryland, but lost in Frederick County, where the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Republican ticket took 50.2 percent of the vote.

In the days leading up to the election, Joyner and other volunteers worked around the clock to encourage potential voters to turnout for Obama. On election night, the phone bank reached out to voters in Virginia, Wisconsin and Nevada.

“It was a busy time,” she said. “The last four days Saturday to Tuesday, we had an office on Buckeystown Pike. It was open 12 hours a day, shifts all day long. I was organizing who was going to be there and making things run smoothly.”

While some will attend the inauguration for celebration, others will be working on that day.

Dave Burke, the chief executive officer of Kewl Tours and Charters of Walkersville, said all four buses the company has were rented for the day.

Burke said the buses, which can hold up to 56 passengers, were rented by groups, not sold as individual seats. He said prices vary for packages, as some of the groups have booked packages that include meals and touring the city. He said he expected challenges for the drivers in maneuvering through the district this weekend.

“It’s probably going to be virtually impossible on Monday,” he said, laughing. “But hopefully prior to that, we can move around. We certainly hope so — we have a group from New England coming in for four days of touring. We hope at least we can show them the sights before that.”

He said the company is frequently booked for major Washington D.C., events, such as marches, but especially for the inauguration.

“We’ve always sold out,” he said. “Because we’re so close, we always sell out for that.”

Shirlene Roberts Harris of Frederick is the event planner for Washington, D.C.-based Paralyzed Veterans of America, a congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organization that advocates for health care, civil rights, research and education for spinal cord injuries.

She said she’s been working for the company for the last 20 years, and has attended four other inaugurations, for George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Obama. The organization is bringing about 12 paralyzed veterans to the ceremony and some of the balls.

Harris called the 2008 inauguration exciting, but said she’s enjoyed attending each of the events.

“Last time it was very exciting,” she said. “There were so many thousands of people — there was so much warmth in the air. ... The best part for me has been with [former president Bill] Clinton and Obama has been the sweetness in the air.”

tlaino@gazette.net