Statement as issued Thursday by the inaugural committee:
WASHINGTON – Today, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced eight Americans who have been selected as Citizen Co-Chairs for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Each of these remarkable Americans reflect the core values of this Administration and the theme of the 57th Presidential Inauguration: Our People. Our Future. Naming Citizen Co-Chairs is a new Inaugural tradition that President Obama and Vice President Biden decided to launch to honor all of the Americans who can relate to the stories of these co-chairs.
“Every day, I’m inspired by the determination, grit, and resilience of the American people,” said President Barack Obama. “The stories of these extraordinary men and women highlight both the progress we’ve made and how much we have left to do. They remind us that when we live up to the example set by the American people, there is no limit to how bright our future can be.”
“The National Inaugural Citizen Co-Chairs were chosen for their extraordinary contributions to their communities,” said PIC Executive Director David Cusack. “Whether co-founding a non-profit to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or serving bravely in our armed forces, each of these women and men reminds us that the strength of America comes from the strength of its people.”
Each Co-Chair will play an important role in the Inaugural ceremonies. On Saturday, January 19, they will join Americans in all 50 states and participate in the National Day of Service. On Inauguration Day, the Co-Chairs will take part in the Inaugural Parade, riding on the “Our People, Our Future” float, and attend the Inaugural Ball.
Full List of National Inaugural Citizen Co-Chairs:
Ida Edwards, Virginia
Ida Edwards is a retired nurse and advocate of President Obama’s healthcare reform. As someone who lived through the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia, she seeks to remind those around her about both how far we have come and the work we have left to do. Her and her husband, who both worked from high school through retirement, live in Petersburg, Virginia.
Erica Chain, California
At 27 years old, Erica was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. She applied to every health insurance provider she could think of, but was denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Thanks to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) under the Affordable Care Act, Erica was able to get access to treatment. Due to PCIP, Erica was able to get the surgery she needed in order to stay alive and the rehab to reach a full recovery. Erica works at Rock Health and Silicon Valley Bank-Analytics to support the digital health and venture eco-system and resides in San Francisco, California.
Lily Griego, Colorado
Lily is a single mother working two jobs. Thanks to Pell Grants, financial aid, and Lily’s hard work, her son has been able to attend college.
Kenyetta Jones, Ohio
Kenyetta is a 27-year veteran at the General Motors Powertrain Plant in Toledo, OH, and is a mother of two college-aged daughters. Kenyetta was laid off for 13 months during the economic downturn in 2009, but she never gave up hope that she would get back to work. After a year without full-time employment, Kenyetta was notified that she would be returning to work because of the President’s intervention to rescue the auto industry.
Liz McCartney, Louisiana
Liz McCartney is the co-founder of the St. Bernard Project (SBP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide disaster-impacted communities with a prompt, efficient and predictable path to recovery. Liz and her husband launched SBP, initially a post Katrina home rebuilding program, when they moved from Washington, DC to New Orleans in 2006. SPB has rebuilt hundreds of homes in New Orleans and in Joplin, Missouri through its affiliate Rebuild Joplin. SBP has recruited over 70,000 volunteers and AmeriCorps members since inception to support its efforts. SBP is also working closely with stakeholders in New York and New Jersey to help rebuild communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. SBP’s co-founders have received numerous awards and recognition for their work. In 2008, Liz was awarded the Hero of the Year award by CNN Heroes. In 2011, she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change.
Rob Hach, Iowa
Rob and his wife Tara started Anemometry Specialists, a small business, 10 years ago in the renewable energy field in Alta, IA. Rob has been involved in the wind energy business since 1994, learning the ropes from some of the early pioneers of the wind energy industry. Rob has grown his business over this past decade and now has 31 employees. Anemometry Specialists was named the Iowa Small Business of the Year in 2010.
David Hall, Washington, DC
Following in the footsteps of his father and stepfather, David joined the Air Force in March 1996. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant and graduated as a distinguished graduate from Airman Leadership School. After reenlisting for another four years, he applied for Air Force ROTC and was selected under the Professional Officer Course – Early Release Program. He was excited to receive a pilot slot but was dis-enrolled for “homosexual conduct” in August 2002 after a fellow cadet told his commanders that he is gay. Following the Air Force, David worked on the successful repeal of DADT through Out Serve – SLDN.
Petty Officer Second Class Taylor Morris, Iowa
Petty Officer Second Class Taylor Morris is currently assigned to the Navy Safe Harbor Wounded Warrior Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. While assigned to Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 12 based out of Joint Base Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, Morris was injured by an IED blast during his first deployment to Afghanistan. His injuries resulted in the amputation of both of his legs, his left arm and his right hand. Petty Officer Morris is the recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.