The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 19, 2013

Mayor to attend presidential inauguration


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Among those in person to see President Barack Obama’s second inauguration will be Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and his wife, Amy.

Eisenhauer has spent a couple days this week attending meetings as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting.

He and Amy also attended an inaugural ball, the Sister Cities International Inaugural Gala, on Thursday night and will attend another one, Illinois State Society Inaugural Gala, today.

Trip costs were paid by the Illinois Municipal League, of which Eisenhauer is president, and Eisenhauer himself. There was no city funding used for the trip.

“It’s 100 percent paid for by IML or myself,” he said.

During his time in Washington, D.C., Eisenhauer has heard Vice President Joe Biden speak about gun control proposals.

Eisenhauer also talked with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan at one session about the challenges of low-income housing in smaller communities.

Other conferences Eisenhauer attended covered issues such as innovations and technology and engaging younger community members in government through the use of technology; and a national endowment for the arts conference, talking about growing business and industry and affecting tourism, arts and entertainment.

“It was learning more about how we can expand tourism opportunities and utilize it to springboard economic development,” Eisenhauer said.

He also is learning more about the re-issue of Community Oriented Policing Services and school resource officer grants and how Danville can apply for those.

The Eisenhauers also will enjoy some sight-seeing and will pick up their inauguration tickets on Sunday.

Eisenhauer wasn’t sure where they would be to witness the inauguration.

“It truly is a once in a lifetime chance to be a part of it,” Eisenhauer said.

He said he’s excited to be there on behalf of the city of Danville and all other Illinois cities.

It truly is something to cross off his bucket list, he added.

Following the swearing-in of Obama and Biden, the Eisenhauers will be at a National League of Cities event that overlooks the Presidential Inauguration Parade route.

President Barack Obama plans to use a Bible that belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as he takes his oath of office, a powerful symbol of this year’s rare intersection of the civil rights movement and the nation’s first black president.

Monday is both Inauguration Day and the federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. It is only the second time the two have fallen on the same day.

The only other time a presidential inauguration has fallen on the King holiday was in 1997 at the start of President Bill Clinton’s second term. Clinton invoked King’s memory in his inaugural address, and events were planned throughout the inauguration weekend to commemorate King.

Obama plans to incorporate the legacy of the civil rights movement into his inauguration. Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, is slated to deliver the invocation.

The president also plans to take the oath of office for his second term with his hand on two Bibles, one owned by King and one by Abraham Lincoln. As he takes the oath, Obama will be facing the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago this August.

Having the president call for her father’s Bible was a special moment, Bernice King said.

“What a significant honor,” she said. “To me, it’s like another elevation for my father.”

Obama also plans to honor King throughout his inaugural weekend, beginning by asking Americans to volunteer in their communities today to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy of service. Inaugural planners also say there will be a float honoring King in the parade to the White House after the swearing-in ceremony.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.