Ravenna -- The mood among Portage County Democrats was ebullient four years ago when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president. The crowd was large and people were caught up in the history-making moment.
Jan. 21's inauguration party for Obama's second term was much more subdued and about half the size of 2009. About 50 people gathered at the Italian-American Society in Ravenna to watch and listen to the president's message.
Obama's address drew applause from the group several times, including when he referred to equal pay for women, equality for gays and protection for voting rights.
Deb Silverstein of Kent said she liked a lot of what the president said, especially about gay rights. "It needed to be said, so I admire him for that," she said. "They're citizens, too."
The group also applauded when Obama called for citizens working together to solve common problems.
Bonny Graham of Kent said she was excited to hear Obama lay out his agenda for the next four years. She said she hopes there will be some incentives for businesses to return production to the U.S.
"It is wonderful and we need to get behind the president, supporting whatever he puts on the agenda," said JoAnn Stikes of Ravenna. "We're praying for strength, unity, wisdom and understanding from God."
"We're true believers," said Doris Campbell said, expressing support for Obama's goals for a second term. "We stand with him and we will not back down."
R.L. Sanders, president of the King-Kennedy Community Center board, said he was impressed with Obama's call for people to work together to accomplish those goals.
"'We, the people' -- make sure you get that in. He can't get nothing done without the support of citizens," Sanders said.
Frank Hairston of Ravenna Township said he was exhilarated by the election and start of Obama's second term.
"Four years ago I was very proud to be here to see a black president," he said. This time people voted for Obama "not because he's black but because of what he's done for the country. The Republicans have to get over it. This has to be about 'We, the people.'"
Dr. Geraldine Hayes-Nelson of Kent said she's hoping to see more support for education and economic development in Obama's second term.
Joan Seman of Ravenna said "the biggest challenge will be getting Congress to work together."
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