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Originally published: 2013-01-22 17:54:39
Last modified: 2013-01-22 17:54:39

Fifth District residents attend presidential inauguration

by Anna Oakes

Among those in attendance at Monday's historic presidential inauguration ceremonies were residents of North Carolina's Fifth Congressional District, including Watauga County citizens.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx on Monday announced that her office welcomed nearly 80 North Carolinians to the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to take part in the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Foxx's invitees included Susan Le Tissier of Mount Holly, who Foxx met at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Le Tissier, born in the British Isle of Guernsey, is a permanent legal resident who plans to apply for U.S. citizenship.

"What is remarkable to me is that the leader of a country can be changed and the response is celebration," Le Tissier said in a statement distributed by Foxx's office. "I enjoy the fact that in America the peaceful transfer of power is celebrated."

In addition to Le Tissier, Fifth District residents from Winston-Salem, Boone, Clemmons, Statesville, Lewisville, Lexington, Hickory, Salisbury, Rural Hall and Boomer received inauguration tickets from Foxx to attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

Of course, there were other opportunities for North Carolinians to gain access, including through the offices of Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

Bricca Sweet of Sugar Grove was selected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to serve as a volunteer at this year's festivities.

Sweet helped distribute tickets on Saturday at the Washington Convention Center and also helped with access control at Monday's ceremony. Her service earned her a prime location for the swearing-in and the president's inaugural address -- "as close as you could be in the non-ticketed seats," she said.

"It was awesome," said Sweet, who said she passed up a chance to attend in 2009. "I think the biggest difference in being there is sharing the excitement of the crowd."

Sweet said she campaigned hard for Obama in 2012.

"His re-election, in my view, is even more historical than his first election," she said.

Sweet felt Obama's address "hit all the key marks that I really feel strongly about," including equal pay for women, equal marriage rights the "theme of America as a land of equal opportunity for all Americans."

Back to attend his second inauguration ceremony was Jonathan Wyant of Hickory, who graduated from Appalachian State University in December with a degree in political science. He witnessed Obama's first inauguration in 2009.

"It's something that really draws you back," said Wyant, who also campaigned for Obama last year.

He said he was impressed that Obama mentioned equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians and climate change in his speech.

"And above all, the need to actually do things in this country. We argue so much; there is so much political calculation in a lot of the decisions today. We don't actually get anything done," Wyant said.