Aspen resident and chair of the Pitkin County Democratic Party Blanca O’Leary was part of an official delegation to President Barack Obama’s inauguration last weekend in Washington, D.C.
Highlights of the busy trip included attending three inaugural balls, and sharing a dance with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick at the Human Rights Campaign Inaugural Ball, O’Leary said. She also added that she was amazed by the amount of 20-somethings at the official inaugural ball, where the president and first lady shared a dance to Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of Al Green’s classic tune, “Let’s Stay Together,” which Obama famously sang a few bars of while being filmed at a fundraiser last year. Having been to Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 and President Bill Clinton’s 1993 event, O’Leary said the crowd in 2013 was much younger than what she had seen in the past.
O’Leary is a member of the four-person Colorado delegation to the Democratic National Committee, which met on Tuesday and reelected Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida as chair. Vice President Joe Biden also visited the DNC meeting, O’Leary said.
Other weekend activities for O’Leary included a “Colorado brunch” with Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, a “Latino gala” at the Kennedy Center and the EMILY’s List Inaugural Ball.
O’Leary said she watched Obama’s inaugural address from her hotel room — the weather was nippy and her tickets to the speech were for a standing-room-only section — but she raced back into the mix to take in the parade.
O’Leary got to Washington a day early on Friday to make sure all the tickets for the weekend were squared away for her and the rest of the Colorado delegation. Logistically, it was challenging, O’Leary said, comparing it to the first day of school. But it was worth it, she said.
“I loved what the president had to say in his speech,” she said, “that this is the world as Barack Obama would like it to be, to return to the ideals and aspirations to make a more perfect union.”
O’Leary added that she had previously hosted Gov. Patrick at her home in Aspen previously for an event in conjunction with a Democratic Governor’s Association meeting in town.