SouthCoast Residents Travel to Washington for Inauguration
January 22, 2013
by Curt Brown
New Bedford Standard-Times
A handful of SouthCoast residents will be in the nation's capital Monday for President Barack Obama's second inauguration, with two of them witnessing their fourth such ceremony.
Margaret D. Xifaras, of Marion, a New Bedford lawyer who has been active in state and national politics for more than 40 years, went to President Bill Clinton's two inaugurations and Obama's first.
"For me, this is a transition from being successful politically to trying to convert that into policy progress," she said of the challenges facing Obama.
She will also attend a candlelight reception for Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden Sunday night as well as an Inaugural Ball Monday night.
"It will be an important 2½ years when you can really get things done and then the important silly season starts again," she said, referring to the kickoff of the 2016 campaign.
This will also be the fourth time Matthew Morrissey, the executive director of the city's Economic Development Council, has gone to a presidential inauguration.
He and his wife, Kristin, are taking their four children - ages 12, 10, 8 and 5 - with them and this will be the kids' first inaugural experience.
Morrissey said plans were to load up the car Friday afternoon when the children got out of school, then travel to Washington "Griswold style," a reference to the National Lampoon vacation movies. He said the family is staying with his brother and sister-in-law and their three children.
"We're doing it as a family because it's a wonderful civic experience," he said. "We want our kids to have a taste of it."
They have some tickets but not enough for everyone and plan to watch festivities from the National Mall.
This will be the first inauguration Amanda Chasey, a 20-year-old junior at Stonehill College, has attended. Chasey, who is from Carver, is among five Stonehill students in professor Peter N. Ubertaccio's class who will attend the inauguration.
"I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be there," she said. "I just think that's incredible."
Ubertaccio said the students are taking a directed studies course that is looking at the first 100 days of Obama's second term.
Major Lisa Ahaesy, state public affairs officer at Massachusetts National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, Hanscom Air Force Base, said 51 soldiers from the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment will march in Monday's Inauguration Parade.
The regiment, which is also known as the "Selected Honor Guard," attended Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Ahaesy said the regiment is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Former New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang, who has attended three previous inaugurations, said he will be tied up with work and won't make the trip this time. But he said the nation's capital is an exciting place to be when a president takes the oath of office.
"It's electric - no matter if it's the first term or the second term," he said.
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