A past president of the Valley Stream Democratic Club, Cunningham was in Washington, D.C., for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1976. Four years later, she said, she got a hug from Carter when he stopped at Hofstra University during his 1980 campaign. Of Obama, she said, “Someday I want a hug from him, also.”
Committee member Donna Pagliaro, of East Rockaway, grilled hot dogs for her fellow Obama supporters. She said she wanted to do more than just sit at home and watch the inauguration. “I’m with my fellow Democrats,” she said. “It’s exciting. I love Barack Obama and what he stands for.”
Pagliaro said that the president shares her views on women’s rights, gay rights and health care, and that she was very impressed by his address.
Hynes said it was a pleasure to watch New York’s own Senator Schumer, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, serve as M.C.
During the presidential campaign, the headquarters in Valley Stream was used as a phone bank center to support Obama’s re-election. Local supporters made calls to voters in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania both on behalf of the president and to inform people about their voting rights. Hynes said that Obama did very well in their targeted areas. “We won every county that we called,” he said.
Hynes said he liked that Obama, in his address, noted that he took the inaugural oath for God and country, not for party, which leaves Hynes hopeful that the president will work for everyone. “He wants to represent all Americans, regardless of ideology,” he said, “and I think that’s a noble and just cause.”
In his address, Obama noted the importance of protecting voting rights for all Americans, which Hynes said is an issue that needs to be addressed in several states, where long lines and other policies often dissuade voters.