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Published: Friday, 7/6/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Rare chance comes again

Auto worker introduces Obama 4 years after 1st encounter

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ina Sidney, a Chrysler plant worker, introduces President Obama at the Wolcott House Museum in Maumee. Ina Sidney, a Chrysler plant worker, introduces President Obama at the Wolcott House Museum in Maumee.
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Ina Sidney had a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience Thursday for the second time in her life.

The worker at Chrysler's Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township introduced President Obama for his stop at the Wolcott House Museum Complex in Maumee -- four years after meeting him during his first presidential campaign.

Ms. Sidney, 46, admits she was nervous.

"At first, it didn't hit me until it came time to say his name and he was going to come out. This was a once-in -a-lifetime experience," said Ms. Sidney of central Toledo.

The President and Ms. Sidney hugged before he took the stage for his speech before a friendly crowd.

She has been a line worker building steering columns for more than 16 year, and in 2009, Ms. Sidney was laid off from the Perrysburg Township plant for about two months.

Ms. Sidney said she was barely scraping by on unemployment then and had to borrow money from family and friends to make ends meet.

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"I am a mother and a grandmother, I am helping to raise my family here in Toledo -- good, old Toledo," she told the Maumee crowd before bringing out the President.

"We take pride in our work, we take pride in standing by our co-workers. We take pride in these three words: 'made in America.' But in early 2009, our pride turned into fear," she said.

"Our industry was collapsing. Our plant shut down, and I was laid off and like so many of us, I was scared.

"Without a job, I fell behind on my mortgage and medical bills."

As in previous stops in Ohio and southeast Michigan, the Obama campaign hit hard on the fact that the President's automobile industry rescue plan worked.

"But then, President Obama stood up for me," Ms. Sidney told the cheering crowd. "He bet on the American worker, and he rescued America's auto industry, and it's paying off for our economy and country."

Ms. Sidney said a lot of her friends and family members are also auto workers.

Four years ago, Ms. Sidney was on the line working at Chrysler's plant in Perrysburg Township when then-Senator Obama made a campaign stop.

"My picture was blessed enough to make The Blade and four years later, I asked him to sign that newspaper," she said after Thursday's event.

Ms. Sidney was also impressed with the President's speech.

"He hit all the main points -- keeping the jobs here so our families can buy homes and cars to keep us working, and the health care is important for everybody, whether you work or not," she said.



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