THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Kenyetta Jones, a local autoworker and mother who introduced President Barack Obama at his Labor Day campaign rally in Toledo, was named today one of the "Citizen Co-Chairs" for President Obama's second inauguration.
Ms. Jones is a 27-year employee of the General Motors Powertrain Plant in Toledo, and the mother of two college-aged daughters. She will be one of eight co-chairs for this weekend's 57th presidential inauguration in Washington.
Ms. Jones was laid off for a year during the economic downturn in 2009 and returned to work after GM received a taxpayer-funded bailout championed by President Obama and over the opposition of many Republicans. The President's rescue of the auto industry was the centerpiece of his re-election campaign in Ohio.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is coordinating the events culminating in the oath-taking on Monday, said that each co-chair will play an important role in the inaugural ceremonies. They will participate in a national day of service on Saturday. On Inauguration Day, the co-chairs will take part in the Inaugural Parade, riding on the “Our People, Our Future” float, and attend the Inaugural Ball.
“Every day, I’m inspired by the determination, grit, and resilience of the American people,” said President Obama in a statement released by the committee. “The stories of these extraordinary men and women highlight both the progress we’ve made and how much we have left to do. They remind us that when we live up to the example set by the American people, there is no limit to how bright our future can be.”
The other co-chairs are from Virginia, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Iowa, and Washington D.C.
Ms. Jones, 48, gave a rousing introduction to Mr. Obama inside Scott High School on Sept. 3, which was Labor Day.
“I remember that day so vividly,” Ms. Jones, of Toledo, said at the rally, recalling her layoff. “Times were really tough. We rallied around one another. A job is more than a paycheck. It’s about our dignity and independence.”
She said she began retraining and was confident the jobs would return.
“Because he bet on the American worker and rescued the auto industry I got my job back,” Ms. Jones said at the rally.
The President thanked her for the introduction, a tradition in all of his rallies.
“I’ve got to say thank you to Kenyetta for that outstanding introduction. I was listening backstage, and I thought I heard a little preaching going on,” Mr. Obama said, before launching into his prepared remarks. “Kenyetta can talk, no doubt about it.”
She went on to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Ms. Jones and her husband Daryl Jones live in southwest Toledo.