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Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - Page updated at 07:49 AM


Colin Adams is a 9th grader at Leota Junior High School in Woodinville. "I am going to the inauguration as part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. I was nominated by my school counselor to be able to attend this conference. I have been a Barack Obama supporter since I first heard him speak, around the time of the first democratic primary. I feel like the inauguration will be a once in a lifetime experience and will teach me a lot about our country. Throughout the conference we will get to attend speeches of keynote speakers such as General Colin Powell, Former Vice President Al Gore, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and have the chance to ask them questions."

Crystal Ainardi, 29, grew up in the Renton Issaquah area, but currently attends school at Spokane Falls Community College at the Extended campus in Pullman WA. She will be traveling to DC with her husband, Justin Smith, who is getting his PhD at WSU. "I consider myself very lucky because, I was fortunate enough to get tickets through my Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, after me writing to her on Nov 5th requesting them. I worked endless nights after school making calls during the campaign to get Barack Obama elected, so I feel again very fortunate to get to witness this wonderful piece of history."

Kevin D. Boze, 47, is a Seattle native and lives in the Central District. He works as an industrial designer and also pursues freelance cartooning. As an Army veteran, he will be using the inauguration as an opportunity to reunite and celebrate with some of his old friends from the service who are now scattered across the country. For more information, see

Crystal Brown, 31, is from California City, California. She was stationed in Washington when she was in the Navy and now lives in Olympia. "Barack Obama has inspired me to become active in politics, to stand up for the issues that are important to me, and to pay more attention to social issues and atrocities that plague the world. Something that I never gave much thought to before. And because of this, I want to show my support and enthusiasm for a new breed of politics and leadership in the world. This is why I am going to the Inauguration."

Jordan Frasier is a 19-year-old student from Southwest Washington attending George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and majoring in political science and journalism. He is a self-described news junkie; and having grown up in Vancouver, WA, he is thrilled to be attending the inauguration in person rather than watching from home on television. When applying to Universities last year, choosing a school close to the nation's capital was a top concern so that he could be in Washington DC for the 2009 inaugural. He is looking forward to this historic occasion.

Al Garman, 52, is a "cabinet maker and political junkie, grew up in Iran, moved to US (Bellevue) in 1997, naturalized in 2002, and traveling to DC alone to celebrate the beginning of a new era in US and the world. He worked hard in the 41st LD and King County to get Democrats elected, he probably knocked on a thousand doors during the last election cycle. He is an elected PCO (D) and was just elected as 2nd vice chair of 41st LD Democrats. He believes that Barack's DNC speech in the 2004 was a turning point in politics that finally showed everyone: YES, WE CAN."

Himanee Gupta-Carlson , 46, of seattle, is traveling to Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jim Gupta-Carlson. "I decided to participate actively in Obama's campaign last June after I read an article in "The Atlantic" about the nature of his fund-raising strategies. I saw enormous potential in the grassroots approach he was taking to radically restructure political participation in America and wanted to become a part of it. I see the inauguration as part of this change, as well as a celebration of that change. I want to witness and participate in the events, document them and bring my students into contact with them as much as possible."

Simi Gupta, 16, is part of a group of students from Skyline High School in Sammamish attending the inauguration. "Go Spartans!"

Ashley Howard, a 22-year-old from Redmond, is a senior studying Asian foreign policy and history at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She is excited to experience firsthand the changes inauguration brings to the city she now calls home. Ashley also attended the 2004 inauguration.

Molly Jenny, 16, is part of a group of students from Skyline High School in Sammamish attending the inauguration. "Go Spartans!"

Ron Jones, 63, is traveling to the inauguration with his partner, Michael Theisen. "We are going because this is a historic event and as an African American I am thrilled to see someone who looks like me in the White House! I lived through racial prejudice both in The South and in Seattle. I want to be there to feel the energy and feeling of Hope that Barack Obama has given to our country."

Jordan LaBelle, 16, is part of a group of students from Skyline High School in Sammamish attending the inauguration. "Go Spartans!"

Alex Lazear, is a 9th grader at Leota Junior High School. "I was nominated to go to the NYLSC or National Youth Leadership Conference in January 2008. I am in the middle of the Woodinville High school Boys swim and dive season where I am swimming varsity as a freshman. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to Woodinville when I was very little."

Richard Ruochen Li is a 25 year-old Program Advisor with the College Success Foundation in Seattle. He was born in Tangshan, China, grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, attended the University of Chicago, and spent three years living and working in the Pacific. Richard is attending Inauguration 2009 because it just might be the greatest thing ever.

Thirty-two-year-old Debra J. Markert was born and raised in Arizona, attended college in Indiana, cut her teeth in San Francisco, and eventually settled in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. As a LEED Accredited Professional, she currently works for a global contractor. She is elated to be a part of history, and to witness this redefining moment in the American story.

Sarah Paulson is a Freshman at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. I am going to Washington DC with the University Presidential Inauguration Conference program, for college students in the U.S. and around the world. "We will be listening to political leaders speak, and famous individuals such as Lance Armstrong and Al Gore. On the day of the Inauguration, the entire UPIC group will join the other million of individuals on Pennsylvania Avenue and watch as President Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African American President. We will be a part of history. I would not pass this opportunity up to be a part of such an amazing moment."

Karin Riggs, 29, grew up in Middle River, MN. and moved to Seattle in 2003. "I'm attending the inauguration to perform with the Lesbian and Gay Bands Association (LGBA) in the Inaugural Parade. As our press release describes, the LGBA band will be comprised of 177 musicians from around the country, representing 26 states. There are four of us from Seattle's LGBA member band, the Rainbow City Band, who are lucky enough to perform in the Inaugural Parade: me, Liz Eaman and Will Dean on trumpet, and Scott Rinnan on Euphonium."

Russell Storey is a 54 year old resident of Burien. He has been supporting the Democratic party since his first vote for McGovern in 1972. He attended the Obama rally at Key Arena in February and began planning his trip to the inauguration soon thereafter.

Teresa Scribner is a page designer for The Seattle Times. Originally from Arkansas, Teresa has lived in Seattle for 5 years. "I am attending the Inauguration because there may never be another moment in my lifetime to see anything that will have such historical significance for the future of African-Americans."

Patty VanSwaringen, 54, is an "Edmonds' attorney, mom of 2 UW Huskies, wife of Steven (chief mechanical enfgineer of his company), and ardent Obama volunteer, caucus delegate, and adoring, admiring supporter. ... I believe this wave of change is historically destined to be a rebirth for a greater America. I also believe our nation will be able to restore our leadership, proper influence and moral authority globally under the leadership of President Barack Obama."

Paul Weigel and Laurel Rivers, 39, are newlyweds who live in the Queen Anne/Interbay area of Seattle. Weigel, who has lived in Seattle for 13 years, works for Microsoft. Rivers has lived in Seattle for 5 years, worked at for 2 years and now works in publishing. They "recognized the once in a lifetime significance of Obama's victory and chose to go to Washington D.C. to be a part of history." This will be Laurel's first trip to Washington D.C. and both of their first times attending an inaugural celebration.

Nicole Wicks is a 26-year-old professional from Renton. She considers the opportunity to document this historical time for her future children and her Little Brother Ja'Von (through Big Brothers Big Sisters) as the greatest asset of making the trip. She also admits to enjoying being one amongst a several-million-person celebration.