Oklahomans gear up for Obama inauguration as state officials distribute tickets
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Thursday, January 10, 2013
1/10/13 at 7:00 AM
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Tulsa Democratic activist Sally Frasier has been to a few church revivals. And she's been to a few presidential inaugurations.
The excitement of joining in with other true believers is the same, she says.
"There's just something wonderful about being around that many people who share your passion for this president and his goals and dreams," Frasier said.
Frasier is one of hundreds of Oklahomans heading to Washington later this month for inaugural events.
Barack Obama received only 33 percent of the Nov. 6 vote in Oklahoma, and only three other states recorded lower portions of their votes for Obama.
Nonetheless, tickets for the inauguration are still a hot item among local Obama supporters, some of whom are complaining about how the state's all-Republican congressional delegation is distributing official tickets for the event.
"We've gotten feedback from a lot of our people who have submitted their names in the lottery, and they haven't heard anything back," said Tulsa County Democratic Party Vice Chairman Michael Whelan. "I don't know who they're giving their tickets out to, but they're definitely not letting us know who they're inviting."
Spokesmen for the state's congressional delegation say they will distribute the tickets as fairly as possible.
Jared Young, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, said that office held a drawing Tuesday to distribute the 393 tickets it was given.
Tim Ross, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, said that office will have fewer than 200 tickets to pass out.
"We've had a few requests but not very many," Ross said. "We are distributing our share on a first-come, first-served basis."
Harvey Sparks, scheduler for U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, said that office is keeping a list of constituents who want tickets, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis once inaugural officials say how many tickets will be available.
To apply for a ticket, constituents can send an email request to email@example.com. The email should include a name, address, telephone number and the number of tickets needed.
Tickets will be distributed after the office finds out how many tickets inauguration officials will make available. Tickets cannot be mailed and must be picked up at Bridenstine's Capitol office a day or two prior to the inauguration. No tickets will be distributed on inauguration day.
Planners expect a crowd of 500,000 to 800,000 for the Jan. 21 inauguration of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol. In 2009, crowds were estimated at 1.5 million.
For those who can't get official tickets through congressional offices, Whelan said there are a few other possible options:
Whelan said he will be attending his first presidential inauguration this year.
- Party workers and donors may receive tickets through the party. Tickets aren't for sale, Whelan said, but for some donors tickets to the inauguration and other events may be offered as gifts.
- Opportunities are still available to do volunteer work at inaugural activities, including the inauguration itself and the inauguration parade. There is no guarantee the volunteers will be accepted or that they will be assigned to the events they most want to attend. To volunteer, go to tulsaworld.com/inauguralvolunteers
- Standing-room-only public viewing areas will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for the inauguration and the inauguration parade. Public viewing areas may be very far from the events.
Because his wife won't be able to attend with him, he is taking Tulsa County Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Eason McIntyre to the inaugural ball.
Whelan said the anticipation of the big day is tremendous.
"I am incredibly excited," Whelan said. "I was very proud of the work I did in the 2012 (election) cycle, and I feel honored to be invited to the festivities. I couldn't be more excited."
Original Print Headline: Obama excitement
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
Sally Frasier, who lives in Tulsa and is headed to the upcoming inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, holds a picture she had taken of her with President Obama last year in Cushing. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Tulsa Democratic activist Sally Frasier holds glasses, pins and other memorabilia she got at the 1993 inauguration of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Sally Frasier displays past inauguration memorabilia as she gears up to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration. "There's just something wonderful about being around that many people who share your passion for this president and his goals and dreams," she said. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World