Former Obama campaign staffers reflect on presidential victory 15 years later

Chicago
By Chicago 2 Min Read

CHICAGO (WLS) — Alumni of the Obama presidential campaign shared memories Thursday in anticipation of the 15th anniversary of Barack Obama’s first presidential victory speech.

Progress on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park can be seen from blocks away.

“This structure forces you to look up in spite of everything that’s going on in this community, this neighborhood,” Obama Center, Construction Core Superintendent Timothy Quiles said. “Look up. How can you not be inspired?”

Fifteen years ago, Quiles was a carpenter who volunteered on the Obama campaign, and he was in Grant Park with his wife for Obama’s first presidential victory speech/

“It was such a wonderful time electrifying everybody,” Quiles said. “Everybody was in a great mood.”

Multiple Chicago-area events are planned to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Obama being elected as the first African-American president.

Michael Blake was Obama’s Michigan deputy campaign director in 2008. He was also a White House aide and former DNC Vice-Chair.

“I was running through the halls when they declared victory,” Blake said. “You’ll never forget that. You’ll never forget history. There will never be a first Black president again.”

Blake will host some of the events this weekend. He says amid the nostalgia, there is purpose in planning for the next presidential election.

“It’s easy to be disheartened by the news, but when you come back this weekend, remember what it felt like to have open inspiration.” Blake said.

Former President Obama and the former First Lady will be in town Friday for what they are calling a democracy forum. They will hold discussions about the role we all play in a democracy as well as technology and local news. The former first couple will also host a celebration for past and present staffers to acknowledge the historic moment 15 years ago.

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