01.19.17

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates the Obama Presidency

“Over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. transformed a generation with his dream for America: a dream that one day, men and women would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. For the past eight years, President Barack Obama has embodied that dream.

“As we prepare to say goodbye to President Obama and the First Family, I am reminded of the challenges that loomed when the president first took office. In January 2009, our economy was losing half a million jobs each month. We had more than 144,000 service members stationed in Iraq. Sixteen percent of Americans were living without health insurance. But President Obama inspired us to roll up our sleeves and get to work. 

“We invested in job creation, lowering unemployment from 10 percent down to 4.7 percent today.  We dramatically reduced the numbers of troops overseas – although we must keep working to bring a permanent end to our wars. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 20 million Americans gained health insurance. And in every state in the nation, marriage equality is now the law of the land. 

“President Obama fought tirelessly to defend America’s founding promise, that all men and women are created equal. He took historic steps to tackle poverty and expand economic opportunity for all Americans. By investing in our neighborhoods, President Obama strengthened ladders of opportunity for the most vulnerable. And when Republicans in Congress refused to address the challenges in our nation, the president used his executive authority to reduce gun violence and protect immigrant families.

“The African American community has watched with pride as President Obama and his family occupied the White House – a building built by slaves. As an African American woman myself, I took special pride in witnessing the accomplishments of First Lady Michelle Obama. In Michelle Obama, our nation found a tenacious, brilliant champion who navigated the challenges of the White House with grace and poise. With each passing year, she gave Americans more optimism for the future, encouraging us to rise above negativity and treat each other with compassion and empathy. 

“It has been the honor of my life to serve alongside President Barack Obama. Because of President Obama, children everywhere can dream without limitations. Now, when a young child of color aspires to be the President of the United States, we can assure them, “Yes, you can!”