Historic moment inspires Colorado political leaders

Watching President Barack Obama take his oath of office and seeing more than a million people gathered on the National Mall inspired Congressman John Salazar, D-Colo.

“I could look all the way down the (National) Mall to the Washington Memorial. It was standing room only,” Salazar said. “It was an incredible sight.”

Salazar, who represents most of western and southern Colorado, said the view from his perch behind the new president underlined the beginning of a new era in Washington.

“It is a historic day,” Salazar told The Daily Sentinel, “one of the most powerful, memorable moments in my lifetime.”

Salazar said it is up to the estimated 2 million people that attended the inauguration and parade Tuesday to help realize the lofty goals Obama laid out in his speech.

“We must all join the new era of responsibility that the president described in his inaugural address,” he said.

Salazar was one of a handful of Colorado leaders, including Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, who attended the inaugural events.

State Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, said from his vantage point, at the foot of the U.S. Capitol, he witnessed a proud day in American history.

“The bridge has been built, and our children will be able to look back on this day as one of the most important days in American history,” Groff said in statement. “President Obama said we have tough challenges ahead, and we know that all too well, but with his leadership and vision he will meet these challenges.”

Gov. Bill Ritter, who also attended, said Obama took the right tone and hit on all the right issues during his speech.

“President Obama was extremely articulate, honest and direct about the country’s economic challenges, while also noting that we are a country whose character is marked and defined by resilience,” he said in a statement.


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