Mayors Skip Obama Speech; Smith Says ‘Children, Job First’
Obama's last-minute arrival announcement too soon to rearrange schedules.
President Obama’s speech in front of an intimate audience of less than 300 at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) on April 18 did not include two local dignitaries.
The announcement of Obama’s visit to Lorain County Community College late Monday meant attendees would need to shuffle their schedules --although not everyone could--or would.
Obama spoke on job creation in front of an invited audience of only 250, including unemployed LCCC students in a speech that began at 2:30 p.m.
Smith said he had planned his talk to students months ago and did not want to reschedule the event or other meetings planned for the afternoon.
“You gotta do what you gotta do,” Smith said. “I got a ticket yesterday but I’m not going to tell the kids I’m not going to talk to them.”
Smith, who heard Obama speak the last time he was at LCCC in January 2010, said “it would have been an honor” to meet the president but added, “I need to put my job first.”
“If I went, no one’s going to notice me anyway,” he said. “They’re not going to let me ask a question; I am opinionated.”
Smith added he thought Obama’s choice of speaking at LCCC was a bonus to the county.
“It’s nice to put Lorain County on the ‘A’ list,” he said.
Zilka's secretary, Elizabeth Gedeon, said Zilka also had previous commitments that could not be changed. Avon Lake Councilman David Kos attended the speech. Check back later to hear his comments.
The speech was an official White House visit, and not a campaign stop, the White House said.