Inauguration 2009

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mona and Emma Pittman

Panola mom and daughter in D.C.

By Rita Howell

When Barack Obama takes the oath of office of President of the United States this morning, among those witnessing the event in Washington, D.C. will be Batesville attorney Mona Pittman and her daughter, Emma, 13.

But the two didn’t travel there together.

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“Emma’s actually got a better deal than I do,” her mother said last week.

Emma, a seventh grader at Batesville Junior High School, is attending the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. She participated in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in D.C. last year and was invited back to the inauguration through that program.

As a result, Emma got to attend youth forums over the weekend where Gen. Colin Powell and formermer Vice President Al Gore were scheduled to speak. Emma’s group has private access to the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall. They will witness the inauguration and view the inaugural parade over lunch at the historic Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. 

This evening, Emma and the youth conference attendees will attend an inaugural ball.

The highlight of her trip, Emma said, would be meeting the new president.

Does she think she’ll have that opportunity?

“I hope so,” she said.

 Meanwhile her mom, chairman of the Panola County Democratic Party, has a ticket to witness the inauguration first-hand. She’s prepared for long lines at the security check this morning, and is grateful that her accommodations are within walking distance of the Capitol. Tonight, she plans to attend the “Southern States” inaugural ball.

Pittman was active in the Obama campaign.

“I’m looking forward to some positive changes for the working people in our state” as a result of his election, she said.

“This is a historical moment. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to witness it.”