116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowans are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to be part of history as Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States.
Some, such as Trump supporter Brett Mason, of Cedar Rapids, plan to attend inaugural events, while others are going to have their voice of displeasure heard through protests.
'It is a capstone to the two years I spent leading the Republican party here in Linn County,' said Mason, 58, who served as co-chairman of the Linn County GOP. 'This is a reward for seeing it through.'
Mason, who helped candidates get elected and organized political events, will be attending the swearing in ceremony at noon, Friday with his wife Debbie, and two friends. He considers the inauguration an important turning point for the country, with a businessman rather than a politician or community organizer at the helm guiding decision making and negotiations.
Mason received tickets through the office of U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Dubuque. Blum's office received 200 tickets, and they have all been distributed even as requests continue to come in, said John Ferland, a Blum aide.
Iowa's delegation to Washington, D.C., each received an allotment of tickets.
Senators each received 393 tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, and Sen. Chuck Grassley's office is distributing the tickets through a lottery system, said Grassley aide, Jill Gerber. It was not enough to keep up with the 500 requests for more than 1,500 tickets, she said. Representatives from each member of the delegation met to go over the ticket request policy to accommodate as many Iowans as possible, she said.
The office of Iowa's lone Democratic official, Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, also saw a steady demand and has exhausted the supply, although a lottery system wasn't needed this cycle, said Joe Hand, a Loebsack aide.
He noted the Iowa delegation is also hosting a coffee on Thursday for anyone who is in town.
Iowa officials attending
Some of Iowa's tops leaders plan to attend the inaugural events, including Gov. Terry Branstad, who is Trump's nominee to be ambassador to China.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also plans to go to participate in meetings with congressional leaders, she said.
Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, is planning to take in inaugural festivities and receptions, including one hosted by Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, if weather and her work schedule permit. Upmeyer expects to run into people she's met through her careers in the Legislature and in health care. She's also likely to touch base with Newt Gingrich, who she backed for president in 2012, 'but he's pretty busy.'
Upmeyer doesn't have meetings scheduled with Iowa congressional representatives or federal officials, but said 'odds are we will run into some folks we will be interested in having conversations with.'
Upmeyer, who has never attended a presidential inauguration, said she and her husband, Doug, thought it would be fun to go — once.
'It's probably like attending the Super Bowl,' she speculated. 'I'm sure it's really cool to go once. Probably once you've done that, you're perfectly content to watch on TV.'
What she has been told is to be extremely flexible 'because whether it's the weather or the traffic or whatever it is, the odds are it won't go the way you had hoped and predicted.'
Ready to protest
RJ Johnson, 51, of Iowa City, has four tickets for the inauguration, made available through Loebsack's office. He plans to attend festivities with friends who live in the Washington, D.C., area. Johnson originally planned the trip expecting a victory by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but now plans to vocally protest.
'He scares me to no end,' Johnson said of Trump. 'I'm worried where our country is going to be at in four years, so I am going to be there to voice my displeasure. It is really important for people to ... be heard. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to sit by an don't do anything.'
Johnson, who said he is concerned about Trump's comments critical of woman, ethnic and racial minorities, those with disabilities and others, plans to attend protests, including the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, in the days surrounding the inauguration. He plans to attend Friday's swearing in and plans to 'scream and holler along the (inaugural) parade route.'
The Washington Post reports local officials are preparing for an influx of 1 million people for the inauguration and related protests.
'Hopefully I will go there and it will feel like we can do something,' said Rachel Zanoni, 19, a student at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, whose family recently moved to Marion. 'It is terrifying to see someone speak out with such anger and hatred about so many different people. This is a chance to say this is not who we are and not what we want for this country. Just because this man was elected doesn't mean we can't still be loving and compassionate for a lot of people.'
Zanoni, and her mother Ruth have knit seven 'pussyhats' to bring to the Women's March. The hats are part of a national effort to flood the march with more than 1 million such hats.
'We are knitting hats in part because of the comments President-elect Trump made about where he was putting his hands,' said Ruth Zanoni.
A second inauguration
Polly Granzow, 75, of Hardin County, received two tickets to the inauguration as a perk for being one of Iowa's six electors, who officially cast Iowa's six electoral votes contributing to Trump's 306-point Electoral College total. Granzow is taking her 21-year-old granddaughter, Delaney Vierkandt, who is an Iowa State University senior,
Granzow, attended the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, and is interested to see how the ceremonies compare.
'I think it is a very important part of our political process,' Granzow said. 'It will be very emotional. We are inaugurating the person who will be president for the next four years.'
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