The Presidential Inaugural Committee has named eight Americans to serve as citizen co-chairs for the 2013 Inauguration. ABC News spoke with two of them: auto-industry worker Kenyetta Jones and LGBT military rights advocate David Hall.
Hall fought to bring down “don’t ask, don’t tell” – the law that kept gay and lesbian military members from serving openly – with the organization Out Serve after he was ousted from the Air Force after being outed as gay.
Hall had finished Airman Leadership School as a “distinguished graduate” and was on his way to becoming a pilot in the officer corps, which all ended when his commander found out about his sexual orientation. After joining Out Serve, he shared his story to help others understand why the law needed to be changed.
Hall, Washington resident, said that after voting for Obama in 2008, he was happy with the president’s first term.
“I think the president accomplished a lot of things that he wanted to, but he still has a lot to get done,” Hall said.
One task he hopes Obama will tackle is the discrepancy between the same-sex marriages recognized by some states and their lack of recognition on the federal level. A core value he learned in the military, he said, was, “If we send you to war, we take care of our family.”
“In this case, we are sending you to Afghanistan, we’re not taking care of your family,” Hall said. ”In fact, we don’t even recognize your family, and that’s wrong.”
But Hall hopes Obama will be a multi-tasker in the next four years. He thinks the president also needs to address problems with the deficit, homelessness and energy independence.
“We have to think about the big picture and where do we see ourselves as a country in 10 years and 20 years,” Hall said. “They’re long term goals.”
“I believe [President Obama] is the right person that is going to move this country into the direction that we need to go.”
Both co-chairs first supported Obama during the 2008 campaign and backed him again this time around.
Jones, a mother of two from Toledo, Ohio, said that when she saw what then-Sen. Obama had done for Chicago, she “immediately jumped on board.”
“We believed that he understands people like us,” Jones, 27, said of Obama as a first-time presidential candidate. “Especially in the auto industry, he definitely understood our needs.”
Jones lost her job at a General Motors Powertrain Plant in 2009, but she went back to work in 2010 for a company that ships parts for GM transmissions. President Obama’s commitment to the auto bailout, despite its unpopularity, was one of the reasons Jones opted to support the president’s re-election campaign in this time around.
“He was for the people,” Jones said of Obama, then and now. “He knows that what you have is not given to you. You have to go out there and work for it and earn it and maintain it in a fair way.”
As a benefits representative, Jones said, she believes people don’t understand how important health insurance can be.
“Without it yourself and your family can lose everything you have if you have just one major incident,” Jones said, adding that she’s grateful for the new federal health care law because it allowed her 26-year-old daughter to stay on her health insurance after she graduated from college.
All eight Inaugural co-chairs will participate in the National Day of Service, ride in the Inaugural Parade and attend the Inaugural Ball.
Tune in to the ABC News.com Live page on Monday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. EST for all-day live streaming video coverage of Inauguration 2013: Barack Obama. Live coverage will also be available on the ABC News iPad App and mobile devices.
For Jones, the ball is the best part, but she said also can’t wait to do one thing: “to meet Michelle Obama.”
“I just think she’s an outstanding woman,” Jones said, calling the first lady “a role model
“Just seeing her, getting the vibe from her will really inspire me to know that what I’m doing is definitely the right thing.”