President Barack Obama's second term will kick off with much fanfare in Washington, D.C. this weekend and the Bay Area will be well represented with local politicians, community leaders and residents in attendance.
The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose are just some of the elected representatives planning to attend Monday's swearing-in in front of the U.S. Capitol following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend full of inaugural programming and a private oath of office ceremony Sunday.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who has been at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, will extend his stay at the nation's capital to witness his first presidential inauguration.
"I'm expecting it to be crowded and cold," he said about the ceremony set for Monday morning. Despite the anticipated chill, which he noted other California mayors have also had difficulty adjusting to, he called the start of Obama's next four years an "important national event" that "is something we do for the country and world."
Concord resident Eric Mettner, 35, is heading to the East Coast this morning ready to witness his first presidential inauguration after he volunteered for the Obama re-election campaign in San Francisco last year. "I've never done anything like this," Mettner said.
While in D.C., he has plans to attend an inaugural dinner, see the historical sights and be part of the hundreds of thousands who will welcome Obama to four more years as president. His trip was made possible after he worked with his local representative, Congressman George Miller, D-Concord, to secure inauguration tickets, and garnered support from family and friends. Through the generosity of his large following on social media, Mettner was able to afford the travel costs.
Strangers pitched in between $5 to $100 to help him afford the once-in-a-lifetime trip, which he called a "bucket-list dream." Mettner said he is most excited about "being in the crowd" watching the ceremony, and seeing some of his favorite artists, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, perform at the ceremony.
He reflected on watching Obama's first inauguration on TV in 2009 and that it brought him to tears. "It's incredible to go from watching the inauguration to being involved in the campaign to being part of inauguration."
An openly gay man who recently came out as HIV positive, Mettner said marriage and equality rights propelled him to work on the Obama campaign. He has already bought winter clothes to stay warm in his suit during the event, but he said "it's not going to hit me until I'm leaving (San Francisco International Airport)." "This is going to be more than just a trip to the inauguration," Mettner said. "It's a compilation of dreams and people believing in me."