WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2009)—As House Majority Leader, southern Maryland's congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D) had a front row seat to the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Hoyer this afternoon released the following statement regarding the event:
"Today, our Nation celebrated a day of renewal. The Inauguration of Barack Obama was not simply the end of one presidency and the beginning of another: so many of us hope that it also marked the close of an era of partisanship and irresponsible government. In the same way, today's ceremony was about far more than one man. It was about the millions who shaped a movement for change, and the millions more who came to Washington to take part in history and a new spirit of public service.
"Generations to come will remember the history that has already been made by Barack Obama and the movement he inspired. But in office, President Obama will be judged by a single standard: his success in meeting the tremendous challenge of the days and years to come, beginning with two wars overseas and an economic crisis here at home. I have great confidence in our new President and his seasoned team of advisors. Congress stands ready to work with the Administration to rebuild our economy, create jobs, and restore American leadership in the world. But rising to meet our challenges will take all of us working together. If change ends in Washington, we will know that our Nation has not lived up to the promise of this moment."
Years ago, there was a powerful man who was born and raised not far from here. For years he studied and practiced his profession, and every day he grew a little in skill and in ambition, until one day, when he was at the height of his power, he sat down and wrote this: The class of persons who had been imported as slaves [and] their descendants
are beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.