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Preparing for inauguration: Kannapolis resident ready for ‘a free for all’

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Veleria Levy makes no bones about it, Barack Obama’s swearing in is going to be an event to remember.
“It’s going to be a free for all,” she said.
Obama’s swearing in will be held Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., and Levy, chairman for the West Kannapolis voting precinct, has been invited.
The West Kannapolis precinct is in Rowan County.
Levy has a ticket to sit inside a roped-off viewing area for the inauguration and tickets to attend a pair of accompanying balls ó the National Black Lawyers Ball and the Illinois Society Ball.
Millions are expected to converge on Washington for the inaugural events, and Levy realizes the crowds will likely be the size that few have witnessed.
She’ll be staying in a friend’s condominium in Washington, and said she’s not particularly worried about getting around the city.
But getting in and out of Washington, she said, might be a trick.
“Getting there and coming home is going to be a challenge,” Levy said.
Levy, who admits only to being “in my 30s,” will be accompanied by her 4-year-old son, Joseph Earl Levy III.
“He’s looking forward to it, too,” Levy said.
She said she locked onto Obama as her candidate of choice early on, and said the similarities she felt with him were the primary reason.
Obama was raised by a single mother and Levy said she’s raising her son largely on her own, though her parents, Earl and Joanne Levy, help her out a great deal. The elder Levys live in Martinsville, Va., but sometimes stay with Veleria and Joseph for weeks at a time.
“Family, the most important part of life,” Levy said. “That’s what led me to Sen. Barack Obama. My family.”
In addition to being the West Kannapolis precinct chairman, Levy was also involved with the political process by running a volunteer headquarters for Obama out of her house.
“I worked directly with Obama’s team in Rowan County,” she said.
Levy said she’s been involved in politics most of her life, but said Obama’s election has moved her like no other election.
“He’s America’s president, he’s mixed,” Levy said. “America looked beyond the color of his skin and elected the best president. He showed that any of us can be anything we want.”
Levy works as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Abbott Labs.
She said that in planning for her trip to the inauguration, she’s made a handful of special purchases, including buying a pair of Democratic rain boots. They’re blue with little donkeys and stars on them.
Levy said she plans to be standing on a sidewalk for the inauguration parade, and said she wants to be ready for whatever weather may arrive.
“It’s just so exciting,” Levy said of the inauguration and accompanying gala. “How can you not be there?”

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