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First-time voter attends inauguration

By Staff | Jan 27, 2017

As an 18-year-old, Spencer Howard, of Ranson, was very excited to vote in the November General Election. This was the first time he was old enough to vote and that right is something he takes very seriously.

Even more exciting for young Spencer was a trip to Washington, D.C. to witness the inauguration of Donald Trump.

When asked why he made the trip, without advanced tickets no less, Howard said, “I was an avid supporter and contributor for Mr. Trump. I had also attended a rally when Mr. Trump was in Leesburg (Virginia) so I wanted to top it off by going to the inauguration.”

Even though Howard, and two friends, did not have tickets, they were able to secure some from other attendees who had extras.

“We met some ‘Bikers for Trump’ who gave me a VIP?pass that is really more of a souvenier,” Howard explained. “I think it might have been good for some events after the inauguration, but at that point, I was ready to get out of there.”

Howard’s quick exit came as a result of protesters rioting in the streets near where he and his friends were standing.

“There were alot of protesters,” he said. “They blocked the streets, which to me is not peaceful.”

In addition, Howard witnessed crowds running at police officers and the officers, in turn, spraying tear gas. These protesters were shown throughout the evening on news reports as they broke windows and turned over trash cans.

Despite these instances of violence, Howard said he felt very safe at the event.

“The security was great,” he said. “We didn’t stay for the parade because of the stuff going on though. I didn’t want to run the risk.”

The overall experience was a great one, Howard shared.

“There must have been over a million people,” he said. “There were way more Trump supporters than protesters.”

Howard shared that he and his friends “saw a little bit of everything.” Most people he encountered were friendly and excited to be there.

“I thought it was funny, one lady protesting, who was holding a sign that said ‘Love not Hate.’ When she saw me wearing a Trump hat and sweatshirt, she gave me the finger. Guess the love wasn’t for a Trump supporter,” he laughed.

From Howard’s vantage point, he could see the ceremony on one of the large screens.

“We were in a good spot,” he said, “but there was a tree directly in my line of sight so I had to watch on the screen.”

The whole day was a great experience, one Howard said he would do again if he could. While he would not have traveled to Washington if his candidate had lost, he said he would definitely have watched it on television.

I’m just very excited for the next eight years,” Howard said enthusiastically.