Celebrating change - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

Celebrating change

ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-TV) -- While Washington D.C. celebrated the inauguration of our new president, so did those at a party in downtown Rochester.

Eyes were glued to the television sets, still, hours and hours after the oath of office.

4-year-old Anna Walter-Smith probably doesn't know much more than our new president's name, but still realizes how important the day is.

"Some people voted for John McCain and some Barack Obama," said Walter-Smith.

And while the food paired with the fun kept everyone happy, this inaugural party was more than just celebration, it was about saying thanks.

"We wanted to let people know just how much we appreciated all the hours they put in," said Mary Petersson, the Senate District 29 chair.

District 29 chair Mary Petersson has lived in Rochester since she was 9-years-old and says much has changed in the city, but she says for the better.

"It's a lot more diversified. And I think we're at a point today that shows we can celebrate our diversity, not just tolerate it or accept it," said Petersson.

And the sort of change Barack Obama is talking about is something that has resonated with new city council member Michael Wojcik.

"What we've seen at the federal level and the state level is that there's an appetite for doing things the way we haven't done them in a long time. We've been bickering. My entire adult life I've seen nothing but bickering between the two parties. It's just not sustainable," said Wojcik.

Many at the party are long-time Obama supporters, but say today was about more than just Democrat or Republican- it was about being an American at a pivotal moment in history.

"I teared up just like everyone else. I was proud to be an American," said Petersson.

The party was sponsored by the DFL Senate Districts 29 and 30.

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