Many central New Yorkers are gathering in Washington D.C. today for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Some are eagerly awaiting the speech from the infamously unpredictable Trump. Others are there to protest.
Utica resident Fran Henry says she's been waiting for Trump to become president since he first descended the escalator at Trump Tower and announced his candidacy. She and a group of her friends who are attending the inauguration helped campaign for Trump in New York and New Hampshire. So Henry says the inauguration is a milestone for Trump and his supporters, especially those like her who are new to the political process.
"I’ve watched this whole thing transpire up until this point and now I’m ready for the finale -- and the party," Henry said. "I haven’t stopped partying since election day. I wake up with a smile on my face thinking that I finally hit one a winner and I’m looking forward to going down and having a good time."
Henry hopes to hear Trump reinforce his campaign messages in his speech today, like building the border wall and focusing on job creation.
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says he hopes to hear about infrastructure spending in the inaugural address. Barlow admits that he was not Trump's biggest supporter during the campaign. Still, he thinks the country owes the new president an open mind.
"I think everybody deserves a chance on their first day on the job and even then, the president needs our support and it’s important that we at least give him the chance to prove himself before we start criticizing him," Barlow said.
But there are also a number of central New Yorkers headed to the capital to protest Trump's inauguration. 12 buses left Syracuse in the wee hours of Friday morning, ferrying hundreds of people unhappy with the incoming Trump administration to Washington, D.C. There, they will take part in the Women’s March on Washington and protests on Inauguration Day.
Kerin Rigney is a Democratic town councilor from DeWitt. She and her daughter joined one of the buses sponsored by the Syracuse Peace Council.
"Like many American women, this election presents a clear threat to not only the progress that women have made, but the future of our rights," Rigney said.
Rigney said those rights include equal pay and equal access to health care and family planning. But along with that, Rigney isn’t comfortable with the tone that Trump has set when it comes to women.
“Tone is important because it creates culture and culture dictates what our policies end up being," Rigney said.
Rigney believes today’s demonstration will be successful simply because people took the time to show up and express their concerns.
"We need to make sure that we don’t just stand there and yell at our newspaper and sit in our echo chamber," she said. "I think it’s really important that we get out and we push and we fight and we call our senators and congress members, and we do things and we don’t just sit silently steaming.”
Ranjit Dighe and his daughter Julia Dighe of Oswego will also participate in the women's march. Julia says the event is about reminding trump that Americans will not tolerate any assaults on women's rights during his tenure.
"A lot of the rhetoric he used during the campaign was very hurtful to women and many different groups and going to D.C. and saying that is not OK and that we cannot have a president who uses insulting terms to women, we need to make sure that the president is supporting women’s rights and standing for what we already have in this country," Dighe said.
The Dighes say the march will also serve notice to the incoming president that there are Americans like themselves who are ready and willing to resist him if he pursues harmful policies to any group.