STEUBENVILLE - Ray Martineau returned from his weekend trip to Columbus with a renewed dedication to see President Barack Obama win another four-year term.
"I supported the president four years ago, and this time I volunteered to be a local team leader for the Ohio campaign. That means coordinating volunteers in making telephone calls and knocking on doors to identify Obama supporters," explained Martineau.
And, his volunteer efforts earned Martineau an invitation to attend the Obama campaign kick-off event at Ohio State University Saturday.
BACKING OBAMA — Ray Martineau displays the invitation he used to attend the weekend Obama campaign kickoff rally in Columbus. Following the rally, Martineau met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. - Dave Gossett
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama appeared before 14,000 people at the Value City Arena in his first official campaign appearance against the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
"The last time I got this involved in a presidential campaign was when Sen. John Kerry ran for president and came to Steubenville. I got the invitation to see the Obamas and decided to go to Columbus to see them," said Martineau.
Martineau is a retired social worker with the Jefferson County Community Action Council.
"I have campaigned for several local Democrat candidates in Jefferson County since I moved here. I generally support the candidates I believe in, and I believe in President Obama," noted Martineau.
"I like what the president stands for. He made several remarks in his speech about moving forward and the need to keep making things happen. I believe President Obama has done a lot for our country and will continue to do a lot," stated Martineau.
Martineau said recent national news reports indicating Jefferson County may not support Obama's re-election because he is black are misleading.
"I moved to Steubenville in 1980 and have lived here for the past 32 years. I don't think people oppose the president because of his race. I don't think Jefferson County is a racist community. Most of the people I talk to support President Obama or don't support him because of his politics," Martineau said.
Obama kicked off his presidential campaign and asked supporters in Columbus to help him win a second term to finish restoring the economy.
"Because I had a special invitation I had to meet my contact with the Ohio campaign headquarters. I was taken to a special room after the rally and that's when I met President Obama. He shook my hand and thanked me for my support. I told him I was a Navy veteran and he thanked me for serving in the military," said Martineau.
"Then I turned around and there was Mrs. Obama. I told her how I had changed my lifestyle and lost a lot of weight. She gave me a high five and then hugged me," said Martineau.
"It was very cool meeting the president and first lady. And yes, I came back with a new feeling of inspiration to work for this man. I came home ready to make more phone calls and to knock on doors," cited Martineau.