Obama Will Be Seventh President to Visit Grand Junction

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

When President Barack Obama visits Grand Junction this Saturday it will be the seventh time that a sitting president has made an appearance in the Grand Valley.

Some presidents have spent as little at 15 minutes in the area while others stayed for the whole day. The last time President Obama spoke on the Western Slope he was still a senator.
This time he will speak as the president. And he will do that almost a century after William Taft made the first visit ever to Grand Junction by a president.

The year was 1909, Taft opened the head gate to the Gunnison tunnel in Montrose, and then he traveled to Grand Junction. Taft used the trip to speak at the old county fairgrounds as part of the peach day festival. "He wasn't campaigning it wasn't just a routine 15 minute stop," says, Museum of Western Colorado Curator Zebulon Miracle. Grand Junction wouldn't see another president until Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed through on July 12th of 1938.

Miracle says, "His train arrived just on time he was only expected to speak for a whole two minutes but he ended up being at the platform for 15 minutes because he had a long distance phone call from Washington." The next two presidents to the area would spend about the same amount of time.

Truman made an appearance in 1948 on a whistle stop campaign and Eisenhower flew into Walker Field in 1954. It would be a 20 year wait for the city until Gerald Ford spoke at Lincoln Park. Miracle says, "He actually crowned the Mesa State College Homecoming queen during that."

The last president in Mesa County was George H. Bush. Who gave a speech at the old county courthouse to around 10,000 people. Miracle says, "He spent a large portion of the morning at Two Rivers Convention Center working on an education reform bill."

This next presidential visit will mark a historic trip to the area by Obama. Who is expected to talk about health care reform. Miracle says, "This will be a crucial bill for him if it fails or succeeds and so having that be the highlights of his visit out here is extremely historically significant." and could mark Grand Junction as a key stop for future presidents.

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  • by Sarah Location: Steamboat Springs on Aug 15, 2009 at 01:35 PM
    Just to respond to the comment above...citizens who already have health insurance will not be forced to participate in Government run Health care plans. Before you are up in arms about not wanting health care available to all citizens, go out and talk to people who get denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions or who can't afford health care for themselves or their families because they have been laid off. YOU don't have to have a health care plan that the government runs, but other people need that type of coverage. Just because you 'don't want it' doesn't mean there is not a need for it.
  • by Karon McCormick Location: Colorado Springs Colorado on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:06 AM
    To the people of Mesa County, I am counting on you guys to ask some very tough questions of the President. I do not want a health care plan that the government runs. The have bankrupted social security, medicare, medicaid and the postal service. They are not capable of running national health care which will surely bankrupt this country. Please ask questions about true reform 1. Tort reform- a must. 2. Heath insurance savings accounts. 3. Purchasing high deductible catastrophic insurance. 4. Opening up competition to all insurance carriers, not just one or two per state. Please do not let him or the senator cherry pick the audience or the questions. Stop national health care and reform the system we have now, this can be done. I would not allow this government to run a local neighborhood lemonade stand and expect a profit. Their resume of running other programs is disastorous. Thank you Karon McCormick
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