Politics Brings Couple Together


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By Alicia Petska
Published: January 18, 2009

LYNCHBURG, Va.—Politics is often considered a divisive subject, but for Dave Evans and Susan Hamlett it was the ultimate unifier.

Evans, 62, and Hamlett, 53, first crossed paths at a small Obama rally held in Lynchburg in early 2008.

Now, the two are happily married. Obama, they joke, brought them together.

“I wouldn’t have met her if she was a McCain supporter,” said Evans, adding his new bride has got “a wonderful personality.”

“We’ve got so many things in common, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “She really has a beautiful spirit.”

The Lynchburg couple wed in October. Hamlett - now Susan Hamlett-Evans - said she probably would have accepted the proposal even if her betrothed’s politics leaned a little more to the right.

“I like controversy,” she laughed. “I would have done everything I could to persuade him to come over to my side.”

The Evanses are among around 30 local people planning to pile into a bus late Monday night and make the long, traffic-jammed journey up to Washington D.C. to witness Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The group, led by some of Obama’s first local campaign volunteers, plans to leave Lynchburg at 10 p.m. in order to be in the capital by 4:30 a.m. Tuesday - the arrival time assigned to them by the inauguration security team.

The trip’s organizers held an information meeting Saturday afternoon, advising riders on everything from what to wear to what to leave behind.

The day should be fun, they said, but don’t fool yourself. It’s also going to be difficult.

“I don’t want these people to think they’re just going to be able to walk right up onto the mall,” said coordinator Cheryl Glass, who was an active grassroots Obama supporter during the campaign. “This is the real deal here.”

Glass reeled off some of the things that will guarantee Tuesday is a hectic day - the biting weather, the unprecedented crowds, the complicated list of security restrictions.

It’s enough to give many people pause, but Glass doesn’t lose an ounce of enthusiasm.

“I lived this dream,” she said of the incoming presidency. “I just cannot wait for this to happen.”

“We’re going to be in the mess,” she said, “and see what we can see, but we want to be in the mess. We want to see history in the making.”

She grinned. “We’re going to have a ball.”

Alicia Petska is a staff writer for The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va.

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