At just 16 years old, Riley McKenna is one of Ohio’s youngest neighborhood team leaders. On Wednesday in Bowling Green, she not only saw President Obama speak for the first time in her life, she got an unforgettable hug.
A high school student with a part-time job, Riley leads a growing neighborhood team in Fremont, Ohio. She refuses to let her age or busy schedule get in the way of making a difference:
“I volunteer to make up for the fact that I can’t vote. Getting out the vote is my way of making sure we keep our country moving forward. I started off phone banking and canvassing in March. That first phone call wasn’t easy, but I got it used to it after a few calls. Now I enjoy talking to people in my area, getting to know them, and sharing my reasons for supporting the President.”
And Riley's got a lot of reasons to support him:
"I have a lot of medical problems, from arthritis to deterioration in my spine. For a while I was even getting chemotherapy. It’s important to me that we protect Obamacare—that people with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage.
"I’m also going to college soon, and I don’t want to have to borrow money from my parents or ‘shop around’. When I ask my friends to get involved, I remind them that President Obama has fought to make college more affordable for us."
For Riley, seeing President Obama speak was a “dream come true”:
“I cried the whole time. He walked in and I just started bawling. Listening to his speech was amazing—it was completely different being there versus watching him speak on TV. I’ve been telling my friends forever that my dream was to hug the President—and it came true! He reached out and gave me a big HUG. I was in shock. I cried all the way to the car after the event."
Riley heard the President loud and clear when he encouraged the audience in Bowling Green to vote early.
“I’m going to convince my parents to vote on October 2nd. They’re registered Independents, but always vote for who they believe is best for the job, and they know that’s President Obama.”
Riley’s not sitting on sidelines, and neither should you. Commit to vote today.