Campaign Stop Offers Oskaloosa Rare Presidential Visit

Then former President Teddy Roosevelt is seen here campaigning in Oskaloosa in 1912. He had been to Oskaloosa in 1903 as President to help dedicate the new Y.M.C.A. (photo courtesy Mahaska County Historical Society)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The arrival of President Obama to Oskaloosa will be of historic proportions in its history. In fact, a Presidential visit is so rare, it may have happened only one other time in Oskaloosa’s history.

In 1903, then President Theodore Roosevelt visited Oskaloosa on a nine week trip that took him not only across Iowa, but also Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri and Kansas.

Once in Oskaloosa on April 28, 1903, Roosevelt took part in dedicating the new Y.M.C.A. building. Here, he also spoke highly of John F. Lacey who, at the time, was still serving as a representative for Iowa’s 6th District and was a resident of Oskaloosa. Roosevelt made his stop in Oskaloosa at the request of Lacey. “In public life generally we are not apt to find the man whose interests go for the whole country as well as for those who have his immediate fate in their hands, and I wish to congratulate this district on having in the American Congress a man who spends his best efforts for the whole United States,” Roosevelt said.

On September 4, 1912, Roosevelt once again made a return trip to Oskaloosa where he was campaigning for another term in the White House, but this time was under the Progressive Party banner (also known as The Bull Moose Party). Roosevelt formed the party after President Taft became too conservative.

Many other candidates for President have made their way to Oskaloosa since, including our current President Barack Obama. He made campaign stops to Oskaloosa on July 4, 2007, and also on December 22, 2007.

But, this will be his first trip to Oskaloosa as the President. With a quick glance through the history books, it appears that this is the first visit by a sitting President since Roosevelt did so clear back in 1903. Others have visited the city either before or after their presidencies, such as Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover. President Nixon lived in Ottumwa while in the Navy and stationed at the Naval Airbase that was there during WWII.

Even the location at Nelson Pioneer Farm has hosted candidates in the past, including Obama’s current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on November 3, 2007, when she was yet a candidate for the office.

Tickets to President Obama’s visit will be available starting at 11:00 am at the OFA, Oskaloosa Office 201 High Avenue East, Oskaloosa, IA 52577.

 

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