On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American to take the presidential oath of office. But, even though Obama became a household name in 2008, his political roots go back to the mid-1980s, when he was a community organizer in Chicago. Although there may be many reasons why Barack Obama entered politics, helping people change their communities for the better at the grassroots level appears to be the most significant.
A Reason to Run
Barack Obama first ran for Illinois State Senate in 1996. During his time as a state senator, he was instrumental in the passing of approximately 300 bills specifically aimed at helping the state's poor, elderly and labor unions. Although he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Obama set his sights higher, taking his message of social justice and equality for all U.S. citizens to the White House. Obama was elected to serve a second term in 2012.
In His Own Words
In 2009, Barack Obama wrote an open letter to his daughters, Malia and Sasha, that was published in "Parade" magazine. In the letter, he explained that he entered politics, and ultimately ran for president, to make it possible for every American to have access to a good education, a good job and affordable health care.
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