Regardless of the political ramifications of President Barack Obama’s legacy, the impact he has had as the first black President is certainly undeniable. For many, his tenure marked an opportunity and fostered an environment in which people who may not have previously believed they could do “anything,” became more optimistic about their future.
Prior to serving as President of the United States, Barack Obama was a one term US Senator from Illinois, he had also been a State Senator before that. With his time in Springfield, Obama certainly developed a strong relationship with many legislators for the State of Illinois. Although his popularity nationwide is certainly questionable, he is still resoundingly popular in the Land of Lincoln, especially in Chicago.
Recently, State Representatives Andre Thapedi and Sonya Harper introduced legislation which would create a day off for state workers for Barack Obama’s birthday, which is August 4. The proposal would create a day off for state workers, although schools are not in sessions, which would decrease any potentials issues created by the added day off.
Although it may initially come across as rather odd to memorialize the former President while he is still alive, it would certainly not be unprecedented. For example, the State of California made Ronald Reagan’s birthday a state holiday while he was still alive.
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Interestingly though, there is only one holiday which is specific to just Illinois. Currently, Illinois state workers have Abraham Lincoln’s birthday off, the other President who represented Illinois prior to entering the White House.
State Representative Thapedi also noted that there are a number of other seemingly obscure state holidays across the country which certainly should be considered more controversial than a holiday for President Barack Obama. For example, Virginia closes state offices for Lee-Jackson day, which is in memory of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, while Alabama holds a holiday for Jefferson Davis.
Although the initial legislation seeks to make Barack Obama’s birthday a day off, there could very well be a compromise struck which would commemorate the day but would not make it a full state holiday. Currently, there are about 50 of these days for Illinois.
Governor Bruce Rauner’s office has not specified whether or not they would be supportive of this type of legislation.
What do you think? Should Barack Obama’s birthday be made a holiday in Illinois? Let HYPELINE News know what you think in the comments!
(h/t Chicago Tribune)