Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

A meeting with the President for a long-time admirer

An Ontario police cruiser drives past a sign for the town of Huntsville, Ontario, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. The nearby Deerhurst Resort will host this week's G8 summit.

Graham Hughes/Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The last time Kim Doughty saw Barack Obama, she stood captivated in a sea of people in Washington as he was sworn in as President of the United States. Now, she'll be one of only two people in this town of 20,000 to meet her favourite politician face-to-face.

Ms. Doughty and her husband Claude, the mayor of Huntsville, will pass through heavy security Thursday and wait on the grounds of Deerhurst Resort to welcome Mr. Obama and other G8 leaders to their cottage-country town.

"I'm sure that our introduction will be very fleeting. He's a very busy man. I just feel that what you see is what you get with him. And even a handshake will be meaningful for me," a clearly mesmerized Ms. Doughty said Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

The picturesque town is abuzz with news of Mr. Obama's visit. But it's highly unlikely the President will wander off the resort for residents to catch a glimpse of him.

Ms. Doughty considers herself privileged to be able to meet him in person before the leaders leave for the G20 in Toronto. She learned this week that she'll be part of the welcoming team, and the news hasn't quite sunk in yet.

A long-time admirer of Mr. Obama, Ms. Doughty booked two hotel rooms in Washington a year and a half before his inauguration. She was confident he would win and wanted to be a witness to the historic event.

"I've been a fan of him for quite some time, and I knew I was going regardless of who wanted to come with me," said Ms. Doughty, 51. "I just think he has a fresh view of the realities of the world, and I love what he's done with health care, and I think he's interested in expanding women's equality."

She took her daughter, Claire - a political science student at the time - her daughter's boyfriend and a local councillor to Washington last January. They stood so far from the President that they could only watch the inauguration on a giant television screen. Still, "to be part of that energy was probably a-once-in-a-lifetime experience," Ms. Doughty said.

Speaking of unique experiences, Ms. Doughty still hadn't decided on Wednesday what to wear to greet the President and other world leaders - probably a suit one day, a dress the next. "It will be comfortable flat shoes for sure, because I think there will be a lot of standing and waiting," she said.

She'll keep her greeting simple, welcoming Mr. Obama and maybe mentioning that she's been following his policies. "I told Claude not to worry. I won't be embarrassing him. I won't go in my shorts," she said with a laugh.

Story continues below advertisement

Claire, now working at a law firm north of Toronto, would love to take her mother's place. Ms. Doughty's husband has even jokingly said he would take his daughter along if his wife acts too giddy.

So how does her husband, who won the hearts of Huntsville voters, feel about being the second-most-favoured politician in his own family?

"If I'm coming in second to him, I'm okay with that," Mr. Doughty said.

"He's first in many other regards," Ms. Doughty responded with a chuckle. "But I got to tell you, I really like Barack Obama."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Education Reporter

Caroline Alphonso is an education reporter for The Globe and Mail. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.