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Dear President Obama: SoCal residents reflect

President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington on Dec. 16, 2016.
President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington on Dec. 16, 2016.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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In just under 24 hours, the Obama presidency as we know it will come to an end. 

For many, it's hard to remember where we were in life eight years ago. 

But for others, the election of the nation's first black president marked a turning point — maybe a change of perspective,  or even a change in purpose. 

That's true for Stephanie Hammerwold of Aliso Viejo. 

KPCC asked listeners to share their parting words to President Obama. Stephanie recorded hers and sent us this. 

Below is a transcript of Stephanie's letter. You can hear her reading it by clicking the blue play button above. 

Dear President Obama, 

Several years ago, I made the decision to leave behind corporate life to start small human resources consulting business. This led me down a path where I'm starting a non-profit to help formerly incarcerated women find meaningful employment. 

Knowing that I would no longer need to rely on an employer for health insurance — that I could get coverage through Covered California and the ACA — helped me make the decision to do this. 

When I made the decision to start my non-profit a year ago, because of your recognition of the issues affecting the formerly incarcerated, I knew that we were living in a time when our leaders support the type of work we're doing. This has inspired me to get back to my non-profit roots and to shift my provisional focus back towards helping other people.

Last week, you asked us to believe in our ability to bring about change, and I take that to heart every day when I sit down to design our programs for job-seekers and figure out how to reach out to employers to get them on board with recognizing the value of supporting the formerly incarcerated. 

You and Michelle have served as exemplary role models, and your leadership continues to inspire me to be in service to others and help raise up other Americans. 

Thank you. 


Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie was one of more than two-dozen listeners who responded to KPCC's online questionnaire. Others just wrote their thoughts. 

Listener Gia Scott-Heron said:

My Grandmother loves him like a family member. She has pictures of him all over the house! In 2006, my Mom said that not only did she not believe that there would be a black president in her lifetime, but that there wouldn't be one elected in my lifetime either. I disagreed, and in 2008 I was elated to point out that my Mom was wrong!

Others were more critical of the Obama Presidency.

Raul Marquez writes: 

My life before Obama was pretty normal.  I had health insurance, and I got along with everyone.  Now he has forced "Alinsky tactics" onto America.  So much hatred and division!  And my health insurance was canceled.