Freshman Lance Lacheen plans to be on the grounds of the Capitol in January to watch as Barack Obama is sworn in as the next president of the United States, but he faces an uphill battle to take part in the historic occasion.
Like many GW students, Lacheen does not have tickets to the presidential swearing-in ceremony, which have quickly become a hot commodity since Obama’s election last week. Lacheen posted signs throughout Thurston Hall asking anyone with tickets to get in touch with him.
“I’m not willing to pay a huge amount for them, but I am willing to see what people are asking for them,” Lacheen said adding, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the event’s organizers, has distributed tickets to all members of next year’s Congress. People looking for tickets must contact their congressman to be put on a list.
Although tickets are meant to be free, they are already fetching thousands of dollars on the Internet. Legislation has been proposed in the Senate to make it a federal crime to charge for the tickets.
As early as Election Day, Craigslist had numerous listings of individuals posting their pleas for Inauguration tickets, with some willing to pay exorbitant amounts.
Florida resident Mary Fitzhenry, who is searching for Inauguration tickets, has been looking forward to the January event since becoming an Obama supporter several years ago.
Fitzhenry has already booked her plane tickets and hotel arrangements for the week and is hoping to find someone with tickets through her Craigslist ad.
“There are no hotels open for the 15 to 21st of January in Maryland, Washington or Northern Virginia,” Fitzhenry said.
She added, “We lucked out in finding a hotel for that week in Virginia.”