A couple of days ago, I posted my friend Andrew’s letter to the Mayor and City Council regarding President Obama’s visit to Virginia Beach.
The Mayor graciously contacted Andrew. Here is Andrew’s follow-up, posted with permission:
Monday morning I received a call from Mayor Sessoms and also an email from Councilman Jim Wood expressing concern and providing an explanation in the matter of President Obama’s visit.
I sent a personal email to Councilman Wood who expressed his regret for missing the opportunity to meet the President, and thanked him for his response.
Mayor Sessoms and I had a very candid conversation in which he expressed his view that he had not been invited by the President’s campaign and was concerned about pushing himself in where he may not have been wanted. And, without an invitation, vetting and clearance by Secret Service, he would not have been permitted to greet the President. He further expressed his regret of not having the opportunity to personally meet the President which would have been an honor for him.
I expressed my thanks for his taking the time to reach out to me to advise that it was not any attempt to snub the President but a matter of feeling uninvited. His position was that he would have been honored to meet, speak to and shake hands with the President. He certainly had no intention to disrespect the President of the United States.
My response was, by example, to put myself in his place saying that I, knowing that the President was visiting, would have been proactive and reached out to secure an invitation as Mayor of the city to welcome the President. With the local office of both Senator Webb and Congressman Rigell, I think that would have been quickly handled.
The above said, I appreciate the Mayor taking the time to personally contact me to provide an explanation and we did have a candid and fruitful conversation. I do believe that if this situation occurs again the outcome will be much different. We’re (Virginia Beach) the biggest kid on the block and we ought to be able to meet both opportunities and challenges and be able to “stick our chest out” so to speak when it’s over.