On a night when former President Bill Clinton drew cheers at the Democratic National Convention for urging four more years for President Barack Obama, a second-generation auto worker from Hubbard drew her share of applause, too, from the Charlotte, N.C., crowd.
She praised the president for rescuing the automobile industry with bailout loans.
Karen Eusanio, a mother of three, said she was terrified at the prospect of providing for her family or paying her mortgage when she lost her job during the automobile industry crisis. But today she is back to work and the Mahoning Valley is thriving again, thanks to Obama's decision to lend aid to the struggling industry, she said.
GM Lordstown autoworker Karen Eusanio addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
The president, Eusanio said, ''didn't think about polls or politics. He thought about people,'' and that Obama knew for the country to move forward, the industry needed saved.
Eusanio, a member of United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the General Motors Corp. Lordstown Complex, was among the ''Voices of America.''
She spoke for only a few minutes near 9:30 p.m. and also was part of a a short video that rolled before her appearance.
When you go
A party to watch President Barack Obama accept the Democratic National Committee's nomination will be at 9:30 p.m. today at the Organizing for America's field office in Youngstown, 25 W. Federal St.
Democrats during this campaign have made hefty efforts to focus attention on the rescue, which they contend led to the industry's survival, especially in automobile heavy states like Ohio, which doubles as a battleground area for both campaigns.
Eusanio told the Tribune Chronicle before her speech the campaign called her about two weeks ago.
Her getting to the stage in Charlotte started in July with an Internet commercial on a day in the life of an auto worker for the Obama campaign. According to UAW Local 1112 President Glenn Johnson, the campaign was impressed with Eusanio and called to ask him if he had any objection to her representing the union and Mahoning Valley auto workers at the convention.
Johnson said he had none whatsoever.
"The woman that I'd been dealing with told me she had some very exciting news and I thought it was to tell me when the commercial was going to be released, but she said they had decided they wanted me to come down here and speak,'' she said.
Eusanio and her family arrived Tuesday and were escorted to the convention site on Wednesday.
Former Local 1112 president Jim Graham said Eusanio is a common-sense pick for the Obama campaign.
"Lordstown represents a rebirth of General Motors because we've done extremely well after the initial loan, and it represents all the success he's had in the auto industry," he said.
"(Karen is) a single mother, I know she is a Democrat, and she understands how important the loan was to the salvation of General Motors and to the economy of the United States."
She said all the ''Voices of America'' speakers had been kept together and given opportunities to practice their speeches. She said security has been tight.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Eusanio said she hadn't met anyone big yet, but was hoping to later in the evening.
Eusanio's remarks came one night after Columbiana County military mom Elaine Brye introduced first lady Michelle Obama on the convention's opening night. Brye and her husband, Courtney, were attendees Wednesday night in the first lady's box.