J.Kalani English
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Emotional win for dedicated Obama backers on Maui

The Maui News
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

KAHULUI - Barack Obama's Maui supporters were ecstatic and overcome with emotion at a celebration at the Maui Beach Hotel Tuesday night.

"This is the happiest day of my life," sobbed Michelle Joy as she learned Obama had won enough electoral votes to be president. "I can't believe it. I just can't believe it."

After bitter disappointment with Democratic presidential losses in 2004 and 2000, victory on Tuesday was that much sweeter.

"This restores my faith in democracy," she said.

Joy wasn't the only Obama supporter moved to tears.

Michelle Sewell clutched friends and wept as the results were announced, later pulling on sunglasses to cover her red-rimmed eyes. "Elation" was what she felt.

"We worked so hard for this," she said.

She said Obama could put America back on the right track.

"I love this country, I believe in the system, but you have to have good people to make it work," she said. "This man can make it work."

State Sen. J. Kalani English echoed many others at the celebration in saying Obama's victory was important for the world, not just the United States. He said he'd been getting calls from friends overseas, including heads of state and political leaders, congratulating him.

"Tahiti called," he said. "New Zealand. The Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands. They're ecstatic."

He said an Obama presidency would be "a new day for America."

"I think the whole world is with us on this," he said.

Scott Miller said he came to the rally to be a part of history.

"It's unreal," he said. "The whole world is sharing this moment."

Kuau Mart owner Leona Nomura said she was proud to display Obama signs at her store from the beginning of the campaign.

Her thoughts Tuesday night were with Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died of cancer two days before her grandson was elected president. Nomura said she believed Dunham was watching over Obama.

"I'm crying for her," she said, choking up. "I wish she could have seen it. But she must know."

* Ilima Loomis can be reached at iloomis @mauinews.com.

Original article URL: http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/510475.html

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