He hasn’t even been out of office for a year, and yet states and local governments around the country are looking to make a political statement by naming something after Barack Obama. The latest state to do so shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
After a resolution passed both the state’s Senate and Assembly yesterday, California will rename a section of Los Angeles-area highway for former President Obama. It is not clear when the name change will take place.
Obama reportedly used the highway to travel from his home to Occidental College, where he attended for a time.
The portion of the Ventura (134) Freeway, between the Glendale (2) and Foothill (210) freeways will be named the President Barack H. Obama Freeway.
According to Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino, who introduced the resolution and represents the area of the freeway, Obama used this portion of the freeway during the late 1970s to travel from his home in Pasadena to Occidental College in Eagle Rock.
“I am so proud to have authored this proposal to forever appreciate and commemorate President Obama’s tremendous legacy, statesmanship and direct connection to Southern California,” Portantino said in a statement.
The passage of the resolution came on the same day President Donald Trump announced an end to Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Portantino did not miss the opportunity to make political hay out of the coincidence.
“It is also quite appropriate and symbolic that the California Legislature would pass this resolution for a president filled with compassion on the same day we witness another president turn his back on 800,000 children,” he said.
Portantino also said the naming of the freeway honors the 44th president’s connection to Southern California.
“It is so important that California highlights the dignity of President Obama,” he said. “His direct connection to Southern California in general and to the 134 Freeway specifically makes this the appropriate and exciting place to recognize his tremendous accomplishments and the presidential manner in which he led our country.”
This isn’t the first road to be named for the former President. Two other California cities have roads named for Obama. Local officials in Palm Beach County, Florida have renamed two roads for him. One previously known as the “Old Dixie Highway” is now designated the Barack Obama Highway (shown in the picture above). Indiana and Illinois have also had cities rename streets for him. However, this appears to be the first time a state legislature has officially named a section of highway for him.