obama marker 113022SPRINGFIELD - Senate Democrats joined representatives from the Obama Foundation, the Old State Capitol Foundation, Governor JB Pritzker and community members to celebrate a marker being placed at the Old State Capital in Springfield to commemorate the historic moments in 2007 and 2008 where former President Barack Obama announced his campaign for presidency.

The former president will forever hold significance to the heart of Springfield and its history. Obama served as an Illinois state senator who worked in the state capital before becoming a U.S. Senator. When serving as a U.S Senator, he announced his bid for presidency at the Old State Capitol with his family on Feb. 10, 2007. This momentous occasion marked the beginning of a great chapter in American history, for it was the impetus to America gaining its first Black President. The event drew national attention - nearly 17,000 people gathered at the Old State Capital to witness the historic event. While Obama’s political career began in Springfield in 1997, it also served as the place where he would eventually take his career to the national stage.

“Long before President Obama made his mark on the nation, he made his mark on Springfield – serving not just as an elected official, but as a man dedicated to our community,” said State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “Through this recognition at the Old State Capitol, we ensure that President Obama’s legacy will live on forever while fostering tourism opportunities for years to come.”

Obama returned to Springfield on Aug. 23, 2008 to make another historic announcement. Again in the Old State Capital, he announced then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware would be his running mate. Obama was elected the nation’s 44th president on Nov. 4, 2008, becoming the fourth Illinoisan elected to the office and the first Black President-elect. Then-Vice President Biden later went on to become the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021. Springfield has been host to significant moments for three remarkable Presidents throughout history: Lincoln, Obama and Biden.

“President Obama’s colleagues in the State Senate always knew he was bound for bigger things,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “He carried to the highest office in the land the same curiosity, demeanor and willingness to ask tough questions that he had while serving in Springfield.”

To commemorate these substantial moments, a historical marker has been placed depicting the story of Obama’s bid for the presidency and announcement of his running mate at the Old State Capital. Funding and design of the historical marker came from a partnership with the Old State Capitol, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois State Historical Society and the Obama Presidential Library. Senate Democrats joined the coalition of lawmakers and stakeholders to honor President Obama’s eight years in office as a turning point for both national and Illinois history.