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Central Jersey Teens, Families Go To Washington For Inauguration

Home News Tribune / — January 21, 2017

By Nick Muscavage

WASHINGTON — The inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday was the first transfer of presidential power witnessed in person by 15-year-old Kyle Amerman — and he loved every minute of it.

The Hillsborough resident went to Washington on a trip organized by 4-H, of which he is a member.

Before he arrived in D.C., he said that he was extremely excited "to experience the many events that occur during the week of the inauguration." He also said he was looking forward to furthering his education in politics, a field in which he is immensely interested as a young Republican.

"As an outspoken Republican, I am intently interested in the politics of this country and am excited to see what President Trump does to turn our country around and make it prosperous again," he said.

Once he arrived in the nation's capital to see the ceremony unfold for himself at the Capitol, it was everything he expected "and more," he said.

Amerman, who attends Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School, The Academy For Health and Medical Sciences, said that the 4-H trip also held educational workshops teaching him about the roles of the executive branch, president and the media.

Attending the inauguration was truly an "honor" for him, he said, and if he had the chance to go again he would "in a heartbeat."

Amerman certainly was not the only teenager at the inauguration, and he wasn't the only teen from Central Jersey.

Ainsley LiCata attended the ceremony with her father, Al LiCata, a former mayor of Bernards and current executive director of the township's regional chamber of commerce.

"It feels amazing," she said of attending the ceremony. "I know it's an experience a ton of people would love to have gone to and I am so grateful to have been able to come to this today."

She said that her and her father "are having a great time."

Although it was the first inauguration for Ainsley, it was the third for her father, and, according to his account, the biggest he's witnessed.

"There are a lot of very nice people here, very enthusiastic people," Al LiCata said. "Everyone was chanting and cheering for Trump. There was a lot of energy, a lot of different people."

He said that there were a lot of families at the inauguration, and everyone looked like they were having a good time.

"Everybody brought kids," he said.

LiCata is excited to see what Trump brings to the table for the country.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the president find common ground on issues on both sides of the aisle to get America back to work," he said. "I like his response about building our infrastructure and our roads back up."

He wasn't keen on New Jersey's 23-cent gas tax levied by the state Legislature but said he is excited to see what the federal government, under Trump's leadership, has planned for the infrastructure of the country, adding that he thinks it would put a lot of "Americans back to work."

Other Central Jersey residents are not in favor of Trump's policies or rhetoric, and some took to the streets to express that sentiment.

In Hillsborough, more than 50 people turned up to an event organized by the Hillsborough Democrats on Thursday night.

According to Roger Koch, a Hillsborough resident who attended the event, protesters were speaking out "against Trump and Republican-proposed policies, like cuts to healthcare and Social Security, Russia's influence in our politics, Trump's attacks against free press and his hate-filled rhetoric."

On Wednesday, multiple candlelight vigils took place throughout the state, including events in Westfield and Flemington, to show solidarity with the Affordable Care Act and people who benefited from it. The ACA, also called Obamacare, recently received its first blow when the House and Senate passed a budget resolution as the first measure toward repealing it.

Repealing Obamacare is one of Trump's top goals.

"We all will lose if the ACA is repealed," Maura Collinsgru, healthcare program director for New Jersey Citizen Action and convener of the NJ for Health Care Coalition, said in a statement. "We're urging Governor Christie and our state Congressional delegation to commit to preserving the coverage and protections millions have gained under the ACA."

But Trump has a lot of appealing policies and qualities that people admire. For LiCata, one such quality is his ability to talk to America's adversaries from "a position of strength on the world stage and not apologize."

"I think it's going to be a completely different change of government from what we've had for the last eight years," LiCata said, adding that he commends former President Barack Obama for setting the stage for a smooth presidential transition.

LiCata is anticipating what will come next in American history, and he was glad he was able to witness a piece of it on Friday with his daughter.

"He's a successful businessman," LiCata said of Trump. "If he can bridge the gap between how government works and how businesses run, he will be highly successful."

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