New Jersey Town Opts To Honor Barack Obama Instead Of JFK With Building Renaming

| by Will Hagle

During Barack Obama's initial presidential run, the then-Senator was often compared to John F. Kennedy, another American leader that attracted a youthful group of voters to adapt to a new approach to policy. Both obviously broke barriers in terms of the presidency, with JFK becoming the first Catholic commander-in-chief and President Obama becoming the first African-American to serve the nation's highest executive office. 

A town in New Jersey's Burlington County has already announced plans to rename the Kennedy Center — a building which, according to Philly.com, contains a senior center, the parks and recration department, a banquet hall and an auditorium — to honor the nation's current president. The building's name change, which was approved by the Willingboro Township council, would be the President Barack Obama Center. 

The name change was proposed due to the fact that the building is undergoing a $4.9 million renovation project. Willingboro Township Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Jennings also noted the important role Obama's campaign played in motivating members of the community. 

"I think that people have a sense of pride about him ... We had so many new people register to vote, people who had never voted before, people who were disenfranchised. All of a sudden, we had maybe 8,000 people register to vote. We had lines ... people wrapping around the buildings when the polls opened. It was a sense of history, everybody wanted to be a part of it," said Jennings in regards to the local reaction to Obama's first presidential election.

According to TheBlaze, the name change is somewhat controversial because the building is located on John F. Kennedy Way and nearby the local John F. Kennedy High School. Still, despite a vote against the proposal by Willingboro Mayor Eddie Campbell, it appears as if the town will move forward with its decision to honor President Obama before he even leaves office.

Sources: Philly.com, TheBlaze