March 13, 2010

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Kennebec Journal

Maine attorney and State House lobbyist Severin Beliveau said watching Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech Tuesday in Chicago is now at the top of his list of awe-inspiring political memories.

''The symbolism of being in Grant Park, when I was there 40 years ago, is just indescribable,'' he said by phone from Chicago on Wednesday.

In 1968, Grant Park was the site of riots outside the Democratic National Convention. At the time, Beliveau was the 29-year-old chairman of the Maine Democratic Party.

This year, the park served as the backdrop for a massive celebration of Obama's presidential victory.

Beliveau and his wife, Cynthia, who live in Hallowell, were at the event organized by their son Emmett, 32, who works for the Obama campaign. Emmett Beliveau, a Colby College graduate, has worked as director of advance for the campaign and will likely be involved in the transition team, his father said.

Obama's speech, and his win, begins a new day for the nation and the world, Severin Beliveau said.

''It relegated to history much of the latent racism that exists in this country,'' he said.

Obama hit all the right notes in his acceptance speech, Beliveau said.

''It was appropriate,'' he said. ''He reached out.''

The Beliveaus also spent some time after the event with Barack and Michelle Obama, Cynthia Beliveau said.

For the Beliveaus, their trip to Chicago was special for another reason. On Monday, their first grandchild, Maeve Louise Beliveau, was born to Emmett Beliveau and his wife, Catherine.

''Talk about two extraordinary events,'' Severin Beliveau said. ''The birth of your first grandchild and the election of the first nonwhite.''

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