Former U.S. President Barack Obama was honored in Illinois on Saturday as the state’s first annual “Barack Obama Day” was officially kicked off.
In 2017, under the leadership of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, the state’s legislature unanimously voted to pass the measure.
Moving forward, August 4, the former president’s birthday, will be celebrated as “Barack Obama Day.” The measure was passed, with Rauner’s signature, on August 6, 2017.
“It’s incredibly proud for Illinois that the president came from Illinois. I think it’s awesome, and I think we should celebrate it,” Rauner said while signing the state holiday into law.
“I don’t think it should be a formal holiday with paid, forced time off, but I think it should be a day of acknowledgment and celebration,” Rauner added.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a moment on Saturday to congratulate his fellow Democrat in a tweet that complimented Obama for looking “good” at 57-years-old.
— Rahm Emanuel (@RahmEmanuel) August 4, 2018
In the meantime, Obama’s spokesperson told USA Today that he will celebrate his 57th birthday with his family in Washington D.C. today.
Barack Obama Day arrives less than a week after the former President announced his support for various Democrats around the country who are running for office in the 2018 mid-term elections.