Local GM employee to speak at DNC tonightWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
General Motors Powertrain employee and Toledoan Kenyetta Jones has had a busy week. On Sept. 3, she introduced President Barack Obama to a cheering crowd at Scott High School. And on Sept. 6, she is set to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Jones was one of the people Ray Wood, president of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 14, recommended to introduce the president at the UAW Labor Day Celebration. After a vetting process that included a 25-minute phone interview, Jones learned she had the job of introducing the commander-in-chief.
“I thought that was a big deal and I about lost my mind,” she said in a phone interview from Charlotte. Then Jones learned she was to speak at the DNC. She flew into Charlotte on Sept. 5.
“That’s when I was on the ground for real,” she said with a laugh. Jones is set to speak at 7-7:30 p.m. However, things at the DNC are always changing, she said.
“There are people everywhere,” she said. “Nothing is set in stone. You never know till you get to that point.”
Jones has worked at Powertrain as a benefits representative and quality inspector for 27 years. In 2009, she was laid off, but kept her skills sharp and trained others in the down time.
At Scott High School, Jones said she was confident the auto jobs would come back. She was right — after 13 months and Obama’s auto rescue, Jones returned to work.
“We don’t sit around expecting handouts, but we expect our leaders to fight for us, and that’s exactly President Obama did,” Jones said on Labor Day.
The mother of two daughters said Obama seems “just like your next door neighbor.”
“He’s so personable. He just makes you feel so warm and welcome and comfortable,” Jones said
After Jones’ introduction, Obama praised her style to the roaring crowd
“I thought I heard some preaching going on there,” Obama said. “Kenyetta can talk, no doubt about it.”