Local leaders in and around Madison, Wisconsin are seeking to rename the main county government building after former President Barack Obama — “the JFK of our generation.”
The seven-story building is currently called the City-County Building. It’s a gray, soul-crushing, Brutalist slab of concrete. Inside the dreary, Soviet apartment-style exterior walls — originally erected in 1956 — are administrative offices and a jail.
“Barack Obama was the JFK of our generation,” County Executive Joe Parisi said on Thursday, according to The Capital Times, a Madison newspaper.
“He deserves to be honored, and he deserves to be recognized, not only for his accomplishments, but for his commitment to civil discourse and respect, both for those with whom he agreed and for those with whom he disagreed,” Parisi also said as he stood for a press conference and a photo op in front of the dispiriting cement edifice brimming with bureaucracy.
Al Matano, a member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors and the man who first proposed naming the building after Obama, also spoke at the press conference.
“This is reference in large measure to the fact that President Obama visited this building — as far as we know the only president who ever did,” Matano said, according to the Cap Times. “And he visited Madison numerous times.”
Matano suggested that renaming the City-County Building after Obama would be a tribute to Obama’s eight “totally scandal-free” years, the “style and grace with which he served.”
Parisi added that he thinks naming the structure in honor of Obama is a way to demonstrate the values of the Madison community and of Dane County.
“When you look at Dane County and Madison and the overwhelming support for President Obama that was displayed not only in election results but in the numerous times he came here, the massive crowds who turned out to see him, I think this is a fitting gesture,” the county executive said, according to the Cap Times.