In less than two years, President Barack Obama will leave the White House — having reached the highest political mountaintop, twice. Twenty years ago, though, he hadn’t even entered politics yet and had no idea of the peaks his future would see.
A letter written in 1995 by Obama for his half-brother, Malik Obama in Kenya, was recently sold with a copy of a manuscript of the president’s first book, “Dreams From My Father.” In it, Obama expressed a very early interest in possibly running for office — something he would do at the state, then federal level before becoming commander-in-chief.
“Some colleagues of mine here have talked me into running for the Illinois State Senate (like being an MP for a province),” Obama wrote to Malik in July 1995, before his political career began. “I have agreed, since I have an interest in politics to deal with some serious issues blacks face here.”
The letter, detailed by the New York Post, gives readers a glimpse of some of Obama’s core principles at a time he likely wasn’t even thinking about going to Washington, D.C. Obama started his political career as a state senator in Illinois — a part-time job unlike its full-time federal counterpart.
“Anyway, if I win it will only be a part-time post, and I will continue my work as a lawyer,” he acknowledged.
One theme of the president’s two decades old letter is a desire to improve the lives of black Americans — an issue he was fully aware of permeating his ancestral homeland of Kenya.
Obama also talked of the first lady, whose mother had died later that year.
“Michelle is fine, also busy with her work,” he wrote. “My mom’s health has been stabilized for now, but she is by no means cured and continues to undergo extensive treatment.”
At the letter’s end, Obama acknowledges his brother’s new marriage.
“Man, I must say you don’t fool around!” he quipped.
An anonymous collector purchased Malik’s letter, but it wasn’t reported how much it sold for. Malik has previously sold two other handwritten letters from Obama for $15,000 each, the Post report said.
The president will travel to Kenya next month for an official visit, to attend the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit — which he launched in 2009, to facilitate innovation and improve bilateral relations between Africa and the U.S. government.