President Barack Obama won’t be Bud Billiken’s Grand Marshal, but he's sending someone from his camp in his place.
Michael Strautmanis, deputy assistant to the president and counselor for strategic engagement to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, is scheduled to attend the 83rd annual “Back to School” parade on Saturday.
Obama designated Strautmanis as surrogate grand marshal after a campaign source announced in late June that the president was unable to attend because of scheduling limitations. A campaign source told Ward Room the Obama campaign would still have a strong presence at the event.
Obama said he’s disappointed he isn't able to serve as Grand Marshal but said he's "delighted" one of his closest friends has agreed to serve in his place.
“I have been a longtime supporter of and have the utmost respect for the work the Charities do to promote education during the Bud Billiken Parade and year round,” Obama said in a statement.
This year would have marked Obama's second run as grand marshal of the long-running South Side parade. In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama marshaled the parade.
The parade steps off at 10 a.m. from 39th Street and travels south along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive to 51st Street and into Washington Park.