More About the Author
John Presta, the son of Italian-born immigrants, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois on March 3, 1953. John was born and raised in Chicago in the community known as Taylor Street and at the age of two his family moved to the Garfield Rodge community which is located near Midway Airport. At the time, Midway Airport was the "busiest airport in the world." Mayor Richard J. Daley was the mayor of Chicago when John was growing up and John vividly recalls that Daley was a revered figure in Chicago and a beloved politician.
But John's excitement for politics began in 1960 when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President of the United States. JFK, as he was known, was young, energetic and full of new ideas and proposed a new frontier to the American people. It was this inspiration that brought out John's passion for politics. It was then John decided he was a Democrat. John recalls the assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963 as if it were yesterday.
During the following years John's passion for politics remained, but in the back of his mind he was looking for another JFK. That figure appeared in the form of JFK's brother Bobby and John hoped that Bobby would run for President. When Lyndon Baines Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that he would not seek reelection, the stage was set for Bobby to assume the Presidency.
Again, another assassins bullet ended the dream.
But on March 7, 2000, John met an obscure state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama and John was again struck by a thunderbolt. John knew instantly that Barack Obama was special and something inside told him this man would one day become President of the United States. And from that day forward, John, with his wife Michelle and 300 volunteers pursued this dream until Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.
The book, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots, was the culmination of a dream for John, not only seeing this man Obama become elected President of the United States of America, but also fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing a book.
He and his wife Michelle are community organizers and leaders. When the campaign asked, he volunteered in Barack Obama's 2000 Congressional campaign. He had extensive contact with Obama and his campaign workers and organized three hundred volunteers at a critical campaign moment. He expanded those activities during Obama's 2004 Senate race. He worked at several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, in such positions as typesetter, reporter, circulation manager, and ad sales. He is currently working on his next book in the Mr. & Mrs. Grassroots series.