Greensburg mayor to be guest of the Obamas'

GREENSBURG — Two-and-a-half years ago, the idea that he would ever attend a White House Christmas party would have been unthinkable to Mayor Bob Dixson.

But as with everything, the May 4, 2007, tornado that nearly wiped out the town changed all that.

Dixson learned earlier this month that he and his wife, Ann, would be invited to President Obama's Christmas reception at the White House.

Dixson says he's humbled at the "extreme honor" the invitation carries. And, he's excited to have the opportunity to represent Greensburg, Kiowa County and southwest Kansas in Washington.

"It is the citizens of Greensburg and Kiowa County who are being recognized by the White House with this invitation," Dixson said. "This is a tremendous opportunity to represent them."

The Dixsons will fly to Washington, D.C., today and attend the Christmas reception Monday before returning to Greensburg on Tuesday.

This will be Bob Dixson's second trip to Washington at the request of President Obama. In February, he was invited to sit in first lady Michelle Obama's box during the president's address to a joint session of Congress.

City Administrator Steve Hewitt was invited to sit in Laura Bush's box during then-President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in January 2008. Bush also made two visits to Greensburg.

"Seeing that two different administrations have been interested in what is happening in Greensburg kind of shows that what we're doing here transcends politics," Dixson said. "It's about hope and good news and community. It's about our story."

Dixson also plans to meet with the Kansas congressional delegation to talk about bringing more green jobs to the region.