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SoCal Ceremony Creates 7,000 New U.S. Citizens, Includes Some From Central, South Coasts

It may be a rocky time in Washington, D.C., and people may be torn by the controversy surrounding the impeachment proceedings. But, it hasn’t stopped many people from wanting to become Americans. Southern California has more than 7000 new citizens, following a huge citizenship ceremony. Among the newly naturalized citizens are some from the Central and South Coasts.

Wednesday was a big day for Gioconda Olsen. In fact, it was one of the biggest of Olsen’s life. It was the day she officially became a U.S. citizen. Olsen was originally from Italy. Her husband, Vent, was from Denmark. But, they’ve lived in Solvang for more than a half century. Vent became a U.S. citizen in the 1970’s, but Gioconda made the move now because the law changed so she could have dual citizenship. She was one of more than 7,000 people took part in two citizenship ceremonies at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

They included a number of people from the Central and South Coasts, like Susan Glazebrook of Ojai. She was preparing to apply for a renewal of her green car, but decided since she’s been paying taxes for years, she also wanted to get the right to vote. Glazebrook is originally from New Zealand, but has lived in the U.S. for decades. She decided it was time to become a citizen.

She says the 100 question test took a lot of studying.  While they are the type of question you would find in a basic middle school civics class, many people who grew up here would be hard pressed to answer them.  But, Glazebrook says the process has led her to want more about our government system.

One of the Ventura County woman’s big motivations is to have a say about what’s happening right now in Washington. D.C.  She wasted no time after taking the oath of allegiance to get set up to vote.  They had voter registration on site.

Glazebrook admits actually going through the formal process of becoming a U.S. citizen was a stirring event.  She says after going through the ceremony with people from all over the world who were all becoming citizens, it was impossible not to cry.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.