Placer student headed to inauguration

Placer High freshman hopeful for Donald Trump presidency
By: Michael Mott, Reporter
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Lexy Ashford, a Placer High School freshman, was selected to attend the inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump on January 20.

She’s predictably excited.

“I feel like it will open my mind up. It’s a once in-a-lifetime chance,” Ashford, 14, said at her North Auburn home. “I’m hoping to learn more about politics and meet cool people for connections for when I’m older and to see how the world works so I can contribute to it someday.”

Ashford leaves on Jan. 18 for a conference, the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit, with speakers including Malala Yousafzai, Colin Powell, Spike Lee and Carly Fiorina. She will then attend the inauguration and an exclusive gala to follow.

The election was the first Ashford’s followed. She said the campaign was challenging.

“It was a crazy election. It was hard at school. My family are big Trump supporters. At school, young kids only believe what they see on social media. But I argued back, because I know the truth and was happy Trump got elected.”

Trump wasn’t Ashford’s first choice, she said, having attended a Marco Rubio breakfast, but overall she feels Trump will do great things for the country.

Ashford has had success for much of her life so far. She was valedictorian of her class at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and has won several medals in competitive swimming, including three golds at the Junior Olympics.

While she’s spent much of her first year getting into classes at Placer, she’s looking to join the Dead Poet Society English club and is interested in pursuing a degree in English, law or journalism. She enjoys writing and reading in her spare time. 

Her journey to the inauguration began in sixth grade. Her English teacher, Don Marsolias, recommended she attend the Young Leaders of America conference, where she learned how to run a business.

Last year, organizers of that conference called Ashford’s mother and encouraged Lexy to apply. Twenty were selected of 200 attendees. At the conference she’s attending next week, she’ll focus on learning about Women in Power and Medicine in Foreign Countries.

Ashford’s participated in several March on the Capitol events, meeting Jerry Brown and other governors through her grandmother’s nonprofit foundation, Crime Victims United of California. Ashford has spoken at several of the events.

Harriet Salarno, Ashford’s grandmother, is very proud. So is her mom, Nina Salarno Besselman, who was a delegate for Trump at the Republican National Convention.


“The whole family’s so excited. She’s had success no matter what she’s done,” Harriet said. “We’re very grateful for her sixth grade teacher.”