By Donna Segreti Reilly
Before watching the Democratic National Convention (DNC), I knew that Hillary Rodham Clinton was the First Lady of Arkansas and the United States, and that she led the fight for universal health care but lost. I did NOT know, however, that she worked with Republicans and Democrats to help create the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has provided health coverage to more than 8 million children and cut the uninsured rate for children in half.
I also knew that Hillary was Senator of New York for 6 years and Secretary of State. I also knew that in 1995 at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, against many people’s advice, she declared, “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”
I didn’t realize, however, that Hillary Rodham Clinton, following her Methodist mandate to “Do good to all the people you can…,” was active in her Church youth group and got to see Dr. Martin Luther King speak in Chicago. This event sparked her lifelong passion for social justice.
In addition, while in law school, Hillary worked a summer job researching the education and health of migrant farm workers and their children and registered voters in Texas. After law school, Hillary worked for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). She went door-to-door in New Bedford, MA, gathering stories about the lack of schooling for children with disabilities. This led to legislation requiring the state to provide quality education for students with disabilities. With the CDF, she worked in South Carolina to separate young boys who had been housed in prisons with older male inmates. In Arkansas, Hillary co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. All these things I did not know about Hillary Clinton.
This commitment to public service and fighting for others—especially children and families–has stayed with Hillary Clinton throughout her life.
One big thing I didn’t know about Hillary Clinton was that, as New York Senator, she went down to the Twin Towers area after the 09-11-01 terrorist attacks to see for herself the impact upon first responders and the city as a whole. Hillary pushed the Bush administration to secure $20 billion to rebuild New York and fought to provide health care for responders who were at Ground Zero. She worked across the aisle to expand TRICARE, giving members of the Reserves and National Guard and their families better access to health care.
I also didn’t know that Hillary Clinton helped to expand broadband to remote rural areas and small towns in New York. Via her “Farm-to-Fork” initiative, she helped NY farmers and producers sell their products to NY’s restaurants, schools, colleges, and universities.
As Secretary of State, Hillary built a coalition for tough new sanctions against Iran that brought them to the negotiating table. However, I only learned that Hillary Clinton brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that ended a war and protected Israel’s security. Former Republican Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Hillary Clinton “ran the State Department in the most effective way that I’ve ever seen.”
All of these things, I didn’t know about Hillary Clinton. What I did learn, however, is that Hillary is a person who researches, does her homework, and gets things done. She’s not a quitter. She’s a troubleshooter. She’s a problem-solver, not a bomb thrower.
On that note, I fear for our country and its impact on the world if Donald Trump becomes President of the United States. Aside from his open denigration of women, Muslims, journalists with disabilities, and immigrants; Trump has a history of bankruptcies, lawsuits, and pulling out and not paying contractors who’ve undertaken his projects in New Jersey and elsewhere.
What scares me most, however, is that Trump has proposed further tax cuts for big corporations and reductions in regulations, including labor regulations. He plans to make the American workforce “competitive with Mexico and China” by paying our workers less and less, like workers in Mexico, China, Bangladesh, Turkey, etc.—where most of HIS products are made. If workers strike, he’ll let factories close and will bring the low-paying jobs to low wage, non-union states until all workers will take any job at any pay scale. (“The Detroit News,” 8/15, “Trump suggests moving some car production from Michigan.”)
Trump has also said, “I think a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” (“The Washington Times,” 8/15) In 11/15, “The New York Times” reported “Donald Trump Insists That Wages Are Too High.”) All this when people working full time are having a hard time putting food on the table, paying their utilities, and educating their kids. At the same time, however, there’s no mention of tremendous profits not being taxed due to loopholes and inversions stashing profits in off shore tax havens. Note, Mr. Trump still has failed to publicize his tax report. Clearly, Donald Trump does not have the best interests of American workers at heart.
Background and experience matter to me when I consider voting for someone. From a review of her background, I know that Hillary Clinton will continue to effect positive change through investment in new, good-paying jobs, college financing reform, and better rules for corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, share their profits with their employees and ship fewer jobs and profits overseas. I believe that Hillary Clinton will continue to “put families first and make sure our policies match how you actually work and live in the 21st Century.” (Hillary Clinton)
Hillary has earned my vote. I hope you will consider the facts of this article and vote for her too. For those interested in working on the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, go to hillaryclinton.com or contact Tino Capobianco here in Winthrop at [email protected] or 617-620-6549.
Donna Segreti Reilly is a community activist who’s been involved in several Democratic campaigns.