I’ve been a fan of Hillary’s for over 20 years.
I was born and raised in West Jordan, Utah when it was wide open wheat fields. My brothers and I spent out days playing in the fields with our neighbors’ horses and running through all of the old barns and chicken coops in the area. I attended West Jordan Elementary, Middle, and High School. I graduated early from high school at 17 and took off to the East Coast because I knew there was a world beyond Utah that they weren’t telling me about. I felt like I’d been living in a bubble and I wanted to break out.
Hillary had an influence in my life even then. I knew she had attended an all-women’s college so I also chose to attend an all-women’s college. I attended Wells College in upstate New York and she attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
Upon my arrival to Wells College in the fall of 1993 I joined the campus’ college democrats and I quickly learned that as a self-described liberal girl from Utah I was much more moderate to conservative compared to the women of the east coast.
In 1995 I was the runner up for my college’s delegation to go to the 4th World Conference on Women hosted by the United Nations in Beijing, China. After working in Washington, D.C. that summer for PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network, a nonprofit in D.C. focused on preparing college women for leadership in the public policy arena, I missed out on going to Beijing because my travel visa didn’t arrive in time. At that conference Hillary Clinton, was the First Lady of the United States at that time and she gave the speech, Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, which is listed as one of the top speeches by American Rhetoric’s Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century. In that influential speech she said, “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech at that time in 1995 is credited as a significant turning point in the discussion of women’s rights as basic equal rights not preferential treatment.
Fast forward two decades and I am now fully realizing just how much she has influenced my life. 15 years ago I found myself a single mom overnight with two young children and my path took a dramatically different path than I had imagined. I signed up for food stamps, Medicaid, and WIC. I was on state assistance for two years while I got back on my feet. Then I went to work. Working two to three jobs at a time for the last 10 years to provide for my family.
As I look back there are several programs that Hillary Clinton advocated for that directly helped my little family during the scariest times of our lives.