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My Turn: Time is right for President Hillary

Last modified: 10/10/2014 12:39:56 AM
With our first-in-the-nation presidential primary about 16 months away, it seems there are plenty of potential candidates already coming to New Hampshire to test the waters, most on the Republican side.

As a Democrat who cares deeply about the need for continued progressive leadership in Washington, I have for the first time made the decision to back a candidate even before that person has decided to run. I have done that because I believe there is one Democrat who has the forward-looking progressive ideas that the country and the world need during the challenging times we will face in the coming years. That is why I am for Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, I was an early supporter of President Obama, not because I was opposed to Clinton, but because I thought the time was right for what Obama had to offer. And today I feel the time is right for what Clinton has to offer, and can do for our country.

As first lady, a U.S. senator and secretary of state, Clinton has spoken out in the most forceful of terms for women’s rights as human rights. Her courageous speech in Beijing as first lady enunciating that powerful ideal has been backed again and again by her actions. When you have been a champion for women to speak freely, attain an education, own property, have equal chances for a full and rewarding life no matter where you are born in the world, you are speaking for the future of a powerful and progressive planet.

When you work as hard as Hillary has in promoting health insurance for children through the CHIP program or for her own groundbreaking work in the early years of the Clinton administration on universal coverage, you have spoken volumes about your personal commitment to full health coverage. In doing that, she, like Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, helped pave the way for the breakthrough that occurred with the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Millions in this country and tens of thousands in New Hampshire now have health coverage thanks to that important law and the decades of tireless work that laid the foundation for this principle of progressive public policy.

Finally the body of work that Clinton supported to address disparity speaks to her deep commitment to working and middle-class families. By championing an increase in the minimum wage, her opposition to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and support of middle-class tax improvements, her opposition to abusive lending practices, her work on reforming student loan programs with a Student Borrower Bill of Rights and a host of other policies, she has not only spoken to but worked on those policies that would move all our citizens closer to realizing a full life for themselves and their families.

Is there more work to be done? Of course there is. There are many issues and challenges that the next president will face when Obama’s term is over. One thing I believe strongly is that if she decides to run, no one will need to push Hillary Clinton to take actions that will be true to the progressive traditions of the Democratic Party. She has lived that tradition, and I have no doubt will continue to do so as president of the United States.



(Ned Helms, who co-chaired President Obama’s New Hampshire campaigns, is a former state Democratic Party chairman and candidate for governor.)


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