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My Turn: With Clinton, we can continue what we started in 2009

For the Monitor
Last modified: 1/29/2016 11:57:06 PM
When President Obama delivered his first inaugural address in 2009, he catalogued the challenges facing our country and tried to set expectations that it would take time to fully recover from the problems we confronted: “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are . . . serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.”

While significant progress has been made, the work is not yet complete. As someone who was born and raised in New Hampshire and worked in the Obama administration, I believe that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who is both committed to President Obama’s agenda and capable of executing it.

Our country is far better off than it was on that day in January seven years ago. More Americans now have health care than at any time in our history. Our economy has made a remarkable recovery. We have seen an unprecedented streak of private-sector job growth and significant reductions in unemployment. New banking regulations exist to help avoid another financial meltdown. Our standing in the world is enhanced, and we are confronting our adversaries through cooperation with partners and the smart use of force.

As the president predicted, not all of our challenges are resolved. We need more time pursuing his approach to government. The war in Iraq and poor governance in many parts of the region have created a menacing terrorist network. Obamacare, for all of its accomplishments, has a way to go before it has the full confidence of the American people and truly bends the cost curve in our health care system. While our economy is rebounding, its resurgence is not always being felt across Main Street. There is too much money influencing our politics.

November will determine whether we build upon the progress President Obama has instituted and prevent it from being setback. Who best represents that position for Democrats in the general election is the urgent question before primary voters.

As someone who was barely 30 when President Obama was inaugurated, I was shocked by the immediate, vehement opposition of the other party. That this opposition persistently existed in the face of the historic election in 2008 amidst crises at home and abroad leads me to believe that the Democratic nominee must be someone who not only shares our values – broad-based economic growth, a clean environment, a foreign policy infused with strength and humility, and the elimination of discrimination in all of its forms – but is also able to successfully execute this agenda while being confronted by those constantly seeking its demise.

New Hampshire Democratic primary voters are fortunate to have their leading candidates be Sen. Sanders and Secretary Clinton. They are both dedicated to President Obama’s agenda. Given this equal commitment, who among them can better ensure the continued implementation of President Obama’s policies?

I support Secretary Clinton because I believe she is the stronger candidate to continue what President Obama started. She has dedicated her life to strengthening our country – at home and abroad, and through service to two branches of our government. Her values echo what President Obama has worked tirelessly for since 2009. More than her primary opponent, she has proven how to navigate Washington in order to get things done. She is clear-eyed about how to make the machine of government work and possesses strong relationships in both parties. She will, therefore, be better able to seamlessly continue President Obama’s agenda and make modifications as events warrant. I also believe her time in the president’s administration will make her a stronger president than if she had been elected in 2008 and that the important issues Sen. Sanders has raised in this campaign will make her policies more effective.

After observing Washington for the past seven years, New Hampshire voters soon have an opportunity to make a statement about which candidate shares President Obama’s vision and has the better ability to preserve it in our capital’s current climate.

As our nominee, Secretary Clinton will draw a historic contrast in November and position our country to continue what was started on that cold, sunny day in January 2009.

(Mike Beland, a 1997 graduate of Oyster 
River High School in Durham, is a former member of the Obama administration, where he served as a chief of staff and counselor at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He teaches at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @beland_mike.)


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