US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the National Bar Association's 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When Bill Clinton, then leading the Democratic Governors Association, addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference back in the late 1980s, he told us, "You really should have invited my wife Hillary. She's the one with the real connection to Israel." In fact, one of her early connections to Israel was through the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, or HIPPY, a preschool education program created by Hebrew University that guides parents in being their children's first teachers. As first lady of Arkansas, she brought HIPPY to the state and dramatically improved the preschool environment in Arkansas, Bill said.
But, Hillary Clinton - with a long commitment to education - didn't stop with Arkansas. She joined forces with the National Council of Jewish Women to bring the HIPPY program to other states as well.
It's just one example of Hillary Clinton's longtime dedication to progressive causes and leveling the playing field for every citizen, beginning in college when she worked with Wellesley's African-American students to recruit black students and faculty, continuing in law school when she volunteered at New Haven Legal Services in Connecticut, and later when she became an advocate for abused and neglected children.
Clinton was the first woman to chair the Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit that provides funding for legal assistance to low-income families and individuals.
Her deep and sustained commitment to education, health care, civil rights, women's issues, and social and economic justice coupled with her understanding of what it will take to provide hoped-for opportunity to families and neighborhoods throughout America make her the most qualified person to lead our nation.
She believes that all Americans, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, deserve economic security and opportunity. She has fought for access to health care as a basic human right and believes that every child in America should be given the opportunity to live up to his or her potential.
In a courageous political act as first lady of the United States, Clinton stood up in Beijing to condemn human rights abuses, particularly of women, and memorably and powerfully declared that "women's rights are human rights." In that speech, she forcefully linked women's issues to economic security and prosperity: "As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world -- as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes -- the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized." At home, Clinton is still fighting that battle, working to break down barriers that hold down American families.
As senator, she defended women's reproductive rights, repeatedly co-sponsored legislation to end racial profiling, called mandatory sentencing guidelines "indefensible" and co-sponsored the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007, which would eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing for first-time crack cocaine possession.
Clinton introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act and was an original co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, original co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, and authored the 2006 and 2007 Standing with Minimum Wage Act to tie congressional salary increases to an increase in the minimum wage.
As secretary of state, Clinton launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition of 37 countries working to reduce methane emissions, and appointed a special envoy for climate change to advise on international climate policy and strategy.
Hillary Clinton's progressive record is clear and strong, and as president, she will continue on a progressive path.
Her agenda will include revitalizing the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind, providing every child in America with a world-class education, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, tackling disparities in health and nutrition, and fighting for environmental justice.
As she did in the Senate, Clinton will support initiatives to help spur small-business development, invest in youth employment, and support reentry for those formerly incarcerated, recognizing that these are all ways to lift families economically and in turn whole communities.
She will continue her call to raise the minimum wage and boost overtime rules, reform the tax code to ensure that the rich pay their fair share and explore ways to build on the Affordable Care Act.
Clinton's commitments and accomplishments embody the biblical injunction, "tzedek, tzedek tirdof" - "justice, justice shall thou pursue" - and she will apply that globally as well, from fighting climate change and poverty worldwide to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a two-state solution.
Clinton's breadth of experience, from college through her tenure as secretary of state, at home and on the global stage, is unmatched, making her the best choice for progressive voters and for all Americans to be the next president of the United States.Amb. Alan D. Solomont (ret.) is a former US ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Steve Grossman is the former Treasurer of Massachusetts.