By GREGORY N. HEIRES
Former President Bill Clinton received a boisterous welcome from the crowd when he arrived at the rally to urge activists to help Hillary Clinton to win in the primary.
“You will never have a better chance to vote for a change maker in your lifetime,” Clinton said. As a former senator representing New York and former U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is the most experienced and qualified candidate in the presidential race, he said.
District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido recalled how as senator, Clinton worked to secure assistance from the federal government in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Throughout her tenure as senator, DC 37 could always count on her support, Garrido said.
“No one is more prepared to be president than Hillary Clinton,” said Lee Saunders, president of DC 37’s parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has dispatched political activists around the country to get out the vote in Democratic primary elections and caucuses.
“We know she is tenacious,” Saunders said. “She never backs down in a fight.”
Bill Clinton underscored his wife’s commitment to public employees and the vital services they provide, and he spoke of her support of health care, Wall Street reforms, paid family leave, child care, and a plan to reduce the interest on the existing student loans and allow future students to graduate without debt.
He noted that taking into account inflation, 80 percent of workers have not received a raise since the economic crash in the late 2000s. He said Hillary Clinton is dedicated to addressing the persistent wage stagnation and growing inequality since then.
Alfredo Williams, a member of Lifeguard Supervisors Local 508, said he regards Clinton as more qualified than the other presidential candidates. “She is very capable of dealing with international affairs,” he said.
Marilyn Steeps, a Clerical Associate 3, described herself as a long-time supporter of Clinton. She said she was impressed by the sincerity of Clinton, recalling that Clinton visited her church while running for senator and returned to thank the congregation after she won.
“This is part of history that is being made,” Steeps said about for Clinton, who will, of course, be the first woman president in the United States if she wins the election.