When I started Off The Sidelines, I did it to urge more women to raise their voices and speak out about the issues that matter to them. If we want the concerns and priorities of women to rise to the top of the national agenda, then we have to make sure that women’s voices are heard.
A big part of my Off The Sidelines campaign is to encourage women to run for office themselves, so we can have more women in positions of power at every level of government. For Off The Sidelines, this means supporting progressive women candidates running for office around the country, from State Senate to the U.S. Senate — and, of course, for President.
So this year, I couldn’t be more proud that Off The Sidelines is supporting my friend and mentor Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
As Hillary says:
“I’m going to fight until every little girl in America knows she can grow up to be anything she wants, even President of the United States.”
No one in the world more completely embodies the spirit of Off The Sidelines than Hillary Clinton. She has been raising her voice and fighting for women and families her entire career — from her work right out of law school at the Children’s Defense Fund, to her leadership in the fight to create the Children’s Insurance Program as First Lady, to her historic speech in Beijing declaring:
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”
Throughout her years as a U.S. Senator, her historic run for President in 2008, and then as President Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary has continued to fight these fights and inspire millions around the country and all over the world, calling the full participation of women and girls “the unfinished business of the 21st Century.” As she laid out her “Hillary Doctrine” in 2010, she made it clear:
“The United States has made empowering women and girls a cornerstone of our foreign policy, because women’s equality is not just a moral issue, it’s not just a humanitarian issue, it is not just a fairness issue; it is a security issue. It is a prosperity issue and it is a peace issue.”
I’ve been lucky to have women mentors throughout my life, each of whom played a big role in leading me on my path to public service. My grandmother showed me the power of women’s voices by organizing women in Albany to help elect candidates who shared their values. My extraordinary mother, who was one of only three women in her law school class, served as a professional role model for my friends and me.
But in my adult life, politically, no one has inspired me to get off the sidelines and truly make a difference more than Hillary Clinton has.
In my book — “Off The Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change The World” — I wrote that as a young girl, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I announced brazenly: “A Senator.” But for years, I suppressed that desire, and was even embarrassed to admit that I wanted to run for office. And then Hillary reignited in me that passion for public service.
In 1995, as a young corporate lawyer in New York City, I watched as Hillary gave that famous speech in Beijing, literally raising her voice on behalf of women and girls around the world. Hillary’s speech made me ask myself, “What am I doing to make the world a better place?” I wondered, why wasn’t I at that conference in Beijing? I knew that if I truly wanted to make a difference, I had to be involved in politics. I decided to join a women’s democratic group, and at my first event, Hillary was our speaker. She said,
“decisions are being made every day in Washington that impact you, and if you don’t like those decisions and the outcomes, and you’re not involved in making change, then you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Even though I was in the far back of the room, I felt as though she was speaking directly to me.
I got more involved in local races, and in 2000, when Hillary ran for the U.S. Senate, I was thrilled to support her. I raised money for her, I volunteered for her, and I spoke to friends and colleagues about her.
It was just a few years later that my husband Jonathan and I moved back to the Albany area, where I grew up, to prepare for my own run for office. I was lucky enough to receive guidance and mentorship from Hillary during that run, and was truly honored that President Bill Clinton campaigned for me in my first run for Congress in 2006.
So now, it’s my turn.
It’s my turn to raise my voice, to support the woman I believe is most qualified and most prepared to be President in 2016. I am so excited to support Hillary, not simply because she is a woman with the qualities, values, and experience we need to lead our nation, but because I know she will fight for all of us. I know Hillary will fight for the issues most important to me and to so many women and families all around the country, including
- raising wages and rebuilding the middle class
- protecting our communities from gun violence
- assuring every worker gets up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave
- fighting for the rights of women, from equal pay to the right of every woman to make her own health and reproductive decisions.
- bringing down the rates of student debt and working to achieve debt-free college
- protecting America and our allies from terrorism at home and abroad
So, to Democrats around the country, from Iowa to New Hampshire and beyond, I urge you to raise your own voices this year by voting for the person who shares your values and who will fight tirelessly for you and your family.
I know, for me, that candidate is Hillary Clinton.
Join Off The Sidelines and me by supporting Hillary today. Here’s how: