By Madina Toure
Former President Bill Clinton called his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “world-class change maker” at an organizing event he held with U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in downtown Flushing Tuesday morning.
Speaking before roughly 300 people, Clinton reminded the audience that after his wife graduated from Yale Law School, she helped register Mexican-American voters and instead of joining a big law firm where she could be making a lot of money, she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund in Massachusetts. She then moved to Arkansas, where she taught and led legal clinics representing disenfranchised individuals, he said.
He also touted her role in the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, a program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that she supported when he was president. He also cited her vote for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 while she was a U.S. senator from New York.
Clinton also noted her support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act introduced in 2015 and her desire to increase the number of small businesses.
“The reason Hillary ought to be president is that she’s a world-class change maker,” he said. “She may not be the best talker—although I think she’s pretty good—but I know this.”
He also said Hillary and her Democratic primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), have had “a very elevated and fierce debate about the issues facing America” compared to the Republican presidential candidates.
But he rejected the notion that only Hillary is part of the Washington establishment, saying that “they (Hillary and Bernie) voted together 93 percent of the time.”
Meng introduced Clinton. Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan, a former figure skater who now works for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), also spoke in support of the candidate.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour