We urge our members and retirees to cast their vote for Hillary Clinton in the April 19 Democratic primary in New York.
Clinton is arguably the most qualified candidate for U.S. President in modern times. Throughout her long career in public service, she has always been a stalwart friend of labor, including our union.
We do appreciate the personal integrity of Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic race, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
His deep commitment to working people is unwavering. We credit him with putting economic inequality at the center of our national political discourse. But we believe Clinton is the stronger candidate because of her greater experience and electability.
In their debates, Clinton and Sanders have engaged in a substantive and civil discussion of such issues as tax fairness, health care, the minimum wage, Social Security and U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. Their debates reflect the best of our democracy with its encouragement of a respectful exchange of ideas.
We cannot say the same about the Republicans.
The GOP candidates’ anti-immigrant hysteria, religious zealotry, sexism and misogyny, saber rattling, authoritarianism, support of tax breaks for the wealthy and crude personal attacks are a big turnoffs. We feel the election of billionaire Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz would be a disaster at home and abroad.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a District Council 37 event. Photo by Clarence Elie-Rivera
Our national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and DC 37 have worked closely with Clinton for decades. When she was first lady in Washington, D.C., Clinton welcomed AFSCME’s input as she led the effort to develop the Clinton administration’s health-care plan.
As senator, Clinton supported key issues of concern to DC 37 members and poor and middle-class New Yorkers.
After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Clinton pressed the Bush administration to commit $20 billion to rebuild Ground Zero and the surrounding area. She made sure the federal government provided the necessary funds for the health care of the first responders and workers assigned to the cleanup.
Clinton has championed children’s and women’s issues since she finished her higher education at Wellesley College and Yale Law School. After her graduation from Yale, she chose not to go to work at an elite law firm but instead sought a job at the Children’s Defense Fund.
She later served as a lawyer on a Congressional subcommittee investigating President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal, which forced him to resign from office.
As the first lady in Arkansas, she worked on improving health care and education. Before her husband became governor, she taught law and ran legal clinics representing poor people.
After the 2008 financial meltdown, Clinton supported reforms to curb banking practices that were at the root of the financial and housing crises. The reforms require banks to hold more assets as a cushion against failure, allow the government to break up big banks that pose a risk to the financial system, and provide consumer protections, including steps against predatory mortgage lending.
Clinton is a progressive on economic issues and public policies that are important to union members. She is in favor of:
● reducing the interest charged to college students and investing $350 billion so they do not have to pay tuition at public colleges in their states;
● raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour while backing state and city efforts to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour;
● closing the “carried interest” tax loophole, which allows hedge fund managers to have investment earnings taxed at a lower rate than that of ordinary income, and
● increasing government investment in infrastructure and scientific research.
Believing that raising the income of workers is the defining economic challenge facing the nation, Clinton will address the growing class divide in the United States. She believes in a government that dedicates its efforts to improve the lives of working families.
A vote for the candidate who would be the first woman to lead our country is a vote for a better future. In the Democratic primary on April 19, we hope New York voters help secure Clinton’s nomination for president of the United States.
This editorial is from the April issue of Public Employee Press, DC 37 official publication.