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    Hillary Clinton’s Recent SF Visit Highlighted Youth Wisdom

    leslieThe old adage “out of the mouths of babes” was in full force recently at an event that Hillary Clinton’s campaign held at the Innovation Hangar. Although it was a fundraiser, the event was billed as a family event, with adults encouraged to bring their children of all ages. Our community’s own Miguel Bustos arranged catering, providing Mexican food enjoyed by all. There were games, play areas, and activities for everyone. The highlight, however, was when Hillary came out and said she would only entertain questions from the children.

    The cynicism began to dissipate, and the realization struck us all that our young people are far more aware of what is at stake in this election and what really matters to our country. The future we create will be left to these younger generations. The first question was from Gaby, age 9, who asked Hillary if she would raise the minimum wage. (Answer: yes.) The tone was set.

    Next up, 8-year-old Leo sweetly asked, “What will you do to keep gay people from getting kicked out of their jobs?” The place erupted in applause. Hillary responded that she is dedicated to passing laws to ensure that LGBT people have the same rights as everyone else. Third question: “What will you do to guarantee equal pay for equal work?” (Another 9-year-old.) Hillary responded that passing the Paycheck Fairness Act is crucial.


    At this point, Hillary added that she wanted youth journalists to cover all of her events. She remarked on the incredibly thoughtful and substantive tone of the questions. Bear in mind, the children were all seated in front with hands raised, and with no pre-set order for their interactions with Hillary. I am now very confident that if these kids are going to be running our country in the future, we are in good hands.

    The next question was about criminal justice reform. (Okay, perhaps there was some prodding beforehand from a few parents, but it did not feel staged or rehearsed, as these kids asked questions and listened intently to the answers.) Hillary replied that we must reform the criminal justice system and ensure that we fix the relationship between the police and those whom they are dedicated to protecting. She said she appreciates what Black Lives Matter is doing to bring to the forefront the problems in the criminal justice system.


    A teenager (age 14) then asked Hillary how she would help Syrian refugees. Hillary noted that we should not shut our doors to those in need of a safe place, and that we could undertake careful screening and vetting without eliminating important programs.

    On a lighter note, 9-year-old Noah asked Hillary if she ever makes the Secret Service people laugh. Then came the insightful question: “What will it feel like to be the first female President of the U.S.? Comments ensued regarding Hillary’s first job as an attorney at the Children’s Legal Defense Fund, where she was dedicated to helping kids and making schools better. Emma queried about how to get girls more involved in technology, and another question was asked regarding stopping ISIS. The presidential candidate answered by emphasizing that we should help those on the ground to take back territory, but not send in troops.

    Questions came in concerning climate change, oppression of girls, getting rid of cancer, and why Hillary is a democrat. A 4-year-old also chimed in with a question about how to drive a bus, and what makes buses go. Without missing a beat, Hillary asked him if he wanted to be a bus driver. He said yes, and then she talked about combustion engines!

    The evening showed not only how smart and inquisitive today’s kids and teens are, but also why we would be lucky to have Hillary as our next President. Her command of the critical issues facing us—coupled with her warmth, humor and compassion—make me even more ready for her.

    Leslie R. Katz is a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was the co-author of the City’s Equal Benefits Ordinance, has served on the SF Democratic County Central Committee (as Chair, and as a general member), and serves on the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board. She is an attorney with a government law, policy and strategy practice, with a focus on emerging technologies.

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