Leslie A.

I’m a native Arizonan. I was born and raised here. My parents are very involved in our community, and they’ve raised my brother and me to be involved in our community, too. They taught us that the best thing you can do in this world is to take whatever education or skills you have and give back to other people.

When I graduated from college, I had no plan. I knew I wanted to go to medical school, but I didn’t know what to do with the time in between. I’ve always been pushed by this love of science and interest in the human body and medicine and caring for others. When the opportunity came up to go to work on President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, I took it. That experience eventually opened the door to an internship in the first lady’s office and a job working in health policy in the Obama administration. Each one of those jobs took me out of my comfort zone and threw me some steep learning curves. Now I’m back in Arizona and I just started medical school.

There are some really high stakes right now in this election. The next president will have the power to make or break the Affordable Care Act. And I think what you’re seeing more and more now is that there are these inequalities that have always been there that are now widening and becoming more prominent. Instead of making progress, in some ways, I think it’s like we’re regressing, because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and middle class America is still getting it from every side. Women have come a long way, but we still don’t get the same kind of support men do.

I think a lot of the problems we have as a country stem from education — from not investing enough in early education, and not compensating teachers appropriately for the work that they do, and not having the right support systems in place for students working their way through school. All of those things are driving inequality, but in spite of that, in Arizona, our governor proposed this kind of absurd legislation to essentially defund public higher education.

I support Hillary Clinton because she has a long-standing tradition of fighting for women’s rights and I admire her immensely for that. I think she has done an amazing job of showing the world just how powerful and smart and strong women can be, while at the same time empowering other women and lifting other women up. She has served the most out of anybody who is running currently, and I think is by far the most qualified candidate. She has a lot of experience working with Congress, she did a tremendous job as our secretary of state, and she has a great capacity to work with other people in a way that I just don’t see in the other candidates.

I also think she is somebody whose feet are firmly on the ground and who understands what we can actually accomplish over the next eight years. I think she aspires to more, as all of us should, but that she has a really good sense of what we can actually get done in the current political climate. And I think she has a really strong belief in the American dream and the American people.

She is way ahead of her time and always has been. I was too young to really remember it myself, but I know now that in the 90s she was ridiculed for being an educated, opinionated, strong woman. But in spite of that, she did her own thing and fought for what she thought was important. And even in the face of all of that criticism and adversity, she laid the groundwork for what became this really critical health care legislation in this country.

And for my candidate, I want someone with that experience, who knows exactly what to do and how to get things done, because the stakes for people are so high. In medicine, a misdiagnosis, or an incomplete history or physical, or an improperly-ordered test could mean life or death for a patient. In medicine, like in politics, you want someone who knows what they’re doing, who’s going to do the right thing for you, and empower you with the best information available to decide what’s right for you. And politics, like in medicine, if you get something right, that can really make the difference in someone’s life.

So, yes, #ImWithHer

-As told to #ShesWithUs

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