My Support of Hillary Clinton and My Role as a Superdelegate

I have been asked in the course of the campaign season two questions: why do I support Hilary Clinton; and how could I, as a superdelegate, favor her instead of waiting to see how my district votes and then vote that way?

The answer why I support Hillary Clinton is simple. From my first contact with her, campaigning for Darlene Hooley in Corvallis, Oregon, I’ve been impressed with her as a person, not just as a politician or a public figure. She can not only lead the Democratic Party as the nominee, but more important, she has the capacity to be an outstanding president able to withstand the day to day pressures under fire, to assemble a talented administration of hundreds of people in a matter of weeks, and have the stamina and the judgment to follow through. From my vantage point, it’s not even a close call. It’s about being president, not just being a candidate.

I’ve written about that decision in greater detail for people who want to understand more fully the position I’ve taken.

Some ask why I don’t just wait to see how my district votes, and then vote. I have always respected information from my constituents, but felt my job is to provide leadership, rather than to wait to see which way the wind is blowing. I’ve tried to make the best decisions informed by my experience and judgment.

My leadership position in the Democratic Party gives me more than a vote, but an opportunity to help lead. I take that role seriously. Some may sit back and let campaigns unfold, but I’ve made it a point to be involved early in the nominating process.

In the critical 2004 election, I didn’t wait to see which way the wind was blowing in Oregon or any place else. I felt John Kerry had the best qualifications and provided the best contrast with George Bush. I endorsed him when he was fourth in the polls and went to Iowa to campaign for him in a very cold January.

In the 2008 election, I was one of the earliest supporters of Barack Obama. I knew and respected Hillary Clinton and thought it was a close but clear call. I helped mobilize other superdelegates for Obama, and I campaigned for him, not just all over Oregon but in other parts of the country.

I think it is an important principle that Democrats determine who leads our Party, while welcoming everybody’s vote in the general election. While Hillary Clinton may not have the largest rallies, she is garnering the most support: more wins, more votes, more delegates. In the final analysis, however, it’s not that she won more votes or more states. The most important reason for my support is that Hillary Clinton would be the best president.

Over the years, I’ve watched public opinion shift on candidates and issues. When I first opposed the war in Iraq, there was strong support for the war, even in my district. I’ve watched on issues like capital punishment and marijuana reform, where public opinion changes, shifting one way or other.

The ultimate test of an elected official, and what I owe my constituents, is making those difficult decisions to the best of my ability, regardless of which way the wind is blowing. As long as people continue to demonstrate their trust in me to exercise leadership through their vote, that’s what I’ll do.

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