It’s Beyond Just a “Woman” Thing

Jewelyn Cosgrove is a lobbyist working in Washington, DC, and a veteran of Republican campaigns in Colorado, Louisiana, and Michigan. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University and a bachelors in political science and international development from Tulane University. She is a proud working mom, an advocate for suicide prevention, and a consultant helping employees craft meaningful parental leave plans.

Dear Fellow Republicans,

After this weekend’s revelations, you may feel deflated. You are faced with voting for a man who doesn’t represent your values, third party candidates who don’t have enough support to win, or a woman you’ve known for years and who you despise.

You have a rough road ahead. No one is denying that. But as a Republican woman supporting Hillary Clinton for President, I want to take this moment to tell you about the Hillary I have come to know in this election. The mythology surrounding the Clintons is deep, but that is particularly true surrounding Hillary Clinton. I ask, for a moment, that you step back and examine her record more broadly yourself.

There are those of us who support Hillary without reservation and with a great deal of enthusiasm. It’s not because she’s a woman and it’s not because Donald Trump is unacceptable (though both are true). Here are a few reasons I, personally, support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

As a Junior Senator from New York, Hillary was instrumental in obtaining $21 billion for New York City in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 Responders, and ultimately winning the first federal appropriations for medical monitoring of 9/11 Responders. This funding laid the groundwork for future appropriations and the expanded Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program to come. Without Clinton’s early efforts on behalf of 9/11 Responders, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act as we know it may not have been possible.

Hillary has a record of supporting our military men and women, including following through on their care when they return home. She passed legislation helping families care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. She worked to increase survivor benefits for military families, retirement pay, and disability compensation for vets, and expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to families of wounded service members. She worked with Republicans to expand healthcare for National Guard members and reservists. She sponsored the 21st Century GI Bill of Rights Act of 2007.

In addition, Hillary Clinton has a history of making sure all children have access to quality education. Schools should be safe places for students to learn and grow. But in too many communities, student discipline is overly harsh — and these harsh measures disproportionately affect African American students and those with the greatest economic, social, and academic needs. Hillary has plans to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by providing $2 billion in support to schools to reform overly punitive disciplinary policies. Her plans include calling on states to reform school disturbance laws and encouraging states to use federal education funding to implement social and emotional support interventions.

One of the issues that I have been vocal about over the past few years is the diminishing value of a college degree. For the price many families and students pay and the amount of debt they accrue, a four-year degree may not always be the best option. That’s why I have been truly heartened by some of the policy options Hillary Clinton supports when it comes to alternatives to a four-year degree. Hillary Clinton recognizes that there are new pathways to opportunity, such as six-year high school–college programs, the P-TECH model for school and industry partnerships, the Career Academies model, and “linked learning” models that allow high school and community college students to get academic credit for jobs, apprenticeships, and other skill-enhancing work opportunities. Clinton plans to support these new and innovative pathways throughout the country.

Finally, Hillary has led on paid leave policies, which, as a devoted mom who is equally driven to succeed in her career, are incredibly important to me. I see this as an area where modern Republican thought is seriously lacking given the tremendous value women bring to the workplace and how demonstrably challenging it is to be both a good employee and a good mother without institutional support. Hillary’s approach recognizes that supporting families isn’t a luxury — it’s an economic necessity. Her policies on paid leave address the realities that many American families face in the 21st century.

I’m not naive enough to think my voice alone is enough to convince you to vote for Hillary. You likely have different priorities than I do, which is part of why campaigns are so important.

I have heard so many people say, “Hillary supporters just hate Trump. I haven’t seen a single reason to vote for her.” The truth is, she’s not a lesser-of-two-evils candidate to many, many people. Many of us are genuinely enthusiastic about having Hillary Clinton be our next president. For some reason, our enthusiasm wasn’t part of the narrative, and that’s why a group of activists started a grassroots movement to draw attention to her entire record. Every day for the past 70 days, members of this group have posted a reason to vote for Hillary Clinton based entirely on her own record and policies. We intend to continue all the way until Election Day under the hashtag Hillary100.

With fewer than 30 days until the election, I invite you to do as I did and look long and hard at Hillary’s 30 year record of public service. After spending the past 70 days sharing just one of those reasons every day on social media (follow #Hillary100 on Facebook and Twitter), I am more convinced than ever that this is an election Hillary could and should win regardless of who she is facing. She will make a tremendous president. I am unapologetically with her.

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