FAM­I­LIES FIRST

Hil­lary Clin­ton pledges to put ‘kids and fam­i­lies front and cen­ter’ dur­ing cam­paign stop in Delaware County

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Kauff­man rkauff­man@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Kauf­fee_DT on Twit­ter

HAVERFORD >> A town hall fea­tur­ing Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton filled the Haverford Com­mu­nity Rec Cen­ter Tues­day to par­tic­i­pate with the for­mer first lady and daugh­ter Chelsea Clin­ton in town hall con­ver­sa­tion about po­ten­tially be­com­ing the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the United States.

“I want to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to put kids and fam­i­lies front and cen­ter, to make sure that we pro­vide the op­por­tu­ni­ties that fam­i­lies de­serve to have to have good jobs with ris­ing in­comes, the abil­ity to pay for the ne­ces­si­ties of life, af­ford­able child care, af­ford­able col­lege,” said Clin­ton, who was in­tro­duced by ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Banks, a Univer­sity of Penn alumna.

For an hour, Clin­ton touched on the top­ics of ed­u­ca­tion, health care, po­lice poli­cies, women’s

“I’m go­ing to do ev­ery­thing I can to make sure that ev­ery­one has qual­ity, af­ford­able health care. And that means we’ve got to fix the Af­ford­able Care Act, keep what works about it but im­prove it (and) get the costs down." — Hil­lary Clin­ton

rights, crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form and cli­mate change, while keep­ing at­tacks on her GOP op­po­nent, Don­ald Trump, to a min­i­mum.

“As I have now criss­crossed the coun­try al­most non­stop for about 18 months, peo­ple talk to me about what’s in the head­lines,” Clin­ton said. “They’ll ask me about some­thing that my op­po­nent said and what it means, or about the econ­omy. But very of­ten, what peo­ple want to talk to me about is what keeps them up at night.”

On af­ford­able health care for chil­dren, Clin­ton said in many places it costs more than in-state col­lege tu­ition, and that of­ten both of those ex­penses are putting in­di­vid­u­als in fi­nan­cial debt, a topic that struck a note with a lo­cal woman in at­ten­dance.

“I ap­pre­ci­ated her fo­cus on fam­i­lies and what she in­tends to do with the Af­ford­able Care Act,” said An­na­marie Jones, who ad­mit­ted to deal­ing with stag­ger­ing debt. “We voted for Obama be­cause of the ACA, but hear­ing her talk about loan for­bear­ance shows she has a fo­cus on fam­i­lies, which Don­ald Trump does not.”

In terms of health care, Clin­ton said she plans to work with the ACA to im­prove upon what Barack Obama had im­ple­mented when Clin­ton acted as Sec­re­tary of State in the be­gin­ning of his pres­i­dency. Clin­ton had been a sup­porter of the pub­lic op­tion, which would im­ple­ment a govern­ment-run health insurance agency, but that plan was scrapped in the draft­ing phase of the ACA. Many op­po­nents fear the fed­eral govern­ment would be able to un­der­cut the costs of pri­vate insurance com­pa­nies, essen­tially nul­li­fy­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket­place.

How­ever, Clin­ton’s fo­cus on the mat­ter Tues­day re­volved around low­er­ing the costs of health cov­er­age within the pa­ram­e­ters of the ACA.

“We’ve got to fix the Af­ford­able Care Act, keep what works about it but im­prove it, get the costs down,” Clin­ton said. “Pre­mi­ums and de­ductibles, pre­scrip­tion drug costs are way too high.”

Chelsea Clin­ton, now a mother to two chil­dren her­self, has be­come in­ti­mately in­volved in the cam­paign, even gar­ner­ing a prime time speak­ing spot at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Convention where she in­tro­duced her mother the night Clin­ton ac­cepted the nom­i­na­tion. And while she ad­mit­ted to be­ing “deeply bi­ased” to her mother, Chelsea said this elec­tion was “in­tensely per­sonal.”

“I am work­ing as hard as I can in this cam­paign be­cause I want ev­ery par­ent to be sup­ported in mak­ing the right choices for their child, whether that’s breast­feed­ing or where to send their child to prekinder­garten or where to send their child to col­lege,” Chelsea Clin­ton said, ad­mit­ting that she was breast­feed­ing her son, Ai­den, to great ap­plause by mem­bers of the au­di­ence.

“I talk about that very openly and pub­licly be­cause I don’t think that should ex­ist in the shad­ows and I don’t think that’s some­thing that we should treat as ab­nor­mal,” she said.

Emily Anderson of Rad­nor said when she be­came a mother she had to choose be­tween her ca­reer or be­ing a par­ent, due to the lack of paid leave. She said she had voted for for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton mostly be­cause she had seen Hil­lary speak at Univer­sity Col­lege at Boul­der in 1992.

“There’s a lot of tal­ent lost when moth­ers have to leave their job,” Anderson said. “Not only do you lose your pro­duc­tiv­ity, but it’s a loss to the work­force.”

Anderson said her grand­moth­ers were born be­fore women had the right to vote, but now that Clin­ton is “break­ing down the wall,” and that women are start­ing to gain re­spect for “bear­ing a heavy bur­den.”

The daugh­ter of state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Up­per Me­rion, Brennan Leach, 15, asked a ques­tion from the au­di­ence re­gard­ing body im­age for women.

“I see with my own eyes the dam­age Don­ald Trump does when he talks about women and how they look,” Brennan Leach said. “As the first fe­male pres­i­dent, how would you undo some of that dam­age and help girls un­der­stand that they are so much more than just what they look like?”

“My op­po­nent in­sulted Miss Uni­verse,” Clin­ton said with a laugh. “I mean, how do you get more ac­claimed than that? But it wasn’t good enough. So we can’t take any of this se­ri­ously any­more. We need to laugh at it. We need to re­fute it. We need to ig­nore it, and we need to stand up to it.”

The event’s fi­nal ques­tion was asked by Kayla Strine, 14, who was re­cently fea­tured in a pro-Clin­ton ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign re­gard­ing the Chil­dren’s Health Insurance Pro­gram, which has sub­si­dized greatly the cost of med­i­ca­tion she needs.

“What are you go­ing to do for peo­ple who were in my sit­u­a­tion, who can’t nec­es­sar­ily pay for many medicines that are very ex­pen­sive?” Strine asked. “What are you go­ing to do for kids like me?”

“The Chil­dren’s Health Insurance Pro­gram is truly one of my most fa­vorite poli­cies that I’ve ever been in­volved in,” Clin­ton said. “I’m go­ing to do ev­ery­thing I can to make sure that ev­ery­one has qual­ity, af­ford­able health care. And that means we’ve got to fix the Af­ford­able Care Act, keep what works about it but im­prove it (and) get the costs down.”

PHO­TOS BY RICK KAUFF­MAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Hil­lary Clin­ton hugs ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Banks, left, as Chelsea Clin­ton waits her turn Tues­day at the Haverford Com­mu­nity Rec Cen­ter.

A top shot of the trans­formed Fam­ily Town Hall held at the Haverford Com­mu­nity Rec Cen­ter, fea­tur­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton, Chelsea Clin­ton and El­iz­a­beth Banks.

RICK KAUFF­MAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Banks, left, ap­peared with Hil­lary and Chelsea Clin­ton at Tues­day’s event in Haverford.

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