Her smile said it all.
Sasha Strong is a 24-year old student at the University of Colorado-Boulder. This week, she’s in a knee brace and hobbling on a crutch, and Wednesday she braved the press of the crowds to get as close as possible to Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, stumping in Commerce City, spoke for about 20 minutes, and spent easily as long shaking hands, taking pictures and greeting supporters. Although Strong was in pain from her injury, she waited for her moment, and seeing Clinton just a foot away, her face lit with a huge grin.
“It was indescribable, emotional and inspiring,” Strong, 24, told The Colorado Independent. “Being in the same room with a woman who is breaking every barrier – it’s awe-invoking!”
Clinton, fresh from her historic nomination at the Democratic National Convention, has been in Colorado most of this week. The visit included a fundraiser in Aspen and a tour of a tie company that employs resettled refugees and makes custom ties and scarves. Clinton later spoke to about 3,000 supporters (including in two overflow rooms) at Adams City High School in Commerce City.
The rally focused on jobs — raising the minimum wage and bringing jobs to Colorado that would provide a decent living wage. Clinton talked about her “100 days job plan,” which she said will focus on job creation and the nation’s infrastructure: repairing roads, modernizing the electric grid and making sure every community, no matter where or how small, has Internet broadband connection.
“This is a competitive issue,” Clinton said. “Five million kids don’t have Internet access at home.”
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden, Deidra Garcia, former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, and campaign worker Gladys Moreno all took the stage to underscore the jobs theme. Moreno is a new American citizen. A native of El Salvador, she has lived in the United States since she was four, first under a visa and then residency through a green card. Now 21 and living in Los Angeles, she’s looking forward to her very first election as an American. “There is no one I trust more to fight for families than Hillary Clinton,” Moreno said. “She has our back. It’s our turn to have hers!”
Then, Gov. John Hickenlooper took the microphone. Before introducing the woman whose cabinet he clearly aims to sit on, Hick cited the “Cowboy Code of Ethics” to blast Republican nominee Donald Trump for lacking a moral compass. Trump, he said, could benefit from the cowboy ethos of saying more by talking less and from the cowboy adage, “Remember, some things are not for sale.”
Earlier in the day, Clinton visited the Knotty Tie, the tie-and-scarf company in Denver. She sported a blue Knotty Tie scarf for her speech and noted the tag says, “Made in Colorado, not China” – pointing out Trump-branded products aren’t made in the United States. The jab drew cheers as did her criticism of Trump for agreeing to a Republican platform that calls for turning over Western lands to private ownership for mining, ranching or harvesting timber. “I couldn’t believe Trump is going along with the Republican platform” she said.
Her comment drew a this shout from an audience member: “He’s an idiot!”
That wasn’t the only shout-out during Clinton’s speech. A protester behind Clinton held up a handmade sign on a sheet that said “Ignoring DNC Corruption.” The sign was at first blocked by Clinton campaign signs. Twice it was ripped out of the protestor’s hands by other members of the audience who were quickly told by campaign staff to give it back. Moments later, the protester was escorted out of the event by police.
In this state scarred by two mass shootings and last year’s rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic, Clinton repeated her pledge to take on the gun lobby. “I do not want to repeal the Second Amendment” or to take anyone’s guns away,” she said, repeating a line from her convention speech. “I just don’t want you to get shot by someone who shouldn’t have one!”
She promised to continue to provide specific plans about what she would do as president – an obvious dig at Trump. “You should be able to tell people what you will do,” and she asked the audience to hold her accountable.
In one more jab at Trump, who – as The Colorado Independent first reported – began his rally in Colorado Springs last week with a tirade about the fire marshal, Clinton told the crowd: “ I love fire marshals!”
Photo by Marianne Goodland