07/20/2010 05:51 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Incredible Journey, Madam Secretary

I have known and worked for the current Secretary of State for nearly half of my life. This wouldn't be unusual, except for one major fact: I am only twenty-three years old. I first met Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when I was thirteen, when she visited my middle school in Chappaqua, New York, the town in which she resides.

This posting, however, is not intended to be about me. I want it to be about her. For the first time in my life, I am stepping away -- I have just left the Department of State to pursue a legal education.

This gives me a new freedom I have never had: a freedom to write a piece without any supervision, without any guidance, without any clearances. And guess what? I don't think it would be that different than what I would write with all of these three factors.

Hillary Clinton has not only been a mentor to me over the years, but I have been fortunate enough to watch her behind the scenes and in front of crowds, interacting with audiences and giving speeches. She is consistent wherever she goes: determined, always placing one foot in front of another, and her general rule seems to be never to look backwards and always to focus on what positive changes can be made moving forward.

Secretary Clinton is tremendously courageous. I was in college throughout her presidential bid, but I was by her side numerous times. And I watched her both win and lose. Whether it was a win or a loss, she was a fighter and I have seen her carry this same courage to the Department of State. At State, she has not been afraid to tackle difficult challenges and she has also shown that she knows what it means to be a team player in what others had predetermined would be a "Team of Rivals." Yet, again, Hillary Clinton does not look backwards.

Sometimes people ask me why I have been dedicated to working for the Secretary for so many years. The answer is plain and simple: because I have always believed in her. She is one of a kind -- there is no one else like her, and I honestly believe there never will be. I think that the world needs her in whatever capacity she is in. Her capacity to retain knowledge is unparalleled, her ability to understand a broad range of issues is strikingly unusual, her people skills is Clintonian for certain. Cold and calculated she is not. Warm and personable she is.

I am not a clueless, biased supporter however. I know that not everyone is a fan, and that's okay. And I will not say she is perfect -- nobody is. This being said, I am confident enough to say that I know the Secretary well enough to tell others that I have worked for the most brilliant mind and strongest leader I will ever know in my lifetime. And I am incredibly proud of this. True, I have had an unusual perspective. But what I have seen on television is extremely similar to what I have consistently seen in person throughout the years.

If you want to challenge me on any of this, or even agree with me, find me on Twitter, an easy find based on this webpage and blog: @TheBeanPredicts. I surely won't agree with those who disagree, but this is America, and I look forward to hearing from all of you.

To Madam Secretary, thank you. It has been an honor to serve.

David Helfenbein has also posted this blog posting on his site,, under his blog, The Bean Blog.

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