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Suzan Johnson Cook Headshot

Hillary's Right On This One

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HILLARY CLINTON
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images

Why don't they just stop? Hillary's absolutely right on this one. As a former senior-level appointee in the White House, under two presidents and three cabinet secretaries, I came out last October, 2013.

After a six-month Sabbatical, I'm about ready to re-enter the workforce, as a "F.ED."-- not an employee of the U.S. government but a faith feminist, entrepreneur and diplomat. I gave a total of 10 years of my life to service at the federal level, and 21 years in the NYC government as its only female police chaplain.

Public service is hard enough. It demands sacrifice of time, and it commands sacrifice of dollars. Yes, all of us left there "flat broke." People thought I was burning out, because of the demands on my time, but more than that, I was burning through my cash and savings.

All of us who work at the senior level, are warned, no, commanded, the first day on the job, not to have any outside jobs, nor any cash income streams, other than that of Uncle Sam. But what happens when your son, Sam, has to finish college, and the tuition bill increases don't match the salary you're receiving. One has to make some "hard choices" to quote my Secretary of State.

I had to not only make hard choices, but what I call, destiny decisions, because I had two sons in private colleges, at the same time, and my ambassadorship, different from a chief of mission, had to pay for my own housing and expenses out of the same salary. It seemed the closer one was to the president of the U.S., the harsher and stricter the rules. So you can imagine what it's like when one is married to the POTUS. Stop making her defend what everyone in Washington knows to be true -- Unless you come in with wealth, you will leave "dead broke." Yes, it's an honor and quite prestigious to represent our country and carry the president's "secret messages" all over the globe, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But let's be real: When the plane lands and you arrive back home after the 24-hour journey, the postal worker has delivered to your shiny, new mailbox a ton of bills. And guess what, we did not get "diplomatic immunity" from payment.

I'm just saying... Leave her alone on this one. She's absolutely right. And so what if she and President Clinton made tons of money after they left office? They deserved it. They earned it. They worked hard for it. I am back on the professional speaking circuit, and in six weeks, can earn much more than in six months at the senior level of government.

And guess what else: My first son, Sam, just graduated from Johns Hopkins University. Yes, I am a proud mother. And guess what my gift is to him: a debt-free undergraduate education. I didn't want him strangled by debt. We now will help his brother to get through college, so they both can pursue their dreams and get on their paths.

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