Standing within six feet of Hillary Clinton last night at a fundraiser in Chicago, I felt like I was listening to a well-informed friend and colleague who happened to be running for President of the United States.
When reminded of her rich experience on Capitol Hill, as she told stories of working directly with Vladimir Putin and other world leaders, I was struck by how accessible she seemed. The veneer I am so accustomed to encountering in politicians was entirely missing.
Hillary said she really does listen to people across the country and I believed her. One challenge she has prioritized based on what she has heard is the need to help communities at all economic levels stop the spread of drug use by youth. She said the number of suicides associated with this trend is heartbreaking.
Another cause Hillary highlighted was how those who need mental health care are turning to more expensive and inappropriate alternatives such as hospital emergency rooms or even jail because they have nowhere else to go.
Courageously, Hillary also said she was committed to stopping billionaires from anonymously running political campaigns through PACs... as she spoke from the winding staircase of billionaire J.B. Pritzker's Chicago mansion! (He seemed graciously unoffended by the comment)
She has been a senator, a First Lady, a Secretary of State. And yet, she was speaking most like a mother who wanted a better future for her children and grandchildren. (Hillary told us that Charlotte, her eight-month-old granddaughter's first words to her would be "stop reading to me!" Knowing the statistics on reading and school preparedness, Hillary has been reading to Charlotte incessantly since birth.)
As I listened, I was reminded of the Native Americans who had a Council of Grandmothers held in such high esteem that the tribe would not go to war without the Grandmothers' consent. The Grandmothers' approval rested on their assessment of how an act of war would impact seven generations hence.
Will this country be in better hands through the sensibility of a woman and a grandmother...who also happens to be the most qualified presidential candidate on the planet?
When I shook her hand and talked with her briefly, I felt the same way I do when I interview conscious business leaders - Hillary speaks authentically, to and through her values. I believe it is time for the U.S. to be led through the lens of this highly qualified, accessible, educated, experienced woman. Go Hillary!