It's time to give Hillary Clinton another look. I've known her for a long time, and I've known Bernie even longer.
Most people have forgotten that Bernie Sanders ran against me as an independent for governor in 1986. I had just completed my first term. He received 14 percent of the vote in a three-way race.
His message then was the same as it is today: income inequality. The difference is that today his words are booming out to the entire country. And his words resonate.
I don't argue with his message; I argue whether that message alone qualifies Bernie to be president.
I've known Hillary and worked with her. She can be serious and funny. She inspires fervent camaraderie in her staff. She is the most intelligent woman I have ever met.
More importantly, she has the right temperament to lead us safely through the labyrinths of a dangerous world. She is both tough enough to be commander in chief, and compassionate enough to understand what our country needs to do to restore faith in the American Dream.
I first knew Hillary at governor's conferences when she sat there as President Clinton's spouse at the side of the conference table, taking notes while working for the Children's Defense Fund. I knew her when I was deputy secretary of education, and she took on the brave health care reform fight. Sometimes I sat in the same room with Hillary and Bill. What I remember most is not the subject being discussed, but their equal respect for one another. She paid close attention to what he said, and he listened intently to what she said. I learned what a good listener she was.
When I was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland (1996-99) I saw her negotiate with world leaders and receive respect. At the Davos World Economic Forum in 1997, (where we took time out to ski together), after she had given her speech, presidents and prime ministers were already urging her to run for president.
I was there in in 1995 at the Fourth World Women's Conference in Beijing when I heard her voice soar over the crowd of thousands of women gathered from very part of the world, under stormy skies in drenched sari's and black burkas: "Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights."
I can still hear the exultant cheers that made the sun come out. Year after year, Hillary has been voted the most admired woman in the world.
I trust Hillary. I trust her to keep our country safe, I trust her to motivate our country to take the lead on fighting climate change, I trust her to reduce the extraordinary high level of child poverty, which she focused on in her book, "It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us," published 20 years ago.
The truth is, she cares for the same people as Bernie does -- those who are left out. The difference is that she understands -- through years of experience and activism -- that American revolutions have never occurred overnight. Even the LGBT revolution, unusually swift as it was, is happening 47 years after the Stonewall riots in New York City. Change happens in America, more rapidly than in other countries but we move forward step by step.
And I trust her to raise American families' income by giving us equal pay for equal work, affordable childcare and paid family and medical leave.
And, most importantly, I trust her to respond competently and carefully to whatever crises our country may face in 2017 and beyond.
Hillary is the only candidate who will not need on the job training. She will not make a rookie mistake, and she will stand toe to toe with anyone -- a five star general, a committee chairman, or Vladimir Putin.
Why do I trust her? Because she has fought for these changes for her entire public life. Women running for high office or seeking a promotion in the private sector are often told they are not qualified. Then they work hard to get more experience, obtain another degree, and wait patiently for their qualifications to be recognized, only to discover that they are turned down because they have become "over qualified" We cannot allow that to happen to Hillary.
I like what Bernie stands for, but I believe Hillary is ready to be president.
Madeleine May Kunin, who served as governor of Vermont for three terms from 1985-1991, is a Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont, and the author of "The New Feminist Agenda, Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work and Family."