Mia for Senate

What matters most…

Today is the day, SC Democrats!!! Get out there and VOTE!

Whether you’re “with Her” or “feeling the Bern,” this is one of the most critical elections of our time.

Just this week, I was reminded of how easily we lose sight of what really matters. A reporter asked me whether I chose race over gender when I supported Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton in 2008. But he didn’t stop there. Next, he wanted to know whether I’m supporting Hillary now because she’s a woman.

Really?

His questions weren’t meant to be offensive. They just were.

I didn’t choose race then or gender now. I chose the person I believed to be the best candidate…the one whose vision and life experiences resonate most with me…the one whose passion and purpose move and inspire me.

So why are my choices presumably defined by or limited to race and gender?

If race trumps everything, shouldn’t I be down with Dr. Ben Carson, whose neurosurgical skills I’ve always admired and respected, but whose politics I can neither understand nor appreciate? Should I believe he’s the right “prescription for America,” simply because he’s the only black man who’s running?

And when it comes to gender, am I expected to support any woman who runs for office…just because she’s a woman?

If that’s the general sentiment, I can see how we got Nikki Haley….twice.

Even with a minority woman in the Governor’s Mansion, we still have hard-working women and men who don’t have quality healthcare because she refuses to expand Medicaid. South Carolina is still number one in the nation for domestic violence, not just when it comes to women who are hit…but women who are murdered.

And let’s not even talk about equal pay for equal work…or increasing the minimum wage…or equity in public education…or improving race-relations and diversity.

Just because we’re the same race or gender doesn’t mean I think like or agree with every candidate or incumbent who happens to be black or female. And it certainly doesn’t mean that my vision and values are necessarily in alignment with theirs.

I’m a fighter.

So when I decided to support Hillary Clinton for President this year, it had nothing to do with her gender. It had everything to do with the fact that she is too.

After law school, she could’ve easily taken a high-paying position with a big firm. Instead, she went to work with Marian Wright Edelman from my hometown of Bennettsville, SC, to fight for South Carolina’s children through the Children’s Defense Fund.

I appreciate Hillary’s bold stances on issues that matter…like quality, affordable healthcare, student loan refinancing, equity in public education, debt-free tuition at public colleges & universities, equal pay for equal work, social security, women’s health & reproductive rights, common-sense gun reforms, voting rights, violence against women, paid family leave, criminal justice reforms and equal justice initiatives.

No other candidates…democrats or republicans…can compete with her foreign policy experience. None have been targeted in the ways that she has. And none have been expected to account for the policies and politics of their spouses.

Unlike her husband, Hillary hasn’t been President of the United States…yet. But she has been a U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State, which means she has a political record by which she can and should be held accountable for her own actions, not her husband’s.

Our country needs leaders who are bold enough to confront corrupt politicians, brazen enough to expose protectors and defenders of the status quo and compassionate enough to tackle systemic inequities that continue to stifle the progress of hard-working individuals and families across our state and nation.

I’m with her…not because she’s a woman, but because I believe her vision for a better, stronger, more inclusive America is most in alignment with mine.

So whether you’re “with Her” today or “feeling the Bern,” I hope you’ll vote for the candidate whose vision is most in alignment with yours.

That’s what really matters. VOTE today!