October 4, 2016 - Haverford Community Recreation & Environmental Center in Haverford, PA

At Family Town Hall in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton, Joined by Chelsea Clinton, Shares Her Plans to Make Sure Every Child in America Can Achieve His or Her God-given Potential

At a family town hall in Delaware County, Pa., on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton took questions from Southeast Pennsylvania voters about her agenda to create more opportunities for children and more fairness for families. Joined by her daughter Chelsea and actress Elizabeth Banks, Clinton answered their concerns on topics including our country's gun violence epidemic, systemic racism and rising college costs with concrete plans to take on the issues that keep families up at night, as opposed to the ill-conceived agenda of Donald Trump. She highlighted her specific plans to make quality affordable child care a reality for families; fight for paid family and medical leaveclose the pay gap and expand early childhood education. Clinton said, "What I’ve been trying to do in this campaign is really a continuation of what I’ve tried to do throughout my entire life, and that is to do everything possible to put kids and families front and center, to make sure that we provide the opportunities that families deserve to have to have good jobs with rising incomes, the ability to pay for the necessities of life, affordable child care, affordable college – the kinds of things that people talk to me about across America."

Clinton has made helping children and families the central focus of of her career. As First Lady, she worked across the aisle to help pass the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that granted eight million children health care. In the audience at today's event was Amanda Strine, whose daughter was a direct beneficiary of the program and was recently featured in a Hillary for America radio ad that highlighted Clinton's efforts to help pass it.

The town hall, as transcribed, is below: 

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Oh, I recognize that song. So fun. This is so fun. Thank you so much for being here. Wow. Well, it’s a great crowd.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “It’s fabulous. Yes, great to be here.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “You know, I’m finding that all across the country, moms and dads and, like, grandmas and grandpas, right, they are all watching this election really, really closely, and I think when the read the news and they watch the debates, they’re thinking not only about the outcome of this election for themselves, but for their kids and their grandkids. What kind of country are we looking for? What is going to affect the world in which their kids grow up, or their grandkids grow up? And what do you want parents and grandparents to know before they cast their vote?”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Well, Elizabeth, I think that’s exactly right and I thank you for being with us today. Isn’t she pitch-perfect? I mean, just so terrific. And I am so happy to be here with all of you, and especially with my daughter, otherwise known as the mother of my grandchildren. Chelsea and I talk about this a lot because obviously I am incredibly proud and grateful for my grandson and my granddaughter, and I think about the future even more than usual. And I am absolutely convinced that our highest responsibility is to make sure that every single child in our country has the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential and that it is a both privilege as well as an obligation, and not just for the children in our own family, but every child.

So what I’ve been trying to do in this campaign is really a continuation of what I’ve tried to do throughout my entire life, and that is to do everything possible to put kids and families front and center, to make sure that we provide the opportunities that families deserve to have to have good jobs with rising incomes, the ability to pay for the necessities of life, affordable child care, affordable college – the kinds of things that people talk to me about across America.

So today we hope to hear from a lot of you about what’s on your minds, what we can do together. Because it’s not only my hope as president to make it my mission, but I want to work with people to make it a reality – a reality in Philadelphia, in Delaware County, across Pennsylvania, and across America. So I am excited to have this chance to hear from people, and I hope you will share your stories. I saw an autism sign back there. Talk about what’s on your mind, the kind of issues that keep you up at night, so that we can elevate them. And people will understand that this election is the most consequential in our lifetimes. It will have such long-lasting effects on not only who we are as a nation but the kind of future we provide for our children and our grandchildren, and that’s why I’m looking forward to the conversation. Thanks.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Wonderful. And Chelsea, you are out traveling. I know you have a three-and-a-half-month-old baby at home. Traveling for your mom, out on the trail. As a mother of two little ones, as a former First Daughter, what do you want people to know about your mom?”

“Well, Elizabeth, thank you for being with us and being away from your sons today. As proud as I am to be my mother’s daughter – and I am really fiercely proud to be her daughter – and I am deeply biased towards her, and I make no apology about that, I am even more proud now to be my daughter Charlotte and my son Aidan’s mother. And so this election is so intensely personal to me because as my mom said, this is about their future. And so although I miss my daughter so much when I’m away from her and I’m so grateful to generally actually be able to travel with my son, because I am breastfeeding – and I talk about that very openly and publicly because I don’t think that should exist in the shadows and I don’t think that’s something that we should treat as abnormal – and so I am working as hard as I can in this campaign because I want every parent to be supported in making the right choices for their child, whether that’s breastfeeding or where to send their child to prekindergarten or where to send their child to college. This election is so intensely personal to me because it’s about my children, their generation, the kids they’re going to be in school with, the kids they’re going to be friends with, the kids they’re going to play with, they’re going to get to grow up with.

So I just am so grateful to know that my mom feels the same way. As you may have seen, last week we had a debate, and I was very proud of my mom. And yet the debate on Monday night was not the most important thing happening in my family that day. Definitely the most important thing happening in my family that day was that my daughter, my mother’s granddaughter, Charlotte, turned two. And that’s really true. And so when you ask what I wish people knew, I wish that people really understood that ‘Stronger Together,’ that kind of putting families and children first, isn’t rhetorical for my mom; it’s what I have watched her do my whole life, and it’s something I’m so grateful to have been arguably the prime recipient of.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “That’s amazing. Hillary, you have often said that America needs a president who understands not only the big challenges – which, as a former First Lady, Secretary of State, Senator, I have every confidence that you know the big challenges – but also the everyday realities, the things that keep people up at night, those quiet problems I think you refer to them as. What are some of those quiet problems that you feel are facing Americans, and how can you help them feel better about them?”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Well, that’s absolutely true. As I have now crisscrossed the country almost nonstop for about 18 months, people talk to me about what’s in the headlines – make no mistake about that. They’ll ask me about something that my opponent said and what it means, or about the economy. But very often, what people want to talk to me about is what keeps them up at night. So the grandmother that I met the very first day that I was campaigning in New Hampshire, who had retired from her job, but when her daughter became addicted to heroin, she had to go back to work to take care of her granddaughter. I have met so many families affected by addiction. Or the mental health issues that were raised with me the very first time I was in Iowa. And people say, ‘I can’t get the help I need for myself, for my spouse, my child, my sibling. There’s just not enough help.’ And we know so much more about how we should be treating mental health as part of health – not something separate, not physical health from the neck down and then mental health, the neck up. It’s all health, and it’s all who we are and what we need to do to take care of each other.

Or I’ll be getting a cup of coffee in a cafe and I’ll just be chatting with the young woman waiting on me, and I’ll find out she’s holding down two minimum-wage jobs to support her two kids. Two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers are women and most of them have children. And she’s going from really early in the morning until very late at night, and she’s doing the best she can.

Or I will be talking with a group of people and a young woman will say, ‘I don’t understand why we don’t have paid family leave in America. Every other advanced economy does.’ And sometimes women tell me these stories about how hard it is. They have not only no paid family leave, they have no earned sick days. And when Charlotte was born, I was in the hospital with Chelsea and I was talking to one of the wonderful nurses who were taking care of her and the newborn. And I said to the nurse, I said, ‘So what’s it like with all of your patients, because obviously we know we’re privileged and we understand that we have a lot of blessings that a lot of people don’t.’ And the nurse said to me, she said, ‘The hardest thing is we deliver a baby, say, on Monday, and the mother is so distraught because she has to go back to work on Thursday or Friday or the following Monday at the latest, or she might lose her job.’

I mean, it’s crazy. It is crazy. Affordable child care – child care in some states costs more than in-state college tuition. And you think about the stresses that that is imposing, and then people looking to the future trying to get college affordable, you have people with huge amounts of college debt. So all of these are issues that people have raised with me, they’ve brought to me. And throughout the campaign, I have tried to put forth ideas, policies, what I would do to try to ease some of that burden. It should not be so hard to be a young parent, and it should not be so hard – on the other end of the age spectrum, to take care of your loved one. I was in New Hampshire and a woman in a town hall like this stood up and said she had literally raced over because she’s taking care of her mother with Alzheimer’s and her husband with Alzheimer’s. And she said, ‘I just need some help.’

So these are real-world problems that are happening every single day in families across America. And I’m going to do my best to try to ease those burdens and really empower people to make the most out of their own lives and go as far as their own hard work and talent will take them.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “That’s amazing, thank you. Well, I love how inspired you’ve been by these conversations that you’re having, these one-on-one conversations and these questions, so let’s see if this audience can inspire us today. I would love to take some questions from all of you. What do you guys want to hear from Hillary and Chelsea today?

Yeah, how about you with the little red bow first? How you doing? Hi.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “And I think there’ll be a microphone coming right–”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Here it comes.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “-- right to you.”

“Thank you. Okay. Hi, Madam Secretary. I’m Brennan and I’m 15 years old. At my school, body image is a really big issue for girls my age. I see with my own eyes the damage Donald Trump does when he talks about women and how they look. As the first female president, how would you undo some of that damage and help girls understand that they are so much more than just what they look like?”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Wow. I am so proud of you for asking that question, and I think both Chelsea and I would like to say something about this. You’re right. My opponent has just taken this concern to a new level of difficulty and meanness. And it’s shocking when women are called names and judged on the basis – solely on the basis – of physical attributes.

So I think there’s a couple of things we have to do. And I am passionate about this too, because we know that young women begin to get influenced at earlier and earlier ages by messages from the media. ‘Forget your mind, forget your heart; care only about what you look because that’s all we care about.’ And we have to stand up against that – women and men, mothers and fathers, teachers, everybody.

So I mean, think about it. My opponent insulted Miss Universe. I mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that? But it wasn’t good enough. So we can’t take any of this seriously anymore. We need to laugh at it. We need to refute it. We need to ignore it, and we need to stand up to it, and especially the bullying. There are too many young women online who are being bullied about how they look and being shamed and mistreated. And sometimes that leads to tragic outcomes. The pressure of being talked about that way leads some young women to try to hurt themselves.

So we have got to be as clear as possible. You are more than the way you look. Now, you should be healthy, you should take care of yourself, but we’re not all going to end up being Miss Universe, I hate to tell you. So let’s be the best we can be and let’s be proud of who we are and let’s support other women and girls in being proud of who they are.”

CHELSEA CLINTON: “Thank you for asking your question. And I think we also have to support schools in – feeling a responsibility to teaching anti-bullying and pro-social behaviors in elementary school, middle school, and in high school. Because we know that it’s not only you, Brennan, or the three of us who are in the crosshairs of this election. I mean, I met a mother in Pennsylvania after one of my events who said, ‘I just want to share why I am so proud to be supporting your mom.’ And she said, ‘It’s because of the campaign she’s run and it’s also because we have to defeat the man she’s running against. I immigrated to this country 12 years ago from Guatemala,’ she shared. She immigrated with her then six-month-old son. She said, ‘We’re both now American citizens. He went back to school less than two weeks ago and he’s already had three different kids say to him either ‘Go back to Mexico’ or ‘I can’t wait until we build a wall so we keep people like you out.’

So when we say that our children are listening, that’s not abstract. And that’s not abstract as you’re experiencing it. That’s not abstract as this woman’s 12-year-old son is experiencing it. So we have to send a strong message on November 8th and we have to have more positive role models that look like our country. And we have to support schools so that what is happening more and more frequently, as we’re hearing from principals and teachers, is being kind of beaten back. And so we’re supporting young people to be good friends and good citizens, and ultimately, to feel good about ourselves, because we’re not all going to look like Miss Universe and that’s just fine.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “All right. Let’s find another question, maybe from someone over here. Yeah, how about in the back?”

QUESTION: “Thank you so much for calling on me, and I’m thrilled, thrilled to be here. I don’t have a particular question, but I would like to introduce a topic. I’m here representing parents who have lost children to gun violence. I lost my older son, and that wasn’t bad enough. My younger son never recovered, and I lost him, too. But he committed suicide. So this is a double-headed subject. You’re on.”

“Well, thanks for being so brave in raising what is an incredibly painful subject. I have gone all over the country talking about this issue, and I will tell you, despite what you hear from the gun lobby and people who do their bidding, a vast majority of Americans want us to tackle the epidemic of gun violence. And what we are going to do is go right at it because 33,000 people a year die from guns – about a third from homicides, about a third from suicides, and about a third from tragic, avoidable accidents.

Now, if something else were killing 33,000 Americans every year, you can bet we would be on the front lines demanding that this disease be stopped or this bad drug or whatever it might be. So we have to elevate a lot of these stories. I have been honored to work with mothers who’ve lost their children. And a lot of these mothers are trying to turn their mourning into a movement, getting up every day trying to figure out how to take on this scourge.

Here’s what I think we need to do. We need comprehensive background checks. We need to close the online loophole. And we need to do everything we can to close the gun show loophole. And we need to do a much better job, which was the original purpose of the NRA. Originally they were supposed to be doing safety education. And I know people who took their courses. Now they’ve turned themselves into a total shill for the gun makers. And we’ve got to reverse the liability protection given to gun makers and sellers so that they can be held accountable. And we have to finally pass a common-sense bill – your Senator, Bob Casey, was on the floor arguing for it last summer – a bill to prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from buying weapons in America. And everything I’ve just said is supported not only by a big majority of Americans but a big majority of gun owners.

So we have got to have a counter movement to this reckless, irresponsible propaganda that is pushing guns everywhere to everyone. And I am well aware that this is politically challenging. I’ve seen that. But I also believe that the time has come for us to act because the deaths and the injuries and the losses are so great.

Now, the gun lobby, whenever I say this, they say, ‘Well, you can’t stop every killing.’ Well, let’s get the number down to 20,000, and then let’s get it down to 10,000, and let’s get it down as low as we possibly can to save as many lives as possible. And for people who are worried about the Second Amendment, I respect the Second Amendment. Don’t believe it when they say that I want to do something to the Second Amendment. That is totally untrue. I respect the right of responsible people to own guns. But I want to do what I can to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place and end up hurting others or themselves.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Thank you for that. I feel so many people believe that this is a choice between guns and no guns, and that’s not true in your case at all. You just want regulations that make sense, gun sense. Okay. Thank you for that.

You want to ask a question. You are dying to ask a question. I can feel it. Get her a microphone.”  

“Hi. I’m piggybacking also on the gun violence. Hi. My name is Ernie and I am a mother of three black African American boys. And my twins are 18 and my son is 26. And for them to leave the house – I’m a big supporter of Black Lives Matter – and for them – and I also have a daughter. So the reality of a mom with all these children in the community in the heart of Philadelphia doing so many things, the gun violence is real for me as a mother because they can walk out just doing they own thing, minding their business, doing quality of life things, and get pulled over by the police. The policing policies have to stop. It has to be changed. It has to be changed to where the fact that if you have productive children doing productive things and not feel safe, they going to just drive over the bridge to Jersey, get pulled over with their hands up in the air, and still get shot. We need policies to change because that’s really a reality to me. What is your end take on that? Thanks a lot.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Absolutely. Absolutely. That is the reality. That is the reality. What she is talking about is what black parents live with every day. I was in Charlotte on Sunday, and I was speaking at a church. And I said, “Look, I have these two absolutely wonderful grandchildren. I will never have to sit them down and tell them to be afraid, to be careful. I will expect them, as she expects her kids, to be law-abiding. But that doesn’t always work.

And therefore, we’ve got to do three things. Number one, those of us who aren’t in her position need to empathize and understand what it’s like when her sons walk out the door to go see their friends or go to school. Putting ourselves in the other’s shoes goes a long way in a country as diverse as ours to getting people to really feel and experience what that is like.

Secondly, we’ve got to do more to reform the criminal justice system. There are so many good, honorable police officers. They need our support. They need our backing. And at the same time, we have to help them get the kind of training and standards that they’re looking for to really make it more possible to have every police officer know how to de-escalate situations. It is scary. And I met with a group of young African American men after church in Charlotte, and one of the young men – it was so impressive – he’s a barber. And he started a program bringing young African Americans together with local police so they could get to know each other and break down some of the misunderstanding.

And he said as part of the training, he went to one of the simulating training experiences that police officers get. And he said it was eye-opening because the first time he was part of a stop, it was a man in the driver’s seat, a woman in the passenger seat, and he was part of the police stop as an observer. And he goes up to the window and says, “Show me your hands.” And the man put his hands up. And then his role was to say, “Okay, step out now.’ And the woman picked up a gun from the other side of the seat and shot him. That was all simulated. So he said the next time he did a simulation, he was stopping a truck that was driving erratically, and the man in the front seat was being difficult. And he was saying, ‘Come on, get out of the car.’ And a young girl, an 11-year-old girl, in the car, the truck, picked up a stick. And this young African American man said, ‘I just automatically shot her.’

We need everybody to work on de-escalating situations, understanding what we all face, because remember, people are scared on both sides of those transactions. And it’s important that we work with our communities and work with our police and do everything we can to try and create a bigger zone of safety.

I met with the police chiefs of about 10 American cities, big cities. I said, ‘What are your biggest problems?’ And they said, ‘We are the people called when there are mental health problems.’ Not mental health experts. Call the police, usually by a member of the family, saying, ‘He’s off his meds. He’s acting crazy. He’s threatening us.’ They say, ‘Our forces don’t have experience for that.’ So there’s a lot we’ve got to do, starting with empathy and understanding and putting ourselves in somebody’s shoes, criminal justice reform, better training, better standards, dealing with implicit bias, all of those challenges. And then finally, to link the question from this mom to that mom, we got to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of people who are dangerous to the community and dangerous to the police.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “I’d love to take this question from this gentleman right back here. You can get a mike.”

QUESTION: “Madam Secretary and hopefully Madam President, you are in the Community Recreation and Education Center of Haverford Township, so welcome to it. And I’m one of the township commissioners. I’m sitting in a row with my other township commissioners and others here, and a lot of employees of the township, including various members of our police department, are here today.

There’s a great burden on people at the local government level. Your daughter brought up schools. Schools are primarily funded at the local level. This building was funded by everybody here who’s from Haverford Township. Tell me about your vision of your government and how it will cooperate and ease the burden at the local level.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Great question. Thank you, Commissioner. And to all the commissioners and the employees of this really magnificent facility, that’s a very important question and it is one that I’ve thought a lot about because so much of what people experience every day happens at the local level. Right? And they go to a beautiful facility like this. What are their schools doing? What about local law enforcement? So I want to be the best possible partner with local communities. And with communities like this one here, you’ve got plans. You are moving forward with a vision of what Haverford can be in the next years. I want to help you with that.

And remember when my husband was President, he had federal dollars going to 100,000 more police officers on the street. They were funded with federal dollars because a lot of communities couldn’t add to the numbers that they needed. He also had a program to help refurbish schools because a lot of districts didn’t have the resources to actually renovate schools so that they could be more modern, they could be equipped for the digital age. I think those are the kind of partnership programs that I would like to see as president that really – in communities like this one that has a set of programs and institutions that by any standard are working well, what is it you’re missing and how do we do that?

And then for schools that are really poor, left out and left behind – because I’ve been in schools in our country in inner cities and rural areas that I wouldn’t send any child to. I mean, they are falling apart. There’s mold on the walls. There’s rodents. It is disgusting. And it’s not because they don’t love their children. It’s because they have nothing. And they are starved by state governments that do not do their part to be good partners with local government.

So I am going to look for ways – and really, I want a cross-section of communities of all sizes, and frankly, of different levels of success and investment, so that we can – I’m big on listening to what’s actually going on and how we make it work better. So I’m going to be looking to people like you and your commissioners and others across our country. I want to be a good partner for local government, county government, mayors, commissioners, because that’s where most of living happens. That is what we know to be the neighborhood. You know I wrote a book called It Takes a Village. Well, the village has to be there for people. So what are we going to do? I’m going to look for ways to be as good a partner and to use whatever federal funding we can to support you in achieving the goals that you set for yourselves and your communities.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Great. Yeah, oh yeah, all these people over here. How about – I like – I’m partial to the little ones, if you don’t mind. I like this girl in the white, yeah, with the sparkle necklace.

“Hi. My name is Ava. I’m captain of my middle school debate team, and we did a debate of Trump versus Hillary. And I defended Hillary, and we won the debate, Hillary. I had to do extensive research about all your plans for all the different topics, so I read through your website more specifically on college debt, and I read through the college compact and your plans. And I just want to ask you more specifically because I was just a little bit confused on the wording of the college compact. So I would like you to more specifically tell me what your plan is for that. Thank you.”


HILLARY CLINTON: “Great. Well, first of all, thanks for winning the debate. That makes us 2 and 0, 2 and 0. So here is what we are proposing. And by the way, Tim Kaine and I have put out a little book, a little paperback, called Stronger Together, where all of our plans are described and how we pay for them, going after those who are wealthy and don’t pay any taxes – does that remind you of anyone? – and doing what we can to make sure that we provide some of these critical programs and needs.

Now, with respect to college, you’re right. There are two aspects. First of all, college has gotten so expensive, and part of the reason alludes to something I said to the commissioner. States have dramatically reduced the amount of funding that they spend on colleges. It is so much less than it was 10 years, 20 years, 30 years ago as a percentage of the cost of public colleges and universities. We want to begin to reverse that because a compact is exactly as I mean it, which is an agreement, a partnership, if you will, between the federal government, the state government, the college or university, and families.

So, very simply, here’s how it would work. And it applies to public colleges and universities because that’s where we have the most influence at the federal level. First, if you are in a family of $125,000 or less, you will be able to go to a public college or university tuition-free. Okay? And if your family makes more than that, it will be a sliding scale so that you can go debt-free. If you can afford to pay $8,000 out of 30 or whatever it might be, you would pay that. But we want to stop the slide into debt. It is undermining the futures of young people, and it’s hurting our economy, by the way.

Now, we would expect states to increase their contributions to public colleges and universities. I think it’s fair to say states do not need to build any more prisons. We have enough prisons. They should begin to put their money into colleges and universities. And we expect the colleges and universities to take a very hard look at what they’re spending money on. Let’s be clear that there are some wonderful extras that can be part of colleges and universities. But the most important thing is making sure students can attend and you have faculty with the kind of resources to be able to teach so the students can learn and have a degree that’s meaningful.

So that’s what we mean by a compact, and we’re going to push very hard. Now, some states will want to do this more quickly than other states. Other states don’t want to invest in higher education. Don’t ask me why. It’s one of the best economic investments any state can make. The more you invest in higher education – and that includes community colleges, by the way – the more well-prepared your workforce will be. So that’s what we’re going to be pushing.

Now, as to debt, look, there are 40 million people in our country right now with student debt, and they’re not all young. I’ve met people in their 50s who are still paying off their student debt. So we’re going to do several things. We’re going to let you refinance your student debt, because the interest rates are outrageous on student debt. And unfortunately, right now, you can refinance your house, you can refinance your car, you can’t refinance your student debt. And I have met – and maybe there are people – how many here have student debt? Okay. Does anybody, do you have student – an interest rate on your student debt that is 8 percent or higher? Okay. Right?

So I have met people, 8, 10, 12, 14 percent. We hardly have any interest rates. It makes absolutely no sense. So we’re going to let you refinance, then we’re going to move everybody into income repayment programs. That means you pay it back as a percentage of your income. And what that enables you to do is actually take a job you want to do. And that’s what happened to me: I borrowed money for law school, and when I got out I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, and I was in an income repayment program, and that made it possible because I had made, like, maybe $14,000 a year. So if I hadn’t been able to pay it back as a percentage, I never would have been able to go to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, which really changed my life.

And then finally, I want to encourage more public service and national service. If you’re willing to be a police officer, a firefighter, a teacher, a social worker, a nurse serving the public, we’re going to have loan forgiveness. And for national service, we’re going to give you scholarships to be able to attend without having to pay a penny.

So we’ve got a comprehensive approach to making this possible.”

ELIZABETH BANKS: “It’s a woman with plans.”

CHELSEA CLINTON: “Elizabeth, something that I’m really grateful my mom was an early advocate for and now is our party’s position, that relates directly to the last two questions, is having automatic voter registration when you turn 18. Because the greatest predictor of whether someone votes is whether or not they’re registered, and that might seem obvious, but it’s a really important point.

And so ensuring that we are automatically registered when we’re 18 hopefully will encourage more participation not only in presidential elections but in state and local elections. Because almost everything that we have talked about requires a shared vision at the state and local level. And particularly when I’m out listening to and engaging with young people, I hear questions about criminal justice reform, student loan reform, and climate change, and all three of those – yes – require strong presidential leadership, but also require the right type of leadership at the state and local level.

So although that hasn’t come up yet, I think it’s a hugely important question not only in this election but for every election. And so I hope that she succeeds on that front as well.”

“Absolutely – being registered to vote. We have time for one last question, actually, and I’m going to take it from this girl right here in her Hillary shirt.

Hi, my name is Kayla. I just wanted to say thank you for passing the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Plan because you have changed my life. I would not be here standing today better than I was if not for you and that plan, so thank you. 

So my question was that: What are you going to do for people who were in my situation, who can’t necessarily pay for many medicines that are very expensive, and that – and insurance? So what are you going to do for kids like me?

HILLARY CLINTON: “Wow, thank you so much for standing up and – You know, the Children’s Health Insurance Program is truly one of my most favorite policies that I’ve ever been involved in and worked on because this story is something I hear across America – eight million kids are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And the question is really important. Obviously, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that everyone has quality, affordable health care. And that means we’ve got to fix the Affordable Care Act, keep what works about it but improve it, get the costs down – premiums and deductibles, prescription drug costs are way too high. So we’ve got to work on that. And we have to make sure that we do more outreach to families, particularly pregnant women.

Elizabeth and I were talking about this because one of her friends is a nurse midwife, and I think she’s in the audience somewhere, and one of the – yeah – one of the big problems we’re facing right now in our country is, surprisingly, as great a health care system as we have for many people, we are going up in maternal mortality. We are losing mothers during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and shortly after. And we are at a higher rate than some countries that are so much poorer, but they’re better organized to reach out and really work with the very beginning of pregnancy all the way through. Still too many pregnant women don’t get prenatal care and/or they don’t get adequate amounts of prenatal care.

So we’ve got to look at the whole lifecycle, and I am committed to doing everything I can to keep the Children’s Health Insurance Program alive, to improve the Affordable Care Act. One of the good things the Affordable Care Act did which has nothing to do with whether or not you get your insurance there – it affects all 175 million of us who get health insurance through employers – is that it made it absolutely prohibited to deny people insurance for preexisting conditions, and that affects so many millions of Americans, including a young lady like that. It also took off lifetime limits. I met a grandfather during the primary campaign in eastern Iowa who came up and said, ‘Please defend the Affordable Care Act.’ He said, ‘We had a grandchild born with a severe heart problem and the baby is only a year old and has already had, like, eight surgeries. We would have run out of money after the first four if it had not been for the changes that the Affordable Care Act brought.’

So all of this is interconnected, but I want Chelsea to respond to this too because – I’m so proud of her on so many levels, but she’s also an expert in public health and has taught and has written and is very involved in this, and so she may have some additional ideas.

Well, I just want to thank you for asking your question for kids like you, that you didn’t just stand up and ask the question for you, that you’re already feeling a sense of responsibility for kids who are facing challenges that I couldn’t even imagine. I think that deserves another round of applause. And just to build on what my mom said, something that I wish got more attention in this campaign was that we actually need more doctors, nurses, nurse midwives, physician’s assistants, and we need to be incentivizing universities that already have those programs to expand them, and incentivizing universities and colleges that don’t have those programs yet to start them particularly in more rural communities where there is a huge gap between the need and the current kind of human resources for health.

And this directly goes to the question of maternal mortality. Because although given the Medicaid expansion that the Affordable Care Act enabled in many states – more women were getting prenatal health care – we know that still not enough are. And it should be unconscionable that any other dies in our country. And so we know we need more resources and we need more training, but we need to be putting people with the training in the places where the need is still the greatest, and we’re not yet doing that.

And it is something that my mother’s talked about, written about, advocated for, and it’s something I know she’s thought about in this campaign. And unfortunately, too often oxygen is being consumed otherwise. But this is a hugely important part of the conversation of what do we do to ensure that we have more nurse midwives kind of in the communities where they’re really needed, because no mother should die. And I don’t think it’s expecting too much of our country to have that be a reality in the 21st century.


Yes, yes. I just want to – I just want to make two quick points, and it goes back to the question Ava asked. Back in the 1960s and ’70s we had a lot of loan forgiveness programs for medical workers, for doctors and nurses and pharmacists and assistants and midwives, and then that kind of petered out. And so now you go to medical school, you go to nursing school and you come out with huge debt – hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. And it’s hard to pick up and go where you’re most needed because you got to go where you can get paid to be able to pay off the debt. So I want us to do much more in loan forgiveness and much more in making sure we place people for primary care, including well-child care and pregnancy care, in places that are much more left out of the overall system.

And I have to say, I was looking over at Kayla asking that question, and I saw my grandchildren’s other grandmother – Marjorie Margolies is here. And so she shares with me the most wonderful grandchildren, but she has a lot of other grandchildren too that are fabulous. So I just wanted to give a shout-out to Marjorie.

ELIZABETH BANKS: “Well, I think this has been an amazing conversation. I know that you would like to talk to these people all day. Unfortunately, this is the end. We’ve come to the end. I want to say personally, thank you for being so thoughtful on all of these issues and for fighting for children and families for your entire adult life. She’s – didn’t go work at that big fancy law firm. She went to the Children’s Defense Fund and it changed her life, and we are all the beneficiaries of that. Thank you, Hillary. Biggest beneficiary, Chelsea, thank you for your amazing thoughts. Raised to perfection.

I want to thank this amazing community of Haverford for having us today.  

I’d like everyone to stand and give one more round of applause to the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.”


ELIZABETH BANKS: “Absolutely, let’s do it.”


For Immediate Release, October 4, 2016