Madeleine Kunin: Clinton's Presumptive Nomination Is 'A Huge Boost For Women'

Jun 9, 2016

History was made Tuesday night when Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be declared the presumptive presidential nominee for a major American political party. Another woman who made political history is well known to Vermonters: Madeleine Kunin, is the first, and to this point only, woman governor in Vermont history.

She says watching the moment when Hillary Clinton took on a role no other American woman has before was emotional.

"I'm trying to absorb it fully because I believe that moment will go down in the history books. It will be inspiring for so many young women, little girls, and women my age," Kunin said. "It's been a long standing struggle to get there, we still have another mile to go to get to the presidency, but I think it's a huge accomplishment and a huge boost for women all over this country."

Kunin gives Sen. Bernie Sanders credit for running an exceptional campaign and says his message has helped strengthen Clinton's message. Sanders challenged Kunin in a three-way race when she ran for re-election as governor in 1986.

"It will be inspiring for so many young women, little girls, and women my age." - Madeleine Kunin

Kunin says Sanders can help bring his supporters over to Clinton. "Hillary has spoken about college loans, debts, income inequality, which obviously effects young people as much as anybody else. I think she will make a very clear effort to bring them to her side, but I think he also needs to take the lead," she said. "The real threat to this country is [presumptive Republican nominee] Donald Trump."

If Clinton wins, Kunin says having a women president will be somewhat different and somewhat the same.

"I think because of her experience as a woman and her life-long experience of advocating for women's rights and opportunities, they'll be some difference. She'll create more emphasis, for example on affordable child care, on equal pay for equal work and paid family and medical leave, because she knows those are the policies that enable women to be both good parents and good wage earners," Kunin said. "And because she's been there all her life, this will not be only a footnote to her agenda, but it will be very high on her agenda."