Metro women reflect on Hillary Clinton's historic nomination

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 18:36:58-04

Katheryn Shields, the first woman to serve as Jackson County executive, remembers who in office she looked up to when starting a life in politics.

“It probably wasn’t any women because there weren’t that many elected women at that time. Barbara Mikulski who’s a senator now had just been elected to the United States Congress about the time I was deciding to run for office,” said Shields. “In fact she’s now the longest-serving woman in the United States Senate and is actually retiring this year.”

Shields’ son was just 5 during her first election. He now works in Mikulski’s office. He called Shields the other day about one of Mikulski’s speeches.

“In it she talked about women in the 60s and 70s who couldn’t get credit unless a man signed with them,” said Shields. “So he called me up and said, ‘Mom, that can’t be right? In 1970 women couldn’t get credit?’ I said, ‘Hun, the first car I bought my brother signed for. I said the credit cards I had, I had to have my father sign on them.’”

That was more than 50 years after women received the right to vote. Shields says Tuesday’s official Democratic nomination of Hillary Clinton signals another crack in the glass ceiling.

“I’m very excited. You know 50 percent of the population of children in this country are little girls, and I think after tonight they’re going to have a very clear message that indeed they can grow up to be president, and I think that’s very exciting,” said Shields.

Inspiration for a younger generation

Thirteen-year-old Grace Mcauley says she’s keenly aware of the glass ceiling for the highest office in the land.

“I go to school and they have those charts with presidents from George Washington all the way down, and I’m just like, wow, they’re all men,” said Grace.

Her grandfather, Mike Turner, who doesn’t support Clinton, acknowledges the historic moment of her nomination.

“I think it’s a move forward. I think women are just as smart, just as educated, just as capable as a man is,” said Turner.

Validation for an older generation

Kris Laurence was 10 years old when John Kennedy was elected president in 1961.

“To aspire to be a president, that was something that boys did. That certainly wasn’t something that girls even thought about,” said Laurence. “You might have thought about in my day and age you might have thought about being a secretary or something like that.”

Talking in Union Station, built in 1914 before women had the right to vote, Jackie Turner says she gets emotional thinking about what Clinton’s nomination means for women.

“I typically cry on my way to vote because I think of all the work that other people put to getting me there. So all the work that people have been putting into getting a woman into the office is pretty impressive,” said Jackie Turner. “It’s absolutely amazing and I’m proud to be here at this point in time.”



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