Elections

‘This is history’: Washington delegates reflect on Hillary Clinton’s ground-breaking nomination

Washington state delegates reflect on Democratic National Convention

Delegates from the state of Washington speak about their experiences at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
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Delegates from the state of Washington speak about their experiences at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Hours before Hillary Clinton took the stage Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, Western Washington delegates were starting to put in context her nomination, how far the nation has come and what it means for America.

“Ever since I was a kid, we’d make comparisons like, ‘What would it be like to have a black president’ or ‘What would it be like to have a female president,’ ” said Carlos Hickman, a delegate from Seattle who supported Clinton.

“It’s amazing that in my lifetime that’s come to past. I’m really proud to be a part of that.”

Clinton has become the first woman to win a major U.S. party’s presidential nomination. But for years, one delegate noted, that would not have been possible.

Myra Gamburg, 84, of Lake Forest Park, remembers when women were supposed to tend to the house and leave the careers to the men.

“This is history,” she said. “Women have all types of different opportunities today, in all kinds of different fields, like engineering, science or carpentry. Some even work in unions.

“That was unheard of when I was younger. We were supposed to get married, have children and our husbands would take care of us.”

Women received the right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 — 12 years before Gamburg was born. This week, Gamburg watched the first woman to have a real shot at the Oval Office.

“It’s kind of a dream of a lifetime to see the first woman nominee for president,” she said.

Meanwhile, others were looking ahead to more firsts.

“Going forward there should be a gender-neutral term like ‘first spouse’ used for whoever our president is married to,” said Gloria Hatcher-Mays, a Clinton delegate from Renton. “I hope to one see a first gay or lesbian president.”

While some delegates are excited about the possibility of Clinton becoming the first female president, others are unable to reconcile their disdain for her.

“The historic moment is kind of overshadowed by her career, politics and what she has stood for, or hasn’t stood for,” said Zack Pattin, a delegate from Tacoma, who is unhappy that Clinton received the nomination. “That doesn’t go away.

“I don’t really care about her and it’s not about her. I’m not going to ever be wowed by Hillary Clinton, but if her nomination says to women and girls around the world that they can rise to greatness and do things like become president, that’s not bad.”

Talore McBride is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is reporting on the Democratic National Convention from Philadelphia as part of a project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets.

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