Chelsea Clinton, Tammy Baldwin share health care stories

Hillary Clinton’s daughter spoke Wednesday at the Lismore Hotel about early voting, Medicaire and American civics


Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, shares her experiences with people on the campaign trail. She illustrated the sharp contrast on issues like health care and climate change between her mother and Republican nominee Donald Trump. (Brian Sheridan)

Story by Brian Sheridan, Editor in Chief

With less than a week until Election Day, early voting and health care were hot topics at Chelsea Clinton’s speech Wednesday, her first in Eau Claire.

Clinton held a speech at 2 p.m. Wednesday at The Lismore Hotel following Trump’s arrival to UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena Tuesday. Along with Clinton, Gabbie Stasson, Eau Claire campaign organizer; Denise Bustamante, Eau Claire fellowship intern for Clinton’s campaign; and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin spoke during the event.

The event had a number of focuses, including the importance of early voting, hate speech and the effects of health insurance (or the lack thereof) on Americans. Baldwin talked about her struggles when she spent several months in the hospital as a child and the impact it had on the grandparents who raised her.

Baldwin said she supports Clinton because of her work she has done with the Children Defence Fund, an organization that focuses on child advocacy and research, as well as working to improve educational equality opportunities for children with disabilities and her role in the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Clinton opened up her speech talking about the significance of this election to her as a parent and how whomever the American people elect “will shape the country, the world and really the future” of her children, their classmates and their colleagues.

She told stories of people she has encountered on the campaign trail and their experiences with racial and homophobic remarks made toward their families during this election season.

In one instance, Clinton elaborated on a Guatemalan women whose son was told to “go back to Mexico” by his middle school classmates. In another story, she said an eight-year-old girl told her about how her classmates said her dad will have to “go back into the closet” when Donald Trump is elected.

“I never thought I would see in my lifetime the almost normalization of hate speech,” Clinton said.

When asked by an audience member how to address Islamophobia locally, an immediate problem in regards to the UW-Stout student Hussain Saeed Alnahdi who was assaulted and killed Monday in Menomonie, Clinton said one of the challenges of this election is the United States failure to teach civics for years. There has been a move away from investing in civics and she said much of how it is handled happens at a local governmental level.

Clinton addressed the differing opinions her mother and Trump have on Medicare, saying she will extend paid family medical leave and how it will address “however we start families,” including adoption and surrogacy.

While Trump’s plan currently includes six weeks of paid maternity leave, Clinton said America should be providing three months of paid leave for postpartum mothers.

She said her mother and Trump also hold drastically different stances on climate change, her mother believes they can have all homes running on renewable energy in a decade. The top issues on Trump’s website does not currently address climate change but Clinton said Trump calls it “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”

“My mom and I share this old fashioned view where we believe in science and think we should be listening to scientists,” she said.

Carla Reppert-Lokken, a retired special education teacher from the Osseo-Fairchild school district, said Clinton spoke well and was looking to learn more about her and her mother’s views. She said she addressed any issues and questions she would have had.

“I think they need to know fully the issues that are at stake and they need to know there’s somebody out there who has a plan and is able to speak clearly on that and the issues on hand,” Reppert-Lokken said.

Recent Eau Claire alumnus Adam Accola said he enjoyed listening to Chelsea speak and felt she brought a younger voice to the Clinton campaign, a change of tone from her mother’s speeches. Accola said he came to affirm he made the right choice since he has already voted for Clinton, and encourages others to vote early as well.

“They need to be thinking when they’re voting,” he said “If you get to election day and realize ‘I have to work all day, I got classes all day, I got this, that and the other thing,’ making excuses for your vote to be basically taken away is not okay in this election.”

In-person absentee voting runs until 5 p.m. Friday at city hall. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 8.