Reader View: Hillary Clinton — our next president
As a former U.S. diplomat, I had firsthand opportunities to observe the work of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Based on this experience, I have been puzzled during this campaign when I hear people use words like “cold,” “aloof” and “arrogant” to describe her. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. During 2011-12, I was a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of State for one of Secretary Clinton’s under secretaries.
In this role, I frequently attended the secretary’s large morning staff meetings. What I saw on those occasions was a strong, confident leader who was incredibly knowledgeable about the full range of global issues. But even more importantly, during such meetings, Secretary Clinton treated every member of her senior team with great respect, recognizing the contributions of everyone and never being dismissive of the views of others.
She was also funny, often making a quip or humorous observation that broke the tension during difficult discussions. Secretary Clinton went out of her way to improve morale during her four years at the Department of State. She worked tirelessly to create opportunities for women, minorities, those with disabilities and LGBT community members.
Earlier in my career, then-first lady Clinton visited Chile, where I was press attaché at the U.S. Embassy. During remarks at the Catholic University in Santiago, she called upon Chile’s leaders to support the empowerment of girls and young women, stressing the need for equal educational opportunities. While in Chile, she also met with a small group of poor, indigenous women who were trying to set up a textile cooperative to support their families. She listened attentively to their concerns and then worked to find a way for these women to obtain microloans.
Hillary Clinton is warm and engaging. She cares about people and knows how to get things done. In my view, no other past or present candidate comes anywhere near Secretary Clinton in terms of leadership skills and experience in promoting human rights, building multinational coalitions, confronting international terrorism and addressing the threat of global climate change.
Coming from a working-class background herself, Hillary Clinton understands the importance of affordable health care insurance, the need to create jobs and ensure access to quality education for all of our citizens. Anyone who has ever seen Hillary Clinton in action, as I have, knows that she is fully qualified to become the next president of the United States. For all of these reasons, I strongly support Secretary Clinton and urge my fellow New Mexicans to vote for her.
Mark L. Asquino is a recently retired career Foreign Service officer who served overseas in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa. His last posting was as U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. He lives in Santa Fe.