Column: Emmett’s 102-year wait for woman president may end soon
As a contrast to the Republican convention, in which the bleak rhetoric made one expect to see an apocalyptic world outside, the Democratic National Convention brought the light of reason to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and birthplace of the Constitution.
As part of the inspiring week, Geraldine “Jerry” Emmett, the 102-year-old founder of the Democratic Women of the Prescott Area, was a shining beacon who radiated the importance of having the first woman nominated for President of the United States from one of the two main parties.
Jerry, who is a member of the group that I now chair, has always spoken up on important issues. She’s supported women’s rights, especially because she was born before women had the vote. She was 8 years old when her mother voted for the first time, and brought her along. It was a day of celebration for women in Arizona, even though they had the state vote before most states.
Jerry was one of the founding members of the Arizona Federation of Democratic Women, too, the first Democratic women’s club in the nation, in 1938. A national club wasn’t founded until 1971.
When Jerry was asked to be the honorary chair of the Arizona delegation and recite the number of delegates nominating Hillary Clinton, she said the DNC representative from Arizona, Luis Heredia, was concerned she wouldn’t be able to say it loud enough in the roar of convention noise.
“I told him I used to be a yell leader in college and I could do it!” Jerry said. And she did it with gusto, much to the delight of the international media, which took notice of her. They deluged her with requests for interviews both for print and TV media. She obliged, and though the experience left her wrung out and tired, she is happy with the result.
“If it gets more people to vote for Hillary, then it was worth it,” Jerry said. “My goal is to make it to Hillary’s election.”
I’ve been to Jerry’s house and have seen the Clinton photos and memorabilia, and especially the photos of Jerry with Hillary Clinton. She started a Hillary Clinton fan club when Hillary was the First Lady, in support of her work to help women and children. This year, Arizona was the last state to approve Hillary’s program, KidsCare, which enables federal funding of a health insurance program for children of the working poor. Also, Clinton inspired women internationally to fight for their rights in gaining education, healthcare and fair wages.
“They called Eleanor Roosevelt the ‘first woman of the world,’ but Hillary Clinton will be the next,” Jerry said.
“Can Latinos Swing
The headline on a story in The New Yorker magazine last week examined efforts to engage Latinos to vote in what they called, “the Mississippi of the West.” Much attention has been paid to Arizona’s suppression of the vote after Maricopa County’s presidential preference election debacle in the spring, but the article discussed how since then voter registration has been soaring among Latinos.
The first group to organize to register Latinos, Promise Arizona, was specifically motivated by 2010 passage of SB 1070 and led the successful recall election of Russell Pearce, the state senator who proposed it. The law has more or less been dismantled by court rulings finding that federal law supersedes it, and its discriminatory aspects are unconstitutional, but not before the state lost an estimated $141 million (and possibly far more) in canceled travel and convention bookings.
Trump’s speech calling Mexicans “criminals” and “rapists” may be driving the desire to vote against him. Also, John McCain could be in trouble with Latinos in his Senate race for endorsing Trump.
Arizona Corporation Commission Corruption Questions
Another scandal involving the Corporation Commission, as Commissioner Tom Forese participated in a TV ad for a new solar program from the Arizona Power Service — which he is paid to be regulating — shows just how arrogant some of the current commissioners are about flaunting their role as foxes in the proverbial henhouse. The hens are you and me and we may well be plucked by the APS when the commissioners vote on whether it can roll out an absurd new system of charging for electricity, based on the highest use hour of the month.
Tom Chabin and William Mundell, Democratic candidates for ACC seats, are running on their pledges to restore ethics to the commission. They will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Yavapai County Democratic Party on Aug. 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Adult Center of Prescott, 1280 E. Rosser St. Call 928-541-0413 to reserve a seat.
Water Issue on TV, at Candidate Forum
This Thursday the Discovery Channel is airing a film called “Killing the Colorado,” a documentary on how human use has caused the river’s levels to fall to historic lows.
On Saturday, the Citizen’s Water Advisory Group will ask state and county candidates about their stands on water issues at a forum in the sanctuary at the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation building, 882 Sunset Ave. in Prescott (two blocks behind True Value). Candidates will be available to meet with the public at 9:30 a.m. The forum will take place from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, go to cwagaz.org.
Toni Denis is a freelance journalist, a Prescott resident and chairwoman of the Democratic Women of the Prescott Area. Her views are her own and she does not represent any group.