Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Meet Jerry Emmett, the Clinton Delegate Who Saw Women First Gain Right to Vote

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Meet Jerry Emmett, the Clinton Delegate Who Saw Women First Gain Right to Vote

Article excerpt

On Tuesday night, the Democratic National Convention made history by extending the party's nomination for president to a woman for the first time ever. It was a big, glass-ceiling-shattering moment for Hillary Clinton and for women in general, but perhaps most significant for 102-year-old Geraldine "Jerry" Emmett from Arizona.

Mrs. Emmett is one of the few women alive today born before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. Over the course of her lifetime she went from riding in a horse and buggy to flying on an airplane to the convention in Philadelphia, where she pledged her state's delegates to Mrs. Clinton.

Emmett's story gives insight into Clinton's appeal during a race in which she has struggled with likability.

"Oh, I never thought I'd see a woman in a presidential election. When I was growing up, women could be teachers, secretaries or nurses - and my mother was snubbed at our church for working at all," Emmett told the Arizona Republic. "That a woman would have this role in the political process ..." she trails off and shakes her head.Emmett says she remembers how excited her mother and the other ladies in the town of Gilbert, Ariz., (pop. 450) were to vote for the first time. The attitude was infectious and Emmett could not wait to vote herself.

"I was just was so happy when Arizona gave women the right to vote,'' Emmett told Peter Alexander on NBC Nightly News. "I think I was 8 years old, and we all went out and said 'Hooray!' "

Her first votes were cast for George W. P. Hunt, the first governor of Arizona, and then President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FDR, who adeptly guided the US out of the Great Depression and through World War II, made an impression on Emmett and she has voted Democrat ever since. Part of why she supports the Hillary Clinton campaign, she says, is because the Clintons remind her of the Roosevelts in their team mentality and commitment to international policy and negotiation. …

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