My name is Rachel Gonzalez. I am 17 years old and Hillary Clinton’s youngest delegate.
I am so excited about this campaign and the Democratic National Convention. Over a year ago, I started a journey to ensure Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee, volunteering in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. It was so important to me that Hillary received the nomination because I wanted to make sure that I could use my very first vote for her in the general election.
My fellow Hillary Clinton volunteers in Kansas City, Missouri, encouraged me to run to become a delegate in Missouri’s 5th congressional district, after learning candidates could run as long as they turn 18 by the general election. I am super lucky because my birthday — in late October — is so close to the cutoff.
I became intrigued by the political process after attending my first campaign rally in January of 2008, when I was 9 years old. That rally was in Independence, Missouri, at the same high school I now attend. Although Hillary wasn’t there, former President Bill Clinton was. I remember leaning over to my mother and saying, “Mom, I’m voting for Hillary!” She crushed my dreams when she told me that I would not be old enough to vote until I was 18! That day, I started my 3,187-day countdown to my 18th birthday, and now the election is less than 100 days away. I can’t tell you how excited I am to continue to fight for Hillary and to cast my first vote in November with the aim to elect her to the presidency.
As Chair of High School Democrats of Missouri I work to engage and inspire other young people to get involved in the political process. It’s so important that young delegates are represented at the DNC because it’s a way for young voices to be brought to the table and heard. This election cycle, young voters have really influenced the party’s platform and are proving they are active voters.
I’m ready to stand on the Democratic convention floor as a delegate for Hillary Clinton and I hope you’ll follow my journey here on Women in the World.
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"I've been interested in politics since I was 9 years old. My first campaign rally was a Hillary Clinton rally in 2008—that's where I got really excited about the political process. I leaned over to my mom and said, "Mom, I'm voting for Hillary Clinton." And then she crushed my dreams when she told me that I wouldn't be able to vote until I was 18. So on that day, I made a countdown to when I would be registered to vote. I started at 3,187 days, and now I'm registered. My birthday's in October, so I'm excited to use my first vote on Hillary Clinton.” —Rachel, 17, Missouri, Hillary's youngest delegate at the Democratic Convention #DemsInPhilly