Rachel Gonzalez, 17, is Chair of High School Democrats of Missouri and Hillary Clinton’s youngest delegate to the 2016 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,” she wrote for Women in the World. “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.”
View a slideshow of Rachel’s favorite moments at the DNC:
Day one of the convention delivered a pleasant surprise, when Rachel’s photo and story were posted on Hillary Clinton’s official Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
"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
Gonzalez became intrigued by the political process after attending her first campaign rally — in Independence, Missouri –in January of 2008, when she was 9 years old. It was then that she decided she wanted to one day vote for Hillary Clinton in a presidential election — and began a countdown of over 3,000 days until she would turn 18 and could vote.
“Hillary Clinton clinching the nomination was a very emotional moment for me,” Gonzalez told Women in the World. “I held up my Hillary sign with pride and cried joyfully.”
Gonzalez also met the oldest delegate from Ohio, 93-year-old Ruby Gilliam. “I couldn’t hold back from crying while meeting [her]. She told me that her husband passed away in WWII and she joined the Navy, although everyone said said she shouldn’t because she’s a woman.
“This is Ruby’s eighth convention and she says she is glad to live to see this moment. Ruby made me bawl when she grabbed my hand and told me she is now passing down the rein to me.”
This story is being updated across the course of the Democratic National Convention.