A California woman was among a handful of women whom Hillary Clinton phoned to wish a happy Mother’s Day.
Sheila Frank, 73, said she felt honored to speak with the Democratic presidential candidate for a little over 10 minutes on Sunday.
“We congratulated each other on being mothers and grandmothers,” said Frank, a retired psychologist who was straightening her bedroom in the gated community of Bear Valley Springs near Tehachapi when Clinton called.
Frank was one of five women Clinton called on Sunday, the winners of a Mother’s Day contest on Clinton’s campaign website. A friend entered Frank’s name and she was randomly selected. No donation was required to enter.
Since announcing her presidential bid, Clinton has focused on her gender in ways she never did during her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign.
Frank, who has an adult son and two grandsons, noted that Clinton recently became a grandmother when her daughter Chelsea gave birth to a daughter named Charlotte.
“She of course adores her new granddaughter. I could tell she was very excited about that,” Frank said.
But the bulk of their conversation focused on policy, Frank said, notably Frank's work with prisoners, the poor and the homeless. Mental illness, Frank told Clinton, was a scourge that was not being dealt with, and the situation was being made worse because of state budget cuts to rehabilitation programs.
Frank grew up in New Jersey and attended graduate school at UC Berkeley during the “Free Speech Movement,” a milestone in her political development.
“That’s where I was coming from. We thought we had the answers. We always saw a bright future,” Frank said. “We were so naïve but we were committed. At 73, one is no longer so naïve.”
Frank said she initially supported Clinton’s 2008 presidential effort, until she grew enamored by then Sen. Barack Obama’s speeches and the prospect of a black man being elected president of the United States. She believes Obama has been treated unfairly since being elected to the White House, and wholeheartedly supports Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.
“I do think a lack of experience has been an issue [for Obama] and Hillary doesn’t have that – she comes with an incredible amount of experience, and I’m definitely supporting her,” Frank said.
Frank said that while she admires Democrats such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she believes Clinton is the party’s best choice.
“I think that she can represent the middle class in a decent way. I love her husband, Bill. I told her that. She told me she does also, so that was fun,” Frank said. “I think she will speak to support more of the middle class, whatever there is left of us.”
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