Chelsea Clinton in Grand Rapids: ‘We have work to do’

Chelsea Clinton in Grand Rapids
Chelsea Clinton addresses her mother's supporters in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 22, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Women and family issues were the focus of Chelsea Clinton’s message Thursday, as she visited Grand Rapids for the first time since Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.

“My mom understands that women’s issues aren’t just women’s issues; they’re family issues and economic issues. And she understands that economic issues aren’t just economic issues, they’re also women’s issues and family issues,” Chelsea said.

The former first daughter said the last time she visited Grand Rapids was during the primary race; she spoke at a bar when she was seven months pregnant with her son.

“I’m thankful to be in a more fitting setting this time around,” she said, three months after his birth.

Chelsea spoke to the crowd at the Richard App gallery for nearly a half hour before taking their questions.

Chelsea Clinton crowd in Grand Rapids
A crowd of people waits outside the Richard App Gallery before Chelsea Clinton’s speech. (Sept. 22, 2016)

She said Hillary is the only person with a proposal for paid family and medical leave and a plan for how to pay for it. She also addressed lowering child care costs for Americans, raising the minimum wage and providing equal pay for equal work for all women and Americans with disabilities.

Chelsea called the number of women who had to return to work within two weeks of giving birth “unconscionable.”

“We know how important those early months are for mothers and fathers to spend with their children,” she added.

>>App users: Watch Chelsea Clinton’s speech here.

Chelsea also praised the Affordable Care Act, saying more women in 2015 had access to prenatal health services than at any point in American history.

“We cannot go back from that. We have to protect the Affordable Care Act while also insuring that the almost 240,000 women in Michigan who aren’t in sured have affordable quality options to become insured. So we have work to do but we cannot go backwards because we’ve already seen what expanded coverage means for women and families in particular,” Chelsea said.

During the event, a couple of women voiced their concerns about Hillary’s appeal to African-American and other minority voters.

“We need to do a better job in reaching out to people who look like me,” one woman said. “If we don’t do a better job in reaching out to those people, it’s not going to be good here in Grand Rapids.”

In a one-on-one interview with 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin, Chelsea said she doesn’t understand questions about Hillary’s health, given her strenuous travel schedule, but she wasn’t completely satisfied with how her mother handled her recent illness.

“I wish she would’ve listened to her doctor also as a daughter and taken a couple of days off when she was diagnosed with pneumonia, I didn’t even know she was sick. I’m glad she took a couple days off to rest and she’s back on the campaign trail now,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea said Monday is a big day for her family; as her mother takes on Republican Donald Trump during the first presidential debate, Chelsea will be celebrating her daughter’s second birthday.

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