The Broward Teachers Union welcomed Hillary Clinton to Pembroke Pines on Saturday for a last-minute appearance cut very short by heavy rainfall.
“You’re a hearty bunch,” Clinton told supporters huddled under umbrellas. “God bless you.”
The candidate spoke for under 10 minutes, protected from the rain by a roof over the stage. In that time, she emphasized her record on supporting families – highlighting her work to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program as First Lady; to provide insurance to 9/11 responders as New York Senator; and to support women’s and LGBTQ rights as Secretary of State.
“I have spent my career fighting for children and families, and if you elect me, that’s what I’ll continue to do,” she said.
Clinton's lead in Florida has diminished in Florida in recent days, since the FBI announced on Oct. 28 that it’s expanding its investigation into the private email server Clinton kept as Secretary of State following the discovery of new emails. The announcement has been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans who fear its timing might influence the presidential race. And polls since the announcement have Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump neck-and-neck for the state's 29 electoral votes.
For most in the Pembroke Pines crowd, though, Clinton’s work supporting children and families overshadowed any concerns about the private server.
— Kate Stein (@stein_katherine) November 5, 2016
Pembroke Pines resident Erika Elias said she’s supported Clinton since about age 11. Elias spent time in foster care and said she directly benefitted from some of then-First Lady Clinton's enrichment programs for foster kids.
"She (Clinton) is big on advocating for foster children," Elias said. "Ever since, I was just taken by how she was dedicated to family and children."
At age 12, Elias dressed up as Clinton for Halloween. She recalled picking a blue blazer and skirt out of a Goodwill truck and found a Clinton mask.
"I got my first love of blazers because of Hillary Clinton," Elias said, laughing.
Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, said organizers were thrilled to host Clinton even though the last-minute visit required them to scramble to work with security and get additional food.
"I was like, I need to sit down! Is this really happening? I was very excited. Overwhelmed," Fusco said. "She’s always been for... increasing and helping public education."