Talking It Over Hillary Rodham Clinton

Talking It Over

Hillary Rodham Clinton

January 3, 2001

This week, I will accept one of the greatest honors of my life when I take the oath of office of the United States Senate on behalf of the people of New York. Among other things, this means that until Jan. 20, when the new president is sworn in, I will be wearing two very distinct hats -- senator's and First Lady's -- and looking both forward and backward.

As the President and I organize our belongings and pack boxes, we find ourselves repeating this refrain: "Do you remember when ... ?" As much as we cherish the precious memories of places we've visited and people we've met along the way, we likewise take pleasure as we contemplate the milestones America has achieved during the last eight years, starting with the President's promise in 1992 to "Put People First." I am grateful that I had the opportunity to play a part in fulfilling that promise.

During these last eight years, I've been privileged to travel around the country, listening to Americans share their hopes and dreams for a better nation and a better life for their children. I was blessed to work with a dedicated staff to effect policy changes that made real differences in the lives of hardworking Americans and their children.

No achievements meant more than the comprehensive child immunization program started in 1993 that increased immunization rates among toddlers to 90 percent, and the creation of the Children's Health Insurance Program. CHIP gave working parents who could not afford health insurance the chance to enroll their children in state-funded insurance programs for the very first time. Although CHIP has provided treatment for millions of youngsters for whom critical medical care was once out of reach, there is still work to be done -- work that I hope to continue in the Senate until every child is covered.

In my many visits to children's hospitals around the country, I have witnessed firsthand the vital role they play in our nation's health care delivery system, including the education of future pediatricians. Although these remarkable institutions train the vast majority of our children's doctors, they, unlike other teaching hospitals, traditionally have received very few federal dollars for graduate medical education. I was delighted, therefore, when my husband included an unprecedented $40 million in his year 2000 budget for graduate medical education at children's hospitals -- a number that was increased to $235 million this year.

Throughout my career as a lawyer, I have worked to improve our judicial system's treatment of children in foster care. In the White House, the President and I worked together to secure legislative changes providing additional support to foster children and promoting adoption. As a result of these changes, the number of adoptions is up nearly 65 percent -- the first significant increase since the national foster care program was created 20 years ago, and on target to meet the President's goal of 56,000 adoptions annually by the year 2002.

When I served on the William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship in 1998, more than 50 percent of our nation's young people did not go to college. The Commission's seminal report "The Forgotten Half," advocated more student aid, as well as improved family leave policies, school-to-work programs, youth service opportunities, an expanded Job Corps, and the development of mentoring programs.

The President addressed all these concerns, from national service to after-school care. The very first bill he signed after taking office was the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides family members time off from work for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a close relative with a serious illness. I am also pleased we succeeded in more than doubling the federal funding for child care, opening up thousands of Head Start spots for needy children, and offering enriching after-school programs, and a better understanding on the part of the nation's business community that making quality child care available and affordable makes good economic sense.

Of course, there have been important achievements on many other fronts since my husband took office -- achievements that range from making mammograms more accessible, to ensuring that every American can change jobs without losing health insurance, winning improved health care for Gulf War veterans, creating community service opportunities such as AmeriCorps, and working to save many of our nation's cherished historic treasures. In next week's column, I'll take a look at some of the other memories I have of an extraordinary time in our country's -- and my -- life.

To find out more about Hillary Rodham Clinton and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


Talking It Over: 2000

December 13, 2000: Column on Trip to Ireland and Vital Voices Announcement

December 6, 2000: Column on Passing Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Bill

November 29, 2000: Column on "An Invitation to the White House: At Home With History"

November 22, 2000: Column on Trip to Vietnam

November 15, 2000: Column on the 200th Anniversary of the White House

November 8, 2000: Column on New York Senate Race

November 1, 2000: Column on the Importance of Voting

October 25, 2000: Column Urging Congress to Pass Legislation Important to the American People

October 18, 2000: Column on Trafficking of Women and Children

October 11, 2000: Column on Microenterprise for Self-Reliance Act

October 4, 2000: Column on Reauthorization of AmeriCorps National Service Program

September 27, 2000: Column on Reauthorization of VAWA

September 20, 2000: Column on Ritalin

September 13, 2000: Column on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry

September 6, 2000: Column on Expanding Healthcare Benefits

August 30, 2000: Column on Making Education Our #1 Priority

August 23, 2000: Column on Pine Ridge, New Markets Tour

August 16, 2000: Column on Decision 2000

August 9, 2000: Column on the Congressional and Presidential Tax Plans

August 2, 2000: Column on Newborn Hearing Screening

July 26, 2000: Column on the 10th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act

July 19, 2000 : Column on Treasures Visit to Ellis Island

July 12, 2000: Column on Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

July 5, 2000: Column on the Ninth Millennium Evening,

June 27, 2000: Column on Quality Education for Hispanic Youth

June 21, 2000: Column on Save America's Treasures: Val Kil Cottage, New York

June 14, 2000: Column on the Violence Against Women Act

May 31, 2000: Column on National Trails Day

May 24, 2000: Column on National Moment of Remembrance

May 17, 2000: Column on Howard Theater

May 10, 2000: Column on Million Mom March

May 3, 2000: Column on the White House Conference on Teenagers

April 26, 2000: Column on Arbor Day

April 19, 2000: Column on Earth Day

April 12, 2000: Column on International Family Planning

April 5, 2000: Column on Women Entrepreneurs and Microcredit

March 29, 2000: Column on Teen Smoking

March 22, 2000: Column on Pediatric Drugs

March 15, 2000: Column on Child Support

March 8, 2000: Column on Children and Guns

March 1, 2000: Column on Teacher Training, Recruitment and Retention

February 23, 2000: Column on D.C. Campaign to prevent Teen Pregnancy Launch

February 16, 2000: Column on Vital Voices Event at the White House

February 9, 2000: Column on Prescription Drug Coverage

February 2, 2000: Column on Child Care

January 26, 2000: Column on College Opportunity

January 19, 2000: Column on Human Trafficking

January 12, 2000: Column on Housing Vouchers and Affordable Housing

January 5, 2000: Column on the New Millennium

December 20, 2000: Column on Presidential Interagency Council on Women

January 17, 2001: Column on Thank You and Best Wishes to all!

January 10, 2001: Column on Memories and Achievements - Part II

December 27, 2000: Column on The People's House, The White House

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