Trailside woman to cast vote for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia
While it could appear that Sheila Raboy became politically active on a whim, her decision to engage with this year’s presidential election process was a calculated one.
"It is the most ideal moment, timing-wise, for me," Raboy said in an interview with The Park Record. "Besides, at 67 years old I don’t know how many more presidential election opportunities will present themselves."
Raboy had, admittedly, never been to a Democratic caucus or participated in a convention until this year, when she decided to "take it from the very beginning all the way through." However, despite her lack of political experience, last weekend the Trailside resident was nominated to serve as a one of eight delegates from Utah for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"I’m a senior. I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran. I am gay and the third part is that I am Jewish, which is a growing population in Utah and part of the Summit County Democratic Party’s strength up here," Raboy said of her decision to become a delegate. "I figured I can represent all these groups at a national convention, which is really more of a true composite of what Utah is."
Raboy, who is originally from New York, has lived in Summit County for nearly 15 years. During that time, she has immersed herself in several different community organizations, such as the Sundance Institute and the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake.
Friday, Raboy was selected as the pledged delegate to represent Congressional District 1, which covers portions of Summit, Salt Lake, Weber, Cache and Uintah counties, among several others. She is one of two Democratic delegates selected from Summit County to travel to Philadelphia in July to attend the national convention.
The dual nominations are rare, according to Summit County Democratic Party Chair Glenn Wright, who explained that the county is not guaranteed to have any delegates.
"Delegate selection is done by congressional districts on a state-wide basis and to have two out of that ratio, it greatly exceeds our population percentage," Wright said.
For Raboy, Clinton, who currently leads the Democratic balloting in pledged delegates over Bernie Sanders, is the most qualified candidate in the presidential race.
"It’s a fact. She is the most qualified candidate in the entire history of the United State to run," Raboy said. "Who do you know who was a First Lady, who actually engaged in secondary and tertiary negotiations, was a senator for eight years and Secretary of State."
Clinton’s push for universal health care and her experience with foreign and military affairs in the Middle East all make her an attractive candidate, Raboy said.
"This is a great decision for me to go and being a veteran, a woman and gay, going and voting for the first woman ever to be president, whether or not she gets the nomination, it’s something I wanted to do," Raboy said.
If Clinton’s momentum ebbs and Sanders secures the party’s nomination, Raboy said she will still support him, adding that she is not "one of those Hillary or bust" delegates.
"It’s about the bigger picture and I would call and work that election with the same vigor that I would for Hillary," Raboy said. "The basic value of the party is so clear in the differences between the candidates that you can’t help but support Hillary or Bernie."
Raboy said she has received anonymous phone calls from people encouraging her to "vote for Bernie or else" and had fellow party members take aggressive stances with her at the convention.
"I’m just like, ‘I’m a Vietnam vet and I’m 67. Who cares? What is there to be afraid of, seriously?" Raboy said while laughing. "That’s why I’m going. I’m trying to give a more mature leadership role to the delegates that are there and to remind them to look at why we are all really doing this."
While at the state convention over the weekend, Raboy said she discovered she shared some of the same concerns as the other Clinton delegates, even those from more rural counties.
"It’s not just Summit County, but the fact that even though I am from Summit County, they realize I am from Utah and I can represent them," Raboy said. "As it is, when people look at Utah and they think of Mike Lee and think porn is the number one problem. But it isn’t and it isn’t for women. We also have crummy air and many other things and those are things that should be our platforms."
The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held July 25-28, in Philadelphia.
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After previous failed attempts, the South Summit High School Gay-Straight Alliance met for the first time Oct. 1.