Broward People

Extraordinary vignettes about ordinary people

Shane Gunderson: Hillary Clinton and me

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City: Fort Lauderdale

Quote: Hillary’s reaction is captured in this photo

It was April 22, 1992 when I met Hillary Clinton.

I was president of the Broward Young Democrats and Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was running for president. I was a student at FIU getting a masters in public administration and working for the Broward Public Defender’s office at the same time.

The Clinton campaign asked me to organize motorcades, coordinate the secret service and toss together an introductory speech. I decided to skip all of my Tuesday classes.

My speech highlighted her accomplishments without ever saying her name. I built momentum, excitement and suspense in her introduction then said her name at the end.

Now 22 years later, I have written a college textbook “Dimensions in Public Speaking.” I use that same method of introducing people in the chapter on politics.

What is not in the textbook is how relaxed I was on April 22, 1992 and how huge that slice of my life has become. Who could possibly imagine all the things Hillary would eventually do?

I had a sand sculpture as a token key to the City of Fort Lauderdale to give her but I just didn’t think it was special enough. Outside the Sheraton Design Center were crowds and people selling things. Someone had given me a black t-shirt and with white lettering and a map of Europe on the front. “George Bush went to all these countries and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,” it read. I decided to give the shirt to Hillary and this picture was taken just as she got it. Her reaction is a piece of history too.

At the end, Broward County had the largest margin of votes in 1992 for Clinton/Gore. I like to think I played an important part in that legacy.

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