Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes used her speech Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to paint Hillary Clinton as caring and inquisitive and “a fighter for every single thing Donald Trump is against.”
“Together, let’s stand up and elect the person who has always stood with us — Hillary Clinton,” Grimes said in her 4-minute, 45-second speech that began at 4:48 p.m.
Grimes, who has been secretary of state since January 2012, is the only Kentuckian scheduled to speak at the convention that runs through Thursday. Her family is close to the presumptive Democratic nominee for president and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
In a telephone interview Tuesday morning, Grimes said she is honored to represent the state and her staff.
Grimes said she met Hillary Clinton on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in January 1993 at President Clinton’s first inauguration.
In her speech, Grimes, 37, said, “I could never have imagined years later, she’d write, call, check up on me in law school, help win my first-ever campaign for Kentucky Secretary of State and stand by my side as I took on one of the nation’s biggest bullies.”
That was an apparent reference to her unsuccessful 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate against Republican Mitch McConnell of Louisville.
“I’m proud to be part of a new generation of Southern Democrats … and I wouldn’t be here without Hillary,” Grimes said in her speech. “For me, this is personal. And I know it is for you, too.”
Grimes described Clinton as thoughtful and sincere.
“She reminds me to slow down and spend time with family,” Grimes said. “She was the first to call when each of my grandmothers passed. And I know how she wears the names of those closest to her heart — her grandchildren, Charlotte and Aidan — on a bracelet she’s never without.
“The Hillary I know is inquisitive, a sincere listener, enjoys HGTV, and devours buffalo wings whether in a plane, train or car.”
Grimes said Clinton will fight for all people and for causes like equal pay, voting rights, college affordability, pensions for retired coal miners and affordable health care.
“In this election, we have a chance to send a message,” Grimes said. “If you condemn the hate speech and divisive policies of Donald Trump and the GOP — stand up. If you condemn the gridlock and obstruction — stand up. If you think the last thing America needs is an unsteady, unqualified bully who points fingers at the defenseless rather than offering a helping hand — stand up.”
Grimes said she got a call last week from convention organizers to speak at the convention.
“She’s always had my back. I’m glad to have hers,” Grimes said.
Asked if she might be interested in a position in the Clinton administration, Grimes said, “I love my job. I am focusing on that.”
Earlier this year, a federal grand jury in Lexington subpoenaed records of Grimes and her father, Lexington businessman and former state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, in an investigation that relates to finances of her political campaigns in 2014 and 2015. Their attorneys said they are not targets of the inquiry.