In the beginning of her victory speech after the New Hampshire primary, democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told the crowd, “Over the last week, I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice.”

Well, Hillary, over the past few months I’ve listened to you and in the process, I’ve found my voice and will proudly shout it from the top of Harkness: I am voting for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s experience, knowledge and technical brilliance make her the strongest presidential candidate. Her commitment to working for all Americans was demonstrated in the first days following her graduation from Yale Law School, when she opted to work as an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund in lieu of a perhaps more lucrative position at a law firm. As a New York Senator, Clinton has served as a tireless advocate for women, children, the middle class and election reform. She is also the first new yorker to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Clinton’s influence and experience as first lady, though discounted by some, also demonstrates her dedication to issues important to the American people. During her eight years in the White House, she designed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has subsequently provided health insurance to millions of children in need. She has also served as a champion for women’s rights and continually speaks out against the degradation and abuse of women all over the globe.

Although she has sometimes been criticized, most recently by Senators Obama and Edwards during the Iowa Caucus debate, for touting her “experience” rather than her commitment to change, Hillary Clinton hardly supports the status quo. Change seems to be woven in the fabric of her existence. Knowledge of her experience is important because it endows her promise for change with substantive examples of her capacity to deliver.

Of course she will push for universal health care; she has been pushing for it for years. Of course she will fight to increase the minimum wage and give tax cuts to the middle class — she’s already championed those issues in the Senate. Of course she will fight to make college affordable; she already introduced such legislation.

Not only do I trust Clinton on domestic issues, but also on foreign affairs. I see her as a brilliant and strong negotiator. Her plan to get us out of Iraq — three steps which include a phased redeployment of troops in her first days in office, securing stability in Iraq as the troops come home, and intensive diplomacy in the region — is the most compelling of those of all the candidates. She understands that America has lost the respect of most of the world and believes we must reverse that distrust by building a global coalition to combat terrorism and to create more partners world-wide. Also, after watching her in the Iowa debate, it was clear to me that she has the most knowledge and strongest plan about nuclear arms in Iran and Russia.

Finally, I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. While I like and trust her more than the other candidates regardless of her gender, it offers another compelling reason for my vote.

It is 2008, Yale. Women represent approximately 51 percent of the American population yet in the 232-year history of our nation, not a single president has been female. A recent Washington Post article explores the divide among Wellesley feminists about whether or not to vote for Clinton because she is a woman. “I’m sure there are going to be other women in my generation, soon, who are able to run for president. This isn’t like our only chance,” the co-president of Wellesley College Democrats, Ona Keller, said. I would caution against what some Wellesley professors are calling an “inevitability attitude.”

Yes, even if Clinton doesn’t win, a woman will eventually be president. But that’s not good enough for me. The time is now, the change is ours to make — and the answer is Hillary Clinton.

Emily Lechner is a junior in Saybrook College.