Originally published Aug. 25, 2014
Ten-year-old Julia Katz believes she will be president of the United States one day. On Sunday, the Westhampton resident said she would relinquish her aspiration to only one other woman.
“I told her that I’ve always dreamed of being the first female president, but if I’m not, I want her to be,” she said.
Julia was speaking to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was signing copies of her most recent memoir, “Hard Choices,” at Books & Books on Main Street in Westhampton Beach for two hours on Sunday afternoon.
“It was awesome,” Julia said of her few moments with the former first lady and Secretary of State, who could very well be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016. “She thanked me and wished me luck.”
Laurie James-Katz, Julia’s mother, said she was thrilled to introduce her daughter to Ms. Clinton, despite their political differences. “It’s important for young girls to know that they can do and be whatever they want to be,” she said. “Hillary sets that example.”
The small bookstore rearranged its furniture and ordered 1,000 copies of “Hard Choices” in anticipation of Sunday’s book signing. When Ms. Clinton made an appearance in East Hampton earlier this month to sign her memoir, nearly 900 fans waited in line for hours.
On Sunday, more than 1,000 people turned out for the signing and about 900 books were sold. Many said they were delighted that Ms. Clinton traveled west of the Shinnecock Canal. Both she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are renting a home in Amagansett for the month of August.
“It’s fabulous that she came to Westhampton,” Rebecca Ryan, a native of the hamlet, said after her copy of Ms. Clinton’s book was signed on Sunday. “Everyone always goes to East Hampton, and she took the time to stop here.”
Ms. Clinton, who took time to greet each of her fans and thank them for coming, began autographing copies at around 1:40 p.m., about 20 minutes ahead of schedule, to accommodate a handful of physically disabled fans.
Some of those standing in the long line that formed outside the bookstore said they got there at around 7 a.m. Sunday, in anticipation of the wait. That is when the Perkowskis of Northampton arrived in the village. “We wanted to make sure we got in,” Beverly Perkowski said. “She’s a phenomenal woman, very capable of running the country.”
Local fans were joined by members of Ready For Hillary, a political action committee vested in Ms. Clinton’s Democratic nomination for president in 2016. The group is following Ms. Clinton on her book tour in order to “show her how much support she already has from the American people,” according to Sean England, a communications associate for the group.
“I identify with her on education issues,” Mr. England said, “because my mom and sister are teachers.”
One former educator from Westhampton Beach echoed these statements. “She has the same values that I do,” said Donald Nobile, who taught social studies for 36 years and spent eight years as an administrator in Nassau County. “Democrats are what the country needs. They’ve always taken care of the middle class.”
For Books & Books co-owner Denise Berthiaume, meeting Ms. Clinton was an incredible experience.
“We are thrilled and honored to have her here,” she said on Sunday.