A History of Firsts

[Adapted from Wikipedia]

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is an American politician who served as the 67th United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. The wife of the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, she was First Lady of the United States during his tenure from 1993 to 2001. She served as a United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 12.20.08 AMAn Illinois native, Hillary Rodham graduated from Wellesley College in 1969, where she became the first student and first female student commencement speaker, then earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973. After a stint as a Congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas, marrying Bill Clinton in 1975. She co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977, became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978, and was named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979. The National Law Journal twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America. While First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, she led a task force that reformed Arkansas’ education system, while sitting on the board of directors of Wal-Mart, among other corporations.

As First Lady of the United States, her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan of 1993, failed to reach a vote in Congress. In 1997 and 1999, she played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act. The only First Lady to have been subpoenaed, she testified before a federal grand jury in 1996 regarding the Whitewater controversy, and no charges were ever brought as a result. Her marriage to the president was subject to considerable public discussion following the Lewinsky scandal of 1998, and she was the first First Lady to demonstrate forgiveness and understanding about her husband’s indiscretions while in full view of the American public.  She opted to honor her marriage, repair her relationship and keep her family intact and she remains happily married to this day.

After moving to New York, Clinton was elected in 2000 as the first female senator from the state, the first and so far only First Lady ever to have sought elected office. Clinton was also the first and only First Lady ever re-elected to the Senate in 2006, where she built her reputation as a Senator who could cross the aisle and work to find common ground between both parties, at a time when Congressional politics were becoming increasingly polarized. Clinton then became the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Presidential nomination as a front-runner in the 2008 presidential election. Clinton won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, but ultimately lost the nomination to the first African-American presidential candidate, Barack Obama.  Hillary is the first female candidate to lose in a primary, who went on to throw her support and that of her followers behind an African-American presidential candidate, who then successfully won two elections and two terms in the White House.

Hillary Clinton was the first former First Lady woman to be asked to serve as Secretary of State, after having waged and lost a Democratic primary and then recruited by the winner to serve as Secretary of State.  When she resigned from the Senate to serve as Secretary of State, which she did in the Obama administration from January 2009 to February 2013, she became the first First Lady to serve in the U.S. Cabinet.

Clinton visited more countries than any other Secretary of State and, between her 8 years of service as First Lady, eight in the Senate and then four more years as Secretary of State, she has personally met and built up her relationships with more heads of state than virtually any other individual in the U.S., male or female, aside from Bill Clinton.  In 2015, Clinton because the first woman to ever run a second time for president of the United States.  In Clinton’s first quarter of fundraising after announcing her 2015 bid, she raised the most money ever collected by a candidate in the first quarter of their campaign in the history of the country.

If elected in 2016, Hillary Clinton could become the first female President of the United States, the first former First Lady to ever attain the office of President of the United States and her election would result in the first time a former President became First Gentleman of the United States.

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