Hillary Rodham Clinton, powerhouse politician and perhaps the single most popular public figure in the country, undoubtedly ranks among the most powerful women in the world. She is certainly the most powerful former first lady in American history; she was an essential part of her husband’s staff, was a wildly popular senator from our state, and served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.
Born Hillary Diane Rodham in Illinois, Ms. Clinton began her political career as a teenager, campaigning for Barry Goldwater in 1964. Ms. Clinton changed her political leanings during her time at Wellesley College. She attended Yale Law School, developed an interest in advocacy for children’s, women’s and human rights, and met Bill Clinton.
Ms. Clinton served as head of the Task Force on National Health Reform during her husband’s presidency and played an important role in supporting human and women’s rights internationally. Ms. Clinton created a great many wide-ranging policies and initiatives, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
In 2000, Ms. Clinton became the first wife of a former president to be elected to the Senate from New York. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Ms. Clinton was instrumental in obtaining funding for redevelopment of the World Trade Center. She also led an investigation concerning the health of 9/11 first responders. In 2005, Ms. Clinton introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act in an effort to protect children from violent media.
Hillary Clinton ran for president herself, of course, declaring her intentions via a famous YouTube video that stated, “I’m in it to win.” Indeed, she was the clear front-runner to win the Democratic nomination until her previous support for the war in Iraq and a gifted orator named Barack Obama combined to undo that ambition. Although defeated, Ms. Clinton accepted a role in President Obama’s administration and served him with exceptional distinction, becoming one of the most widely traveled secretaries of state in history. Her recent retirement and new role as a public speaker is viewed by most as a stepping-stone to a second run at the White House. Meanwhile, this force of nature—who was born in Illinois, came of age in Arkansas and was groomed in Washington, D.C.—has become the quintessential New Yorker.