Michelle Obama is the 44th First Lady of the United States, but before she moved to the White House, she was an associate at a Chicago law firm, executive director of the Chicago Office of Public Allies, and an associate dean at the University of Chicago. As First Lady, she advocates for healthy living, poverty awareness, and educational opportunities for all. She has accomplished curriculum vitae—including a J.D. from Harvard—and is capable of more political strides in the future.
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Hilary Rodham Clinton
Hilary Clinton’s resume is quite extensive. Her experience in law reaches back to her time in Arkansas, where she was a trailblazing lawyer and was then-governor Bill Clinton’s first lady. While First Lady of the United States, Clinton was head of the Task Force on National Care Reform and actively participated in public policy.
After being New York’s first female senator from 2001 to 2009, Clinton ran for president, ultimately losing the Democratic bid to Barack Obama. She returned to the White House as Secretary of State for President Obama ‘s first term, and now she’s back on the campaign trail. Clinton supports many liberal issues, such as rights for the LGBT community and undocumented immigrants.
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Nikki Haley became governor of South Carolina in 2010, and is the first woman and Indian-American to hold her state’s office. Before being elected as governor, Haley was a state representative from 2004 to 2008. She is a member of the Tea Party, which is reflected in her anti-tax and fiscally conservative viewpoints. Most recently, Governor Haley is known for calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol building.
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Carly Fiorina is the only female Republican in the 2016 presidential race. Although she doesn’t have a long history in political leadership (she worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign and ran for California senate in 2010), Fiorina is best known for her business expertise. In 1999, Fiorina became CEO of Hewlett-Packard, making her the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company. She has proved her leadership time and time again, both in the business world and as chairman of a variety of organizations, such as the American Conservative Union Foundation and Opportunity International.
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No matter what you’ve heard, Elizabeth Warren is not running for president. The Massachusetts senator is loved by Democrats and the middle class. She’s a renowned commercial law expert, and was the inaugural advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993. In 1959, Ginsberg graduated at the top of her class at Columbia Law, and later became Columbia’s first tenured female professor. Ginsberg has always been pioneering for gender equality. She is known for her 1996 decision in United States v. Virginia, which allowed women admittance into the public Virginia Military Institute, and won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her commitment to equality.
Condoleezza Rice served as National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005, and as Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. As Secretary of State, Rice advocated for the global spread of democracy. In enacting her vision of “transformational diplomacy”, Rice sent diplomats to the Middle East, requiring them to become active in instituting a democratic government (and pick up the local language). Rice herself was a dedicated diplomat and is known for travelling more miles than any other secretary of state. As of 2008, Rice returned to Stanford as a professor. She has officially retired from politics, shifting her focus to education instead.
Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice, was appointed by President Obama in 2009. A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton and Yale law alum, Sotomayor is a strong proponent for affirmative action, which helped her attend Princeton even though she came from a low-income Puerto Rican family. Sotomayor was among the majority in two high-profile cases: King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges.
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If you haven’t heard of Saira Blair, she’s worth looking up. At just 18 years old, Blair became the youngest elected legislator in America in the November 2014 mid-term election. She represents the 59th district in the West Virginia House of Delegates and is a Republican. Blair hopes to breathe life into the GOP, which carries a reputation for being older. She is fiscally conservative, pro-gun, and anti-abortion. Who said all Republicans were old men?
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In 1981, Nancy Reagan became First Lady of the United States. She was an influential figure in the White House and even suggested that President Reagan and USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet at regular summit conferences, which helped ease some tensions of the Cold War. Nancy Reagan is best known for her anti-drug advocacy; she launched the “Just Say No” campaign in 1982 and was the first First Lady to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, where she discussed international drug trafficking.