by Yoon Joung Lee
The 67th United States Secretary of State, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois to her father, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham and her mother, Dorothy Emma Howell. She was the eldest daughter and grew up with two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony in suburban Park Ridge, Illinois
As a young student, Hillary was a teacher’s favorite because she not only studied hard but also earned numerous awards as a Brownie and Girl Scout. She was very athletic; participated in swimming, baseball, and other sports. She organized food drives to serve student government. She was active in young republican groups and campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. In 1968 after she heard the speech of Reverend Martin Luther King, she became a Democrat and started to work in some form of public service.
In 1969 Hillary graduated from Wellesley College and enrolled in Yale Law School where she met Bill Clinton who was a fellow law student. During her summers as a college student, she came to Washington, D.C. to work for U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee on migrant workers. In 1972, she moved to the western states to work on campaign of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.
In 1974, Hillary graduated from Yale Law School with honors and became a member of the presidential impeachment inquiry staff to advise the Judiciary committee of the House of Representatives during the Watergate Scandal. After the president resigned, she worked for the University of Arkansas Law School as a faculty member. Her law school fellow and boyfriend, Bill Clinton was teaching there at that time. In 1975, they married and their daughter, Chelsea, was born in 1980.
In 1976, she worked for Jimmy Carter’s successful campaign for president. Meanwhile, her husband Bill was elected Attorney General. In 1978, Bill was elected governor. Although he lost re-election in 1980, he came back to win in 1982, 1094, 1986 and 1990. As First Lady of Arkansas for over 10 years, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and worked as a chair for the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee.
In 1988 and 1991, she was selected as one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in America by The National Law Journal. During the 1992 presidential campaign, she stood next by Bill Clinton as dynamic and valued partner. When he took office in 1993, he asked Hillary to serve as a chair for the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. She advocated to improve health care quality and to provide health insurance for the uninsured and the underinsured. She was also ambitious about increasing immunizations for preschool-age children, pushing for an expansion of children’s health insurance coverage, advocating for innovative prenatal care and raising awareness of the impact of tobacco on children.
In 1998, the White House was engulfed by the President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. The president was impeached, but the U.S. Senate failed to convict and the president remained in office. While Bill Clinton limited to two terms left in the White House, Hillary sought the U.S. Senate seat from New York. As she beat popular Republican Rick Lazio by wide margin: 55 to 43 percent, she became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. In 2006, she was again re-elected.
In 2007, Hillary Clinton announced her plan to run for the U.S. president - to be the first female president. In 2008, she failed to win the nomination as Barack Obama held a majority of the delegate vote. President Obama nominated Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State in his 2009 cabinet and she accepted the nomination. With her own special talents, experience and interest, many people believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the powerful and influential women in American history.