Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is a formidable woman; she has achieved many firsts in her roles as First Lady of the United States, US Senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 26, 1947. The daughter of Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham, she has two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony and they grew up as a close family in Park Ridge, Illinois.
She initially expressed her interest in politics at the age of 13 when she closely followed the 1960 US presidential election where she found evidence of electoral fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. She then went on to campaign for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the US presidential election of 1964.
As a teenager, she was an exceptional student at Maine East High School where she participated in student council, the school newspaper, and was selected for the National Honour Society.
In her senior year, she was a National Merit Finalist and graduated in the top five per cent of the class of 1965.
In the same year, Clinton enrolled at Wellesley College where she majored in political science. She graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Arts, with departmental honours in political science. She then went to attend Yale Law School where she would meet her husband Bill Clinton. While at Yale, she took on cases of child abuse and migrant workers’ problems showing her ambition to do all that she can to help her country.
She was seen as someone with a bright political future but she later wrote, “I chose to follow my heart instead of my head.” She chose to marry Bill and follow him to Arkansas instead of staying in Washington where career prospects were brighter for her.
While her husband was beginning his path towards the presidency, Clinton maintained her interest in children’s law and family policy and she was appointed to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation by President Jimmy Carter, where she served as the chair of that board (the first woman to do so) from 1978 to 1981.
She was also the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm. Due to campaigning for her husband’s elections and having children, she rarely did trial work but the firm considered her a rainmaker because she brought in clients.
In January 1993, she became the First Lady of the United States and the first one to hold a postgraduate degree and have her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House.
She served as first lady from 1993 to 2001, was a valued partner to her husband and campaigned for women’s rights at home and internationally.
After her husband’s presidency ended in 2001, she successfully ran for senator of New York, positioning herself in the centre for the Democratic Party. She continued to make a difference by taking action by voting for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but distancing herself from the conflict and urging for the withdrawal of US troops when she realised that all was not right. She won the re-election as a senator in 2006 before deciding to run for President in 2007.
During the 2008 Democratic primaries, she gave up her nomination when it became clear that Barack Obama held a majority of the delegate vote. After winning the national election, Obama made Clinton Secretary of State.
She was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2009 and served in that position until 2013, becoming the first-ever first lady to serve in the US cabinet.
Some are under the impression that these health problems may have cast a shadow over any future political roles but regardless of the health problems she may have recently encountered, she is considered to be the leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2016. After all, if anyone has proved that anything is possible, it’s Hillary Clinton.
This article was originally produced for Gen Y Times.