Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Historic Firsts

Hillary Clinton is the first woman nominated for President by a major party. This is an important milestone that will only be exceeded by her being elected President. It will rank along side of the election of Barack Obama as the first person of color to be elected President.

Since I don't want to ignore Donald Trump, because we all know how whiny he can get, if Trump is elected he will be the first person with absolutely no prior experience in public service (elected office, cabinet post, victorious general) to be gifted the presidency.

Here are a few other notable firsts:
First Woman Elected To Congress: Jeannette Rankin
Elected from the state of Montana in 1916, four years before the 19th Amendment granted universal suffrage to women, Montana had granted suffrage to women in 1914. She ran again in 1940 to defeat a pro-fascist scoundrel named Jacob Thorkelson. Rankin is also notable as the only person to vote in Congress against the United States entering both World War I and II.

First Woman Elected to the Senate: Hattie Caraway
In a special election in 1932, Caraway was elected senator from the state of Arkansas, filling the seat of her recently deceased husband. She was reelected to a full term in November of that year. She was reelected again in 1938. The first woman Senator was Rebecca Felton, but she only served one day in 1922 before being replaced by a man.

First Women Elected Governors of a State: Miriam Ferguson, Nellie Ross
1924 saw two states elected women governors. In a special election, Nellie Ross ran for governor of Wyoming to complete the term of her husband who had died in office. She lost a reelection bid.

Then there was "Ma" Ferguson of Texas. In typical Texas fashion, her husband, James "Pa" Ferguson, had been governor when he was impeached and removed from office in 1917. When she ran a common campaign slogan was "Me for Ma, and I Ain't Got a Durned Thing Against Pa." She lost a reelection bid in 1926 mostly because her husband had again got caught with his hands in the public till. She ran and won again in 1932.

First Women Senator Elected on Her Own: Margaret Chase Smith
Up to 1948, every woman to become senator had been replacing her deceased husband (except Dixie Graves who was appointed by her governor husband) and none had been elected to a full term. While Margaret Smith had replaced her dead husband in his congressional seat eight years previously, she won her senate seat totally on her own merit and served for 24 years as a respected member of the upper body. Although also a Republican, in 1950, Sen. Smith publicly denounced Joseph McCarthy at the heights of his Trump-like popularity. In 1964 she also the first woman to run for the presidential nomination of a major party.

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