Geraldine Ferraro worked as an attorney before entering the political world. As a member of the Democratic Party she was a member of the House of Representatives. She also became the first woman to run for the vice-presidency of the U.S.
She was born in New York and after earning a degree in English she started working as a teacher. At the same time she went to law school at night at Fordham University. After graduation she worked as a lawyer at her husband’s company. She entered public office in 1974 when she became an assistant district attorney in Queens County. She started in the Investigations Bureau before joining the Special Victims Bureau. This unit prosecuted cases of domestic abuse, child abuse and rape.
In 1978 she ran for election in the U.S. House of Representatives. She won by telling the public how tough on crime she was. She also shared stories of her working class upbringing to show the public that she was relatable. She rose rapidly through the ranks of the Democratic Party. During her time in Congress she focused much of her work on helping women. She helped to pass legislation that would help women earn a better wage, one equal to men. She also focused her work on women’s retirement plans and pensions. Women’s issues were not her only concern, she helped to pass legislation that would help the environment
Her hard work earned her great respect within the Democratic Party. She became secretary of the Democratic Caucus as well as the chair of the Democratic Party Platform Committee for its national convention. This culminated with her being named the running mate to Walter Mondale in 1984. She was the first woman to run on a national ticket for a major party. She also became the first Italian-American to do so. During the election campaign questions were raised about her finances and controversies surrounding it, despite holding a press conference where she answered every question asked of her. And despite the fact that this was a success, Mondale and Ferraro did not win the election.
She stayed in politics after the election. She was named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 1994. She then moved back to the private sector.
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