Democrat Hillary Clinton made history this year when she became the first woman to be nominated by a major U.S. political party as a presidential candidate. Her rallying cry in the hard-fought battle against Republican challenger Donald Trump: “Stronger Together.” In her campaign, Clinton emphasized issues such as health care, education, national security, and the well-being of women and children.
The 2016 presidential campaign wasn’t Clinton’s first time breaking barriers. In 2001, she became the only former First Lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate, serving two terms as a senator from New York. (Her husband, Bill Clinton, was president from 1993 to 2001.) In 2008, Clinton became the first First Lady to run for president. Although she lost that campaign to Barack Obama, Clinton would serve in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013 as U.S. secretary of state. Of the 66 people to hold this key role before Clinton, only two were women.
Clinton was born Hillary Rodham in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1947. Her father owned a small curtain-making business. Her mother was a full-time homemaker. Clinton attended Wellesley College, in Massachusetts. She went on to study law at Yale University, where she met Bill Clinton. They were married in 1975. Hillary pursued her law career in Arkansas while Bill served as the state’s governor.
Most polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But her campaign was bogged down by criticism for her use of a private e-mail system during her time as secretary of state and other issues. Critics said messages containing sensitive or secret information could have gotten into the wrong hands. An FBI investigation said she had been “extremely careless” but did not recommend that criminal charges be pressed.
On Election Day, Clinton narrowly defeated Trump in the popular vote, but lost the all-important Electoral College vote. A candidate needs to gain at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes.
“We must accept this result and then look to the future,” Clinton said in her concession speech. “This loss hurts. But please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” For her decades of public service, for breaking boundaries, and for inspiring girls and women, Hillary Clinton is a nominee for TFK’s 2016 Person of the Year.
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