Geraldine Ferraro

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Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Anne Ferraro (born August 26, 1935) is best known as the first and, so far, only woman to be a candidate for Vice President of the United States on a major party ticket (although women on third-party tickets continue to run for the position). She and fellow Democrat Walter Mondale were defeated in a massive landslide by the re-election campaign of President Ronald Reagan and Vice-President George H. W. Bush in the 1984 election.

Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York. Her father, an Italian immigrant, died when she was eight; her mother was a seamstress. She received a law degree from Fordham University School of Law, going to classes at night while working as a second-grade teacher in public schools during the day. Ferraro graduated from law school in 1960, one of only two women in her graduating class.

Married to Realtor John Zaccaro, she raised three children, then joined the Queens County district attorney's office. There she started the Special Victims Bureau. Ferraro retained her maiden name after marriage.

Ferraro was elected to the House of Representatives from New York's Ninth Congressional District in Queens in 1978 and served three two-year terms, compiling a generally liberal voting record on social and economic issues.

In her acceptance speech upon being chosen Mondale's running mate, Ferraro said, "The daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice president in the new land my father came to love." As a Catholic, Ferraro came under fire from the Roman Catholic Church for being pro-choice, which contradicts the Church's dogma.

Mondale and Ferraro lost the race, but Ferraro's candidacy changed the American perception of women in politics.

She published an autobiography, Ferraro: My Story, in 1985, and in 1992 ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. From 19961998 she was cohost on Crossfire, a political commentary show on the cable television network CNN. She continues to provide political commentary as a frequent guest on national television news programs.

Ferraro serves as president of G&L Strategies, a management consulting firm. In 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the second-most common form of blood cancer after leukemia.

External links and references

Preceded by:
Walter Mondale
Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate
1984 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Lloyd Bentsen

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