Geraldine Anne Ferraro
Democratic nominee for Vice President

1935 - ...

Geraldine Anne Ferraro became the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1984. She was the first woman chosen as a vice presidential candidate by a major American political party. Ferraro and her presidential running mate, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, were defeated by their Republican opponents, President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush. Previously, Ferraro had served three terms in the United States House of Representatives.

Ferraro was born in Newburgh, N.Y. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College in 1956 and a law degree from Fordham University in 1960. Also in 1960, she married John A. Zaccaro. She and her husband had three children. From 1961 to 1974, Ferraro occasionally handled legal matters for her husband's real estate business. She started her career in government service in 1974, when she became an assistant district attorney in Queens County, New York.

In 1978, Ferraro was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She represented a district in Queens, from which she won reelection in 1980 and 1982. Ferraro served on the House committees on post office and civil service, public works and transportation, and budget. In 1981, she became a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which controls committee assignments for Democrats in the House. In Congress, she was known for her liberal views on domestic issues. She regularly voted for bills designed to benefit workers, women, and elderly people, and she opposed efforts to ban abortion. In 1992, she tried unsuccessfully to win the Democratic nomination for one of New York's U.S. Senate seats.

Contributor: Lee Thornton, Ph.D., Prof. of Journalism, Howard Univ.


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