Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate of a major party has passed away. In a statement released by her family, it was announced that she died on Saturday, March 26, 2011 from complications related to blood cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ms. Ferraro was 75 years old.
The first woman and the first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket, Geraldine Ferraro was widely known as a leader and a fighter for justice even before she joined Walter Mondale to run as his vice president. In the statement released by her family, Ms. Ferraro was described as, ” a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family. Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed.”
Ferraro was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. She served New York’s ninth congressional district for three terms. Ferraro ran as Walter Mondale’s running mate in the 1984 presidential election. The delegates at the Democratic National Convention erupted into cheers when Ferraro began her speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination.
“My name is Geraldine Ferraro,” she declared. “I stand before you to proclaim tonight: America is the land where dreams can come true for all of us.”
In addition to running as vice president, Ferraro also ran campaigns for a seat in the United States Senate from New York in 1992 and 1998, both times emerging as the front-runner for her party’s nomination but losing in primary elections both times. She served as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1993 until 1996, in the presidential administration of Bill Clinton. She also continued her career as a journalist, author, and businesswoman, and served in the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.