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Democrat Barbara Boxer served ten years in the House of Representatives before being elected Senator for the state of California.
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In 1994, Boxer's daughter Nicole married Tony Rodham, the brother of then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Rose Garden ceremony, in which teenage First Daughter Chelsea Clinton served as a bridesmaid, was the first White House wedding in 23 years. Tony and Nicole Rodham had one son, but divorced in 2000.
After winning reelection in 1998, Boxer planned to retire at the end of her second term. She changed her mind, she said, after hearing then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) admonish Democrats for criticizing the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "Then I got really fearful for my country," Boxer said. "The greatest thing about our country is that we're free and that we debate and we talk." In the 2004 election, Boxer won a third term by crushing Republican Bill Jones. Because California's population is so large and Boxer's margin of victory was so great, her 2004 haul of nearly 7 million popular votes was greater than that earned by any other U.S. Senator in history. Following the election, Boxer took a position in the Democratic Party's Senate leadership as Chief Deputy Whip.
In 2010, Boxer ran for a fourth term in the Senate, facing off against first-time Republican candidate and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina. Despite serious economic and employment crises facing California at the time, one of the most-discussed moments of the campaign in the national press came after Fiorina was caught on tape calling Boxer's hairstyle "so yesterday." Boxer's campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski responded, "Let her talk about hair; we're talking about jobs."
In addition to her work in the Senate, Boxer has written two novels—A Time to Run and Blind Trust—and made cameo appearances in movies and television shows including Murphy Brown, Traffic and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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