Former Queens congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro, the first woman nominated to run as vice president on a major party's presidential ticket, died Saturday. She was 75.
Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital this morning; she was being treated for multiple myeloma there, the blood cancer which she had struggled with for 12 years. In 1998, she had been given only three-to-five years to live.
Ferraro was born on August 26, 1935, in Newburgh, New York. The Queens Democrat, who was also an attorney, was first elected to the U.S. House in 1978, and she focused on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. In 1984, Walter Mondale chose her as his running-mate on the Democrats' ticket; they lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagen/George H. W. Bush, and carried only Minnesota in the general election. It was both an important historical moment for women in America, as well as a stressful ordeal for Ferraro: "You don’t deliberately submit people you love to something like that. I don’t think I’d run again for vice-president,” she told presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in an interview in Ladies Home Journal. She did add with a laugh, “Next time I’d run for president.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer tweeted, "Geraldine Ferraro challenged us, inspired us, and broke every boundary laid before her. We celebrate her memory today."
"Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice, and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was 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," her family said in a statement.