Carol Moseley Braun was the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate, where she served from 1993-1999. As of today, she is the only African-American woman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate, the only woman ever to defeat an incumbent in a senate race and the only woman senator ever elected from Illinois.
Her most recent political foray, a run for the democratic nomination for mayor of Chicago, ended on January 22 of this year when she was defeated by Rahm Emanuel. Moseley Braun, best described as a fiscal centrist and a social liberal, is an embodiment of the idea that balanced budgets and social safety nets are not mutually exclusive. With a long history of fighting for women, minorities and the disenfranchised, Moseley Braun has a voting history which shows her fighting for reproductive rights, against bans on gay marriage and to ensure that all of her constituents have a voice.
Moseley Braun was the first African-American presidential candidate on a major political ticket when she ran in 2003. She eventually withdrew to endorse Howard Dean, but her run may have opened doors for the runs of current President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008. When asked by The Grist if she thought her run benefited Obama and Clinton, Moseley Braun replied:
I certainly hope so. I decided to run when my little 10-year-old niece said, “But Auntie Carol, all the presidents are boys.” And I stood there and I said, “Sweetie, girls can be president, too” — knowing I was lying to her. And I just decided I was not going to let that lie stand. That was the reason I got out there to run.
And I hope that by doing so it made it a little easier for Barack and for Hillary, and for any nontraditional candidate. We need to open it up so that the American people can tap the best and the brightest in whatever shape they come in.
In 1983, Moseley Braun even sued her own party on behalf of African-American and Hispanic constituents in Crosby v. State Board of Elections.
Outside of politics, Carol Moseley Braun runs her own organic and biodynamic food company Ambassador Organics.
Moseley Braun is a bold, passionate and tireless woman, and I can’t help but think the world would be a better place with more women like her in positions of power.