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Bill Clinton

Presidency

What Clinton cabinet members were the first women to hold such positions in American history?

Madeleine Albright and Janet Reno were the first women to serve as secretary of state and U.S. attorney general, respectively, in American history. Born in Czechoslovakia, Albright served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993 before Clinton elevated her as to secretary of state in 1997, replacing Warren Christopher. The Senate confirmed her by a vote of ninety-nine to zero. She later published her memoir titled Madam Secretary (2003).

Janet Reno became the first female U.S. attorney general in U.S. history in 1993. Clinton had actually chosen Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, but both of them withdrew their names from consideration after both admitted they had employed an illegal alien as nannies. Reno, a graduate of Harvard law school, had served as state attorney for Miami-Dade County for many years. She helped to create the nation’s first drug court during her tenure. She served as Clinton’s only attorney general.



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