Always Running, Always Prepared: Hillary Clinton As A High School Politician | Biography | live News 24×7
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Hillary Rodham was 16 when she first ran for president.

It was February 1964, her junior year of high school in this town of steeples and lawns on the rail line to Chicago. She was vice president of her class, and one of five students running to lead the student council for the next academic year.Student rock bands played in support of candidates in the hallways and cafeteria of Maine East High School.

“Stop mudslinging before it starts,” the school newspaper opined. “Keep this election clean!”

No girl had ever held the job before. “The boys would run for president, and the most popular girl would run for secretary,” says classmate Tim Sheldon, who was one of Hillary’s rivals and is now a retired judge in Elgin. Years later, in her memoir, Hillary recalled a boy telling her she was “really stupid” if she thought a girl could win.

But it was 1964, and she wasn’t even the only girl in the race. “It wasn’t acrimonious in any way,” says her female rival, Jackie Anderson Griesemer, who has fonder memories of the campaign and is now a retired speech and Bible teacher in Texas. “This was the ’60s before the ’60s got crazy. We just really enjoyed being together. It was a gentle time at Maine East.”

When Bill and Hillary Clinton emerged in the early 1990s as a national political force, they symbolized a generational shift. Photos of the future first couple from their university years – granny glasses, peacoats, shaggy hair – reinforced an image of the baby boomers ascending to power.
But the 1960s that formed Hillary Clinton were more “Happy Days” than “Easy Rider.” It still felt like the 1950s, in some ways. She may have burned with an ambition that would soon be recognized as feminist, but her politics and upbringing were conservative. She cheered for Republican firebrand Barry Goldwater that year over Democrat Lyndon Johnson.

Park Ridge was a world that hadn’t quite recognized how much it was changing, nor how much more lie ahead. It was still a place where no girl had been elected student council president – but it was becoming one where a girl knew that she could run.

Gas lamps still lined Main Street in the early 1960s. Elm trees arched above roads lined with old farmhouses, ranch-style residences and kit houses sold by Sears. Although they weren’t wealthy, the Rodhams lived in the country-club section of Park Ridge. Hillary had her own bedroom, with yellow walls, pink curtains, wood floors and a sun deck.

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Always Running, Always Prepared: Hillary Clinton As A High School Politician | Biography | live News 24×7