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February 22: The Liberal Stalwart

Abraham Ribicoff, a liberal stalwart of the Democratic Party who served as Congressional representative, senator, Cabinet secretary of health, education, and welfare, and the first and only Jewish governor of Connecticut, died at 87 on this date in 1998. Ribicoff became best known as a confidante and advisor to John F. Kennedy (he turned down […]

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February 17: The First Jewish Woman in Congress

Florence Prag Kahn, at age 58, became the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on this date in 1925. She beat two other candidates in her San Francisco district to succeed her husband, Representative Julius Kahn, who had died after being reelected to his 13th term. Florence Kahn would herself be […]

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May 18: The Liberal Republican

Jacob Javits, the last staunchly liberal Republican senator — he became a Republican in reaction to the corrupt Democratic politics of Tammany Hall — was born to pushcart peddlers on the Lower East Side on this date in 1904. Javits earned a degree in Columbia University night school, and a law degree from NYU in […]

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February 14: The Billionaire Mayor

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York from 2002-13 and the eighth wealthiest person in the world (according to Forbes in 2015) thanks to his creation of Bloomberg L.P., a financial data company, was born in Boston on this date in 1942. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Bloomberg became a partner at Salomon […]

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September 28: Madeleine Kunin

Madeleine Kunin, the first Jewish woman elected as a governor of a state (Vermont, from 1985 to 1991), was born in Zurich, Switzerland on this date in 1933. She moved to the U.S. with her mother in 1940 (her father died, a suicide, when she was 3), and worked as a journalist for the Burlington […]

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September 25: Robert Briscoe

Robert Briscoe, a son of Lithuanian Jews who was active in the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21), was born in Ranelagh on this date in 1894. His father built up a very successful furniture manufacturing business in Ireland, while Briscoe himself — sent to America by his […]

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March 12: Premier of New Zealand

Julius Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand, died at 64 on this date in 1899. Vogel served in the office from 1873 to 1875 and again in 1876. Vogel’s political career was highlighted by land acquisition from the indigenous Māori people (whom he sought to see assimilated into white culture), by efforts to gain […]

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March 2: Senator Russ Feingold

Russell Dana Feingold, who served as U.S. senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011, was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on this date in 1953. Feingold was a left-leaning legislator, significantly more so than most Democrats, and was the only senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act. He worked on campaign finance reform, in opposition […]

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November 11: Senator Barbara Boxer

A United States senator from California since 1993, Barbara Boxer was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1940. She worked as a stockbroker and as a journalist before her election to the House of Representatives in 1982, where she served for five terms. Her major progressive contributions as a four-term senator have included blocking […]

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