As President of the American Red Cross, Elizabeth Dole has led an extraordinary public service career in which she has served six United States Presidents and has been named by the Gallup Poll as one of the world”s ten most admired women.
Born and raised in Salisbury, North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole was apparently always diligent. She obtained excellent grades and won the prize in an essay writing competition offered annually by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Her classmates voted her “Most Likely to Succeed,” and would often remark that she would one day be a First Lady or a President. Following in her brother”s footsteps, she attended Duke University. She was elected president of the Women”s Student Government Association. Elizabeth Dole left Duke with a bachelor”s degree in political science, with recognition as Student Leader of the Year, Phi Beta Kappa and was the May Queen. She then went on to earn her law degree from Harvard Law School as well as obtaining a master”s in education and government from Harvard.
Elizabeth Dole headed the White House Office of Consumer Affairs under both Presidents Johnson and Nixon. It was there that she began a career-long dedication to public safety, for which she received the National Safety Council”s Distinguished Service Award in 1989. By 1974, Nixon had appointed her a Federal Trade Commissioner.
She and Bob Dole were married in 1975 while she was still with the FTC, and when he became the Vice Presidential candidate under Jerry Ford, she took a leave of absence to campaign for him. In 1980, the now married Elizabeth Dole, impressed Ronald Reagan to the extent that he appointed her director of his transition team”s human services group and a year later, promoted her to head of the White House Office of Public Liaison. In February 1983, Elizabeth Dole joined President Reagan”s Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation – the first woman to hold that position.
During her four years at Transportation, the United States enjoyed the safest years in its history in all three major areas – rail, air, and highway. Some of her many safety initiatives included a new regulation which required air bags or automatic safety belts in all new cars and spawned safety belt laws in 36 states and the District of Columbia. She led the crusade to raise the drinking age to 21; directed the overhaul of the aviation safety inspection system; and imposed tougher aviation security measures at the U.S. airports, which led to tightened security measures around the world. She also oversaw the sale of CONRAIL, the government-owned freight railroad that returned $1.2 billion dollars to the U.S. Treasury.
In January of 1989, President Bush swore in Elizabeth Dole as the nation”s 20th Secretary of Labor. As Labor Secretary, she served as the President”s chief adviser on labor and work force issues. She has worked to help shatter the “glass ceiling” for America”s working women and minorities, increase safety and health in the workplace, upgrade the skills of the American work force, and improve relations between labor and management, playing a key role in bringing the parties together to resolve the bitter eleven month Pittston Coal Strike.
In 1993, Women Executives in State Government honored Elizabeth Dole with their Lifetime Achievement Award for her many achievements in helping women and minorities break through the “glass ceiling.” Also this year, she was selected for induction into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International for her numerous transportation, workplace, and blood safety accomplishments. She went on to receive the North Carolina Press Association”s first “North Carolinian of the Year” Award.
As President of the American Red Cross, Elizabeth Dole oversaw nearly 30,000 staff members and more than 1.5 million volunteers who comprise the world”s foremost humanitarian organization. She was a member of that volunteer force in 1991, taking no salary her first year.
The American Red Cross provides 52% of America”s blood supply. While blood is “overwhelmingly safe,” to quote the Food and Drug Administration, four months into her presidency, Elizabeth Dole secured approval of the organization”s Board of Governors to launch a sweeping $148 million state of the art blood system which will be able to quickly and efficiently incorporate medical technology as it evolves.
Following two years of record breaking natural disasters, Elizabeth Dole launched an aggressive relief campaign that raised $172 million dollars in 1992 to assist victims of disasters including Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki.
Elizabeth Dole certainly has the political credentials as well as strong other values. She understands how to be powerful and yet remain human, warm and sincere. She understands the importance of integrity, morality, and accountability in government. With all the scandal that Bill Clinton has brought to Washington, observers say that Mrs. Dole”s strong religious and traditional values could work as a remedy. If our country will ever be ready for a female in the Oval Office it is now, with Elizabeth Dole. There will be, however, significant electoral, institutional, and constitutional ramifications if she is elected.
First of all, the Electoral College will be jumbled. As Elizabeth Dole is a strong member of the Republican Party, electing a woman to the presidential office is a very democratic move. Therefore, many of the Democratic electoral voters may cast their votes in the direction of Elizabeth Dole, rather than their own presidential candidate, and vice versa for the Republican electoral voters. These electoral voters will be in a cross-pressured situation that will blur the outcome of the election to a certain degree.
The institutional effects of Elizabeth Dole”s election to office will be in two major parts: (1) Her leadership of the American Red Cross as well as her association with and involvement in the American political system will adhere to a knowledge of those and similar institutions, and (2) the mass media will curb the campaigns with an instance never before been seriously tampered with.
Although many may argue against Elizabeth Dole”s ability to act as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, she seems to have the confidence and the aid to do so. She is very much in favor of restoring America”s Defense capability. “The readiness of our troops is in question and a whole generation of outdated military equipment is waiting to be replaced…. I believe there is an urgent need to refurbish our military and resolve to develop and deploy a strategic missile defense system at the earliest possible date.”
Furthermore, the Presidency has become an institution itself, containing many aids, helping in the decision-making procedure and the management of domestic policy, economic policy, foreign affairs, congressional relations, and public relations. Her knowledge both of executive power as well as working closely with executives and their aids (referring to U.S. Presidents) has given her tremendously valuable experience that readies her for her tasks as a President of the United States.
Now, the mass media always has a great influence in the public opinion of politics due to their coverage and choice of material presented to this public. This can be looked upon as an advantage for Elizabeth Dole. The media will, without fail, give special attention to her campaign, for she is the first woman in American history to have a prospect of securing the Presidency. Statistics have shown that voters tend to favor those candidates who have a combination of sufficient media coverage and charisma, the latter of which Elizabeth Dole undeniably possesses. Therefore, with this ensemble and her qualifications, Elizabeth Dole will be giving the public eye something they”ve been waiting to see in a presidential candidate…the background, the experience, the disposition, the intelligence and the integrity to run our country with our full faith.
The Constitutional effects have much to do with Elizabeth Dole”s platform as well as the intermingling of powers. The issue of a Republican woman elected President being a Democratic move could induce a more efficient process of law making in Congress. Furthermore, Elizabeth Dole is a firm believer in rolling back the bureaucracy. This refers directly to the tenth amendment of the Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The founding fathers inserted this amendment for fear of the development and consolidation of a powerful and meddlesome federal government. These days, our federal government maintains numerous and indefinite powers as the states hold few.
The Federal Government has become too big, too complex, too bureaucratic. Decisions once made in state legislatures, in city halls and around kitchen tables are now made in Washington…. What we need to do, it seems, is to remember the wisdom of our country”s founders, and the tenth Amendment to the Constitution: those powers not specifically delegated to the federal government or prohibited to the states are reserved for the states and for “we the people” – you and me!
Elizabeth Dole is not a power hungry politician like the ones we today to whom we are so accustomed. She is a politically knowledgeable and powerful woman who has the ability to stand strong as the head of the world”s most powerful nation.
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