Thursday, April 28, 2011

103: The Self-Empowered Woman: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Dear Followers,

Today I'd like you to meet the Florida Congresswoman who is scheduled to become the first woman elected to lead the Democratic National Committee. The married mother of three from Florida's 20th Congressional District is 44 years old, which means that she will be the youngest committee leader in decades (13: More Than Meets the Eye).

Debbie Wasserman Schultz was born in Forest Hills, New York and grew up in Long Island. She came to Florida for college and earned a B.A. in Political Science in 1988 and then a Masters in the same subject in 1990; both from the University of Florida.

In Washington, D.C. (according to the New York Times) "Wasserman Schultz has long been one of the '-est' girls: youngest, smartest, funniest, toughest." Before coming to Washington, she served in the Florida State Legislature where, at age 26, she became the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida House. She is so popular in her Broward County District that in 2010 she was re-elected to Congress (where she has served since 2004) with 60% of the vote. She is the first Jewish woman to be elected as a Congresswoman in Florida.

One of her former Congressional roommates, Melissa Bean, commented that Wasserman Schultz would fall asleep at night with her head on her laptop or briefing book. And that drive even extended to her annual charity softball game where she was so anxious to slide into second base that she broke her ankle (10: The Critic Within).

In 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but only told her closest friends because "I didn't want it to define me." She scheduled her double mastectomy operations during congressional breaks (12: Hard Times). In addition to her husband ("I married a great guy"), Steve Schultz (4: Supportive Someone), she has eleven year old twins and a seven year old daughter (16: Intensive Motherhood).

In 2005, Forward, a national Jewish newspaper, named her as one of the 50 most influential leaders in the American Jewish community.

Looking forward to your comments...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing about this lovely ambitious and directed woman. We need more leaders like Ms Schultz. Her clarity, courage and intelligence make her most worthy of note by women everywhere.

    I do hope she has a long career in Congress and that at some point her profile becomes a national one- beyond the borders of Florida.