In 2015, America saw the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations, a brand-new House Speaker, a whopping 17 people declare their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, and a Bush and a Clinton once again enter the race for the White House. Here’s a look at 2015’s political firsts.
Same-Sex couple campaign ad
Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president with a campaign ad released April 12, 2015. While the obvious big news was that Clinton was running for president again, there was something else about the presidential announcement ad that caught national attention. New Yorkers Jared Milrad and Nathan Johnson are two of the “everyday” Americans in Clinton’s ad, marking the first time a same-sex couple has been featured in a major party candidate’s presidential announcement.
First time a president mentions “transgender” in SOTU address
“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” President Obama said during his sixth State of the Union address in January 2015.
First Speaker from Wisconsin
Following the pope’s visit, House Speaker John Boehner announced he will be stepping down. House conservatives scrambled to find someone to replace Boehner, and called for one reluctant Wisconsin representative to run for House speaker: Rep. Paul Ryan.
First two Cuban-Americans to run for GOP nomination
In March, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the first candidate to throw his hat into the 2016 race. That day, Cruz also became the first Cuban American to run for president. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio followed, announcing his bid for the White House in April.
First joint address to congress by a pope
On Sept. 24, 2015, Pope Francis became the first pontiff to address a joint session of U.S. Congress. “I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Pope Francis said. His historic address delivered from the House chamber addressed a number of issues including immigration, climate change, Cuba, and religious freedom.
First official run by Donald Trump for President
This year was the first time that Donald Trump officially became a candidate for president after toying with the idea of running in previous years. He previously appeared interested in running in the 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections.
First GOP female candidate for president to run without political experience
Republican presidential nominee Carly Fiorina has never held political office. She did run for US Senate in 2012 against Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, and lost. However, Fiorina argues it’s her experience as CEO at Hewlett-Packard that makes her fit for office. That makes her the first woman who has never held office to be considered a viable candidate for the Republican nomination for president.