Hazel O’leary is born. She would go on to become Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton.
1937 (May 17)
Hazel O'Leary was born in Newport News, Virginia. She received her bachelor's degree from Fisk College in 1959 and graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1966. She served as a utilities regulator under presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and as executive vice president of the Northern States Power Co., where she functioned as a Washington lobbyist. A proponent of energy conservation and alternative energy sources, O'Leary was appointed Secretary of Energy by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She came under heavy scrutiny in the mid-1990s for using government money to pay a consulting firm to rank reporters by how favorably they treated her in their news coverage. She was also criticized for lavish spending on overseas travel. Though Vice President Al Gore came to her defense, noting that her trips had helped create new job opportunities in the United States, O'Leary resigned at the end of President Clinton's first term late in 1996.