President Carter was elected in 1976. And Rosalynn Carter began immediately redefining the role of a first lady.
She established an office in the East Wing, the first of its kind. She also employed a dedicated staff to aid her in her advocacy.
A trusted adviser to the president, Rosalynn actively participated in both foreign and domestic affairs, holding regular meetings with President Carter in the Oval Office.
Rosalynn Carter’s influence extended globally as she embarked on international travels, promoting her platform on mental health care and supporting her husband’s stance on human rights.
Notably, she advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment and worked towards legal gender equality. Colleagues and friends remember her as genuine, warm, and selfless, prioritizing the well-being of others over material possessions.
Inspired by personal experiences, Rosalynn Carter dedicated much of her life to mental health reform. As the honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, she played a crucial role in passing the Mental Health Systems Act in 1980, providing grants to community mental health centers.