Meet the spouses of the 2016 presidential candidates

Randi Mattox

Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Obama are among some of the most notable first ladies of the United States. It is hard to imagine their husbands’ presidencies without their influence. The president’s spouse plays an important role in the White House that is often overlooked. 

The entire country seems to know everything about the 2016 presidential front-runners, but I bet most people wouldn’t be able to name their spouses. If you are one of those people, here is a look at the potential first ladies and gentlemen of 2016: 


Jane Sanders:

Jane Sanders grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Goddard College and received doctorates in leadership and policy studies from Union Institute and University. Jane Sanders is a former president of Burlington College and has worked as a political and educational consultant for political campaigns.

Jane Sanders met Bernie Sanders in 1981 on the night of Bernie Sander’s first mayoral win in Burlington, Vermont. The couple got married in 1988 and have four children: Levi, Heather, Carina and David. Jane Sanders has worked along side Bernie Sanders in the political arena as his Chief of Staff and Policy and Press Advisor in his congressional office. Bernie Sanders referred to Jane Sanders in an interview with The Hill as “one of his key advisors.” 

Bill Clinton:

After serving two terms himself as President of the United States, Bill Clinton is arguably the most notable spouse of the 2016 presidential candidates. He received a bachelor of science in foreign service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Bill Clinton also attended Yale Law School, where he met and began dating Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton served as Governor of Arkansas from 1979–1981 and 1983–1992 and President of the United States 1993-2001.

Bill and Hillary Clinton got married in 1975 and had their only child, Chelsea, in 1980. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, Bill Clinton will be the first person to take the title of first gentlemen. 

Melania Trump:



Melania Trump was born and raised in Slovenia. She studied design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana. Melania Trump worked as a model for major fashion houses in Milan, Paris, and New York and is currently a jewelry designer. Melanie Trump married Donald Trump in 2005 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2006. They have one child named Barron. 

Jeanette Christina Dousdebes Rubio: 

Jeanette Rubio is the daughter of Columbia immigrants and grew up in Florida. Jeanette Rubio received a bachelor’s degree from International Fine Arts College and is a former Miami Dolphin Cheerleader. Jeanette and Marco Rubio met while attending South Miami High School together. Jeanette and Marco Rubio were married in 1989, and they have four children named Daniella, Amanda, Dominick and Anthony. If Marco Rubio is elected president, Jeanette Rubio will be the fist Latino first lady. 

Heidi Cruz:

Heidi Cruz was raised in California. She earned her undergraduate degrees in economics and international relations from Claremont McKenna College. Heidi Cruz went on to earn a masters of European business from Université Libre de Bruxelles and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Heidi Cruz has her own experience with the White House. She was the director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council for the George W. Bush administration. Heidi and Ted Cruz met while working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. They got married in 2001. Heidi and Ted Cruz have two daughters: Catherine and Caroline. Heidi Cruz is currently an investment manager at Goldman Sachs.

Collegian Reporter Randi Mattox can be reached at or on Twitter @randimattox.