When Lincoln Chafee announced his presidential campaign Wednesday, he did so with the utmost support from his wife of 25 years, Stephanie. In fact, his wife has been so supportive of his political career that it was she who donated the most money to Lincoln's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Stephanie's $1.8 million contribution made up almost two-thirds of the total campaign donations for Lincoln. The donation is a strong statement to make about any candidate — spouse or otherwise — which begs the question: Exactly who is Lincoln Chafee's wife, Stephanie Chafee?
Both Lincoln and Stephanie have very similar backgrounds as children of dynasties: Lincoln's father and grandfather both served as governor of Rhode Island, while Stephanie's family background is in academia; her family founded the Rhode Island School of Design. Lincoln and Stephanie have known each other since they were teenagers and met when a 17-year-old Lincoln offered the 13-year-old Stephanie Hourahan a ride on his moped. While Lincoln was pursuing horseshoeing, Stephanie set her sights on nursing school and became a registered nurse during the height of the AIDS epidemic. She became one of the first AIDS research nurses in the country in the late '80s working at the Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Stephanie has made philanthropy a major component of the Chafees' lives in and out of politics. In 1999, she helped found the Rhode Island Free Clinic, which provides care to the uninsured, and she was the first person in Rhode Island to gain approval to officiate a civil union between two longtime friends the same year that civil unions for gay couples became legal in the state. She was a major supporter of state hospitals halting their practice of giving out free baby formula to new mothers, calling the decision "a tremendous accomplishment." She's currently serving as trustee of South County Hospital Inc, according to a brief Bloomberg Business profile.
Prior to Lincoln's candidacy announcement, Stephanie made headlines after she revealed that Lincoln had forgotten his own political Facebook page password by posting a public status on May 28 asking "Does anybody from my Husband's [sic] staff remember his FB page access?" The post is now hidden, as is Stephanie's entire Facebook profile and, though potentially unrelated, she has also deleted her Twitter account. Lincoln's password appears to have been recovered and his political page has been posting consistent updates leading up to his presidential announcement and beyond.
Stephanie's previous social media support had her commenting that it was sad that no one had interviewed her husband after he'd announced the forming of an exploratory committee in April. Given the recent locking down of her social media accounts, it's unclear whether she will have a eventual Facebook or Twitter presence while Lincoln runs. Presumably, she will continue to support Lincoln through major donations. The couple have a combined wealth estimated at over $60 million.
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