Midge Costanza, former Carter aide, dies at 77

Midge Costanza, former Jimmy Carter aide active in New York, California politics, dies at 77

AP News

Mar 23, 2010 20:55 EDT

Margaret "Midge" Costanza, an aide to then-President Jimmy Carter, a veteran political activist and women's rights champion, died Tuesday. She was 77.

Obit Costanza
This undated image provided by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office shows Midge Costanza, who died Tuesday March 23, 2010 after battling cancer. Margaret "Midge" Costanza was 77. (AP Photo/San Diego County District Attorney's Office)

The San Diego County district attorney's office said she died after a battle with cancer. She joined the office as a public affairs officer in 2005.

Costanza was elected to the city council in Rochester, N.Y., in 1973 and met Carter the following year when he campaigned for her in an unsuccessful bid for Congress.

She was co-chair of Carter's presidential campaign in New York and seconded his nomination at the Democratic National Convention. In the White House, she was assistant to the president, the first woman to hold that office.

"The White House should be the President's window to the nation," she said, according to the district attorney's office.

Costanza remained active in Democratic politics after moving to San Diego in 1990.

She also worked for women's equality, the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, women's reproductive rights and the appointment of more women to political offices.

Source: AP News