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September 4, 2009
Meet the new crop of White House Fellows
White House Fellows are chosen each year by the President. The position serves as a stepping stone for future careers; it is a way to catapult the select few into positions of influence and power. Colin Powell, for example, was a White House Fellow.
Here is a description of the characteristic that are supposed to guide the selection process:
Founded in 1964, the White House Fellows program is one of America's most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government.
Well let's see who is being honored this year by Barack Obama. (My comments follow individual entries in parentheses).
2009-2010 Class of White House Fellows
Laura Bacon, 29. Hometown: Weymouth, MA. Laura Bacon is a recent graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, where she studied political and economic development on a Reynolds Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship. While at Harvard, Laura served as a Technical Advisor and Researcher for Liberia's Women's Legislative Caucus, helping draft gender parity legislation.
Nicole Campbell, 30. Hometown: Brooklyn, NY. Nicole Campbell is Vice President of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation where she has developed and executed the Foundation's education investment strategy. In her role, Nicole attracted new, external financial support and created innovative ways for the Bank to meet its Community Reinvestment Act obligations. She created College Ready Communities which facilitates partnerships between housing developers, local education advocacy organizations, and public schools to improve academic outcomes in low-income neighborhoods. Nicole has recruited partners ranging from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the New York City Department of Education. Her prior experience includes work with the New York City Department of Education as well as with government and nonprofit organizations in the Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Nicole is a founding board member of Achievement First Brownsville, a charter school in Brooklyn, New York. She received a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School where she founded the annual Harvard Black Policy Conference and received the Julius E. Babbitt Alumni Award for Service. Nicole received her B.A. from Amherst College where she received the John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship and was a two time NCAA Division III National Triple Jump Champion in Track & Field.
(The Community Reinvestment Act was used by groups, such as ACORN, to compel banks to lend to people who have a bad habit of defaulting on their mortgage obligations. Hence, the financial crisis. Thank you, Nicole.)
Kellee James, 32. Hometown: Chicago, IL. Kellee James is an Economist at the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Her responsibilities include research, state-level public policy outreach and business development at the United States' first greenhouse gas emissions exchange and cap-and-trade system.
(Al Gore would be happy, plus a hometown guy for Barack Obama; I am sure the Chicago Climate Exchange is hooked into-if not the electrical grid-all sorts of liberal networks, including perhaps the foul-mouthed Van Jones)
Sarah Johnson, 29. Hometown: Lexington, KY. Sarah Johnson is a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, where she pursues research at the nexus of biology and planetary science. For the past two years, Sarah has helped develop a life detection instrument for a future mission to Mars; prior to that, she completed field seasons in Antarctica, Australia and Madagascar, conducted research at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and worked at mission control for the NASA Opportunity and Spirit Mars Rovers. Her publications address topics ranging from global warming.
(Another global warming expert-just what this administration needs)
Annie Maxwell, 30. Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA. Annie Maxwell is the Chief Operating Officer of Direct Relief International, a nonprofit that through humanitarian assistance improves the quality of life for people affected by poverty or disasters in 59 countries including the U.S. Annie joined Direct Relief in 2002 and now oversees the day-to-day activities of the organization. From 2005 to 2006, Annie was seconded to the United Nation's Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, led by Special Envoy President Bill Clinton. She served as Partnerships and Outreach Officer, focusing on environmental issues and the role of NGOs in the recovery effort.
(The shelves of the fellows are filled with environmental activists-enough already, how about some ideological diversity)
Adam Taylor, 33. Hometown: Washington, DC. Adam Taylor is the Senior Political Director at Sojourners. He is responsible for leading the organization's advocacy, coalition building, and constituency outreach. He formerly served as the Executive Director of Global Justice, an organization that educates and mobilizes students around global human rights and economic justice. Before co-founding Global Justice, he worked as an Associate at the Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights and as an Urban Fellow in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City.
(Another community organizer-this time no doubt courtesy of Obama's foreign policy guru and Blackberry buddy, Samantha Power-who headed the Carr Center at Harvard).
Raúl Torrez, 32. Hometown: Albuquerque, NM. Raúl Torrez is an Assistant Attorney General in the Special Prosecutions Division of the New Mexico Attorney General's Office. He prosecutes complex felony cases including violent crimes, white collar, voter fraud, and Internet Crimes Against Children. He is also the only cross-designated Special Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the firearms section of the United States Attorney's Office in Albuquerque where he prosecutes felons in possession of firearms and armed career criminals. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Torrez worked for an Internet startup company in New York and Silicon Valley, and he also served as the Development Officer for the César E. Chávez Foundation in Los Angeles
(Well, we know how much Barack Obama admired Cesar Chavez - a fellow Saul Alinsky believer and a very successful community organizer).
Now I am sure all these people are fine people. But the White House Fellows are supposed to be chosen on a strictly non-partisan basis.
Do you think this crew of community organizers, activists, and environmentalists were evenly split along partisan lines - as is the nation is as a whole?