The Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) unanimously elected DNC Chairman Howard Dean`s nominations for the Chairs of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Standing Committees that are responsible for reviewing Convention business and formulating recommendations for consideration by Convention delegates. The Executive Committee`s vote took place during the panel`s recent meeting in Denver, site of the four-day Convention in August.
"The record turnout and enthusiasm we`ve seen for our Democratic candidates is a clear sign that Americans trust Democrats to bring much needed change to our country," said Governor Dean. "These outstanding leaders reflect the great strength, diversity and energy of the Democratic Party, and I`m confident their efforts will ensure our Convention in Denver is reflective of our shared values and our nominee`s vision for America."
The elections included the Chairs and 25 Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) members of the three Convention Standing Committees: Credentials, Platform and Rules. Each committee has a total of 186 members. An additional 161 members elected by each of the states` and territories` Convention delegations will join Governor Dean`s appointments to the committees later this spring.
Elected to chair the Credentials Committee are Alexis Herman, James Roosevelt, Jr. and Eliseo Roques-Arroyo.
Alexis Herman served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1997 to 2001. She served as DNC Chief of Staff for Chairman Ron Brown and later was named CEO of the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Since 2005, she has served as a Co-Chair of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee and also served as a Co-Chair of the Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling.
James Roosevelt, Jr. is President and CEO of Tufts Health Plan, a Massachusetts based Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and was formerly Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy of the Social Security Administration in the Clinton Administration. He is the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and Co-Chair of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee.
Eliseo Roques-Arroyo, a native of Puerto Rico, served as Executive Assistant to Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Senate Minority Leader Miguel Hernandez-Agosto and to Puerto Rico Delegate to Congress Antonio J. Colorado. He is a former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico and presently a member of the DNC.
The Credentials Committee is charged with coordinating issues around the selection of delegates and alternates to the Convention and will likely meet in the summer. The committee will issue a report that is the first official item of business at the Convention.
Elected to chair the Platform Committee are Patricia Madrid, Judith McHale and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Patricia Madrid served two terms as the Attorney General of New Mexico, the state`s first woman Attorney General and the nation`s first Latina in that position. She also served as the Chairperson of the Western Conference of Attorneys General, which focuses on energy, environment and Indian gaming issues. Madrid was first elected to public office in 1978 as the state`s first female district court judge.
Judith McHale is the former President and CEO of Discovery Communications, Inc. At Discovery, she created a work-life initiative, including generous parental leave and flexible work options for employees, and established a fund that delivered free educational programming to thousands of students around the world. She spearheaded acquisitions of TLC and the Travel Channel and also was a prime force behind the partnership in the late nineties that led to the launch of BBC America.
Governor Deval Patrick, elected in 2006 as the state`s first African American Governor, is the first member of his family to attend college, graduating from Harvard and Harvard Law School. Named as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by President Bill Clinton, he has also served on numerous charitable and corporate boards, as well as the Federal Election Reform Commission under Presidents Carter and Ford.
The Platform Committee is responsible for drafting and recommending a proposed National Platform for approval at the Convention. After conducting hearings and forums to collect testimony on issues and policies to potentially include in the platform, the committee is likely to meet sometime in July.
Elected to chair the Rules Committee are Sunita Leeds, Mary Rose Oakar and David Walters.
Sunita Leeds, a software developer by training, is deeply involved with progressive non-profit causes focused on education, breaking the cycle of poverty and women`s issues. As Chair of the DNC Indo-American Leadership Council Advisory Board, she coordinates a network of Indian-American activists, community leaders, elected officials and VIPs to support the fundraising and outreach work of the Council.
Mary Rose Oakar is President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization in the country. From 1977 to 1993, she represented western Cleveland in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she worked on several pieces of legislation related to peace and justice in the Middle East and for those of Middle East ancestry. Oakar served as secretary of the House Democratic Caucus.
David Walters is president of Walters Power International, which specializes in electrical generation equipment. From 1990 to 1994, he served as governor of Oklahoma, where he made education a top priority - increasing education funding by 30 percent and investing heavily in construction and renovation at state colleges.
The Rules Committee is responsible for proposing the Permanent Rules for the Convention, adopting the proposed Convention agenda and making recommendations for permanent Convention officers - all addressed as the second official item of business at the Convention. The committee will meet sometime in August, prior to the Convention.
For a list of and biographical information on the PLEO members from each Standing Committee, click here.