November 6, 2001 - Orange County Register: Peace Corps vets challenge nomination of Vasquez

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 6, 2001 - Orange County Register: Peace Corps vets challenge nomination of Vasquez

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, November 06, 2001 - 9:42 pm: Edit Post

Read the story from the Orange County Register on local resident Gaddi Vasquez and the efforts of Returned Volunteers to stop his confirmation as Director of the Peace Corps at:

Peace Corps vets challenge nomination of Vasquez

Peace Corps vets challenge nomination of Vasquez

A group of volunteers says he's the wrong man to head the service organization.

November 6, 2001

By DENA BUNIS The Orange County Register

WASHINGTON -- A group of former Peace Corps volunteers opposed to former Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez's nomination as the agency's next director is ramping up its effort in anticipation of a Senate confirmation hearing expected in the next two weeks.

Organized mostly through the Internet, this group, called the Committee to Preserve the Peace Corps, has delivered a 48-page petition to senators on the Foreign Relations Committee with more than 500 signatures from volunteers opposed to Vasquez.

Cathy Lampshire, an Anaheim teacher, is one of those who has added her name to the petition. Lampshire, who spent a year in Cameroon teaching English in 1992 and 1993, said as soon as she heard Vasquez was nominated, she thought back to the county bankruptcy and wondered why he would be selected.

Vasquez, 46, resigned as board chairman in 1995 in the midst of the bankruptcy. He is a division vice president for public affairs at Southern California Edison and was a California adviser to George W. Bush during his presidential campaign, transferring $100,000 from his dormant campaign treasury to the Bush effort.

Beyond Vasquez's connection with the bankruptcy, Lampshire said she believes this is an agency that needs to be headed by someone who knows the job first-hand.

"The Peace Corps is one of those jobs that people think they understand," said Lampshire. "But unless they've been there, they can't understand what it's like."

Vasquez, in Washington on Monday, said he could not comment on any aspect of his nomination process.

"That's the White House policy," he said by telephone.

And the White House gave Vasquez's nomination a mention Monday when press secretary Ari Fleischer was asked about it at his briefing.

"Anybody that the president has announced for an appointment he, of course, supports," Fleischer said.

When Vasquez's nomination was announced this year, Pauline Buzan of Laguna Beach, who returned this year from a two-year tour in Jamaica and supports Vasquez, told The Orange County Register that people skills are more important than management experience in a director.

Opponents of the nomination are likely to have an uphill battle. The Bush administration has gotten virtually all its nominations through the Senate. And so far, no senators have stated their opposition to Vasquez.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who helped lead the successful challenge to Mary Sheila Gall to head the Consumer Products Safety Commission, supports Vasquez, said Boxer spokesman David Sandretti.

It is also custom that a home-state senator introduce such nominees at their hearings, and Boxer has said she would be willing to introduce Vasquez, Sandretti said.

While Vasquez is not a returned Peace Corps volunteer, only twice in the agency's 40-year history has someone with that experience served as director.

Opponents are undeterred.

"Particularly in the days we are living in now after Sept. 11, more than ever, the Peace Corps needs a leader who has the skills and experience for this new world," said Barbara Ferris, a returned volunteer who is working to defeat the nomination.

Ferris said she believes the group can derail Vasquez "if enough senators see that he has no management experience, no international experience, no development experience."

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.