November 1, 2001 - OC Metro: The Hot 25 who Move Us: Gaddi Vasquez

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 1, 2001 - OC Metro: The Hot 25 who Move Us: Gaddi Vasquez

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 8:36 am: Edit Post

Read this short profile of Gaddi Vasquez from the OC Metro Magazine published in Orange County at:

The Hot 25 who Move Us: Gaddi Vasquez

The Hot 25 who Move Us: Gaddi Vasquez

Nov 1, 2001 - OC Metro Author(s): O Leary, Kevin


WHAT HE DOES: Nominated by President Bush to be the new Director of the Peace Corps. Currently a division vice president for public affairs at Southern California Edison.

FAMILY: Wife Elaine; son, Jason, 22, a senior at Chapman University.

FAVORITE BOOK: "Dragon Hunter," by James Gallenkamp


Gaddi Vasquez has experienced highs and lows in his 46 years. A police officer in Orange after college, he quickly turned his eye to public service and politics. His work for the city manager's office in Riverside led to a job as an assistant to then Orange County supervisor Bruce Nestande and on to the Edison Co. where he was a regional manager. Then in the mid-'80s, Vasquez moved to Sacramento to work for Gov. George Deukmejian. His job involved the appointments to the administration and the naming of commissioners. In 1987, his old boss Nestande stepped down and the governor named the 32-year old Vasquez to take his place on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Vasquez was the first Latino on the board and many predicted a long career in the limelight.

Vasquez championed a number of issues including child care, improved healthcare access, tourism, economic development. He was a rising star in a California Republican Party that was short on diversity in a state that was becoming more multicultural by the minute. Who knew how far Vasquez could go?

Then his world caved in. Out of the blue, Orange County went bankrupt as county Treasurer Robert Citron's investment pool collapsed in late 1994. Fingers pointed at the supervisors for failing in their oversight capacity and Vasquez resigned rather than face a recall election. A 1996 Securities and Exchange Commission report was highly critical of him and other supervisors. Vasquez returned to Edison where he has been a division vice president of public affairs for the past six years.

Now like a phoenix rising, Vasquez is getting a second chance to relaunch his public career - in a most visible way. In July, President Bush nominated him to lead the Peace Corps, the 40-year- old agency that was begun by President Kennedy and represents the United States at its idealistic best. Peace Corps volunteers, often in their 20s and 30s, volunteer for two years to live and work in Third World nations where they help with development, health and education projects. Since its creation, more than 163,000 Americans have served in 135 nations.

I have yet to talk to any Peace Corps volunteer who regrets having served," Vasquez says. Keeping a low profile before the Senate confirmation process gets under way, Vasquez says, "I am honored to be the nominee and look forward to serving if confirmed."

The buzz about the Vasquez appointment is more than just local news. The New York Times, in an editorial that was skeptical of his nomination, wrote: "In the last decade the Peace Corps has expanded its traditional mission of working on development projects in remote third-world areas to encompass such activities as teaching English and management skills in former Socialist countries. The next director will be called upon to formulate a coherent role for the Peace Corps for the new century, and sell it energetically to the rest of the world, to Congress, and to a new generation of recruits." In the new international climate since Sept. 11, the position will be even more of a challenge.

Vasquez's task in the weeks ahead is to convince the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate that he is the right person for the job. If he does, it will be an honor for him, the county and Orange, the city in which he has lived for most of his life.

If confirmed, Vasquez will be the 16th director of the Peace Corps.

Copyright Churm Publishing Nov 01, 2001

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