February 1, 2002: Headlines: USA Freedom Corps: Cincinnati Post: John Bridgeland to manage Freedom Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 02 February 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: February 1, 2002: Headlines: USA Freedom Corps: Cincinnati Post: John Bridgeland to manage Freedom Corps

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John Bridgeland to manage Freedom Corps

John Bridgeland to manage Freedom Corps

John Bridgeland to manage Freedom Corps

Cincinnatian to manage Freedom Corps

More than 200,000 sought as volunteers
By Michael Collins, Post Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Before President Bush called on Americans to volunteer in their communities, he called again on Cincinnati native John Bridgeland.

Bush announced Wednesday that Bridgeland will be director of the new USA Freedom Corps Office, which will be responsible for boosting volunteerism across the country. Bush approached Bridgeland about the new job a few days before he laid out his proposal in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

Bridgeland, who has worked for the past year as one of Bush's chief domestic policy advisers, predicted the new assignment will be his most fulfilling yet. ''The opportunity to play a role in . . . instilling in a new generation of Americans the importance of giving back to their country and communities is one of the most exciting experiences of my life,'' Bridgeland said.

Bush has asked every American to help fight terrorism by giving two years, or 4,000 hours, of volunteer community service in their lifetimes. He has proposed recruiting more than 200,000 volunteers for service programs at home and doubling the 7,000-volunteer Peace Corps abroad.

The USA Freedom Corps is an initiative that is supposed to help Americans meet the challenge.

Bridgeland's job will be to manage the program and recommend ways to enhance volunteer service and improve civic progress. He will report directly to the president.

''He'll be held accountable,'' Bush said Wednesday during an event in Winston-Salem, N.C. ''When we say we're going to get more people involved, I'll be asking him on a regular basis, 'How are we doing'? If we're not doing that well, 'How come? What can we do to make it better'? ''

Bridgeland's colleagues say he's up to the challenge.

''Having known John for many years as a friend and having worked with him, I know that President Bush could not have made a better choice,'' said U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, of Terrace Park. Bridgeland, an Indian Hill native, worked five years as Portman's chief of staff.

Over the past year, Bridgeland has served as director of the White House's Domestic Policy Council, which oversees the administration's policy on issues such as education, health care, welfare and veterans' affairs.

Bridgeland said he looks forward to the Freedom Corps opportunity. As Portman's chief of staff, he worked on drug-control policy and helped bring together local communities and business and nonprofit groups to deal with drugs and other public safety issues.

Some of the issues he confronted in that role are similar to those he will face in his new job, Bridgeland said.

''Americans keep asking the question, 'What can I do to help,' '' Bridgeland said. ''We're trying to organize an effort that helps to answer that question, both as it relates to homeland security and as it relates to domestic service and service abroad. It's both a very difficult and exciting time for Americans.''

Bridgeland is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law. He practiced law in the New York and Paris offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He worked as deputy policy director for Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign and headed the Bush-Cheney transition team after the election.

Publication date: 02-01-02

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Story Source: Cincinnati Post

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