July 25 - Letter to President Bush

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Paul Coverdell (1989 - 1991): Paul Coverdell: June 16 - House Vote Tuesday, July 17, on Giving Coverdell's Name to Peace Corps Headquarters: July 25 - Letter to President Bush

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 - 4:40 pm: Edit Post

Dear RPCVs and Advocates:

We at the NPCA have been quite taken by the tremendous response by you
to the House vote on bill S-360 last Tuesday. Thank you for your
comments to us, to your Congressional representative, to Speaker
Hastert, and/or to Congresswoman McCollum. Our voices were heard, but
unfortunately not well enough heeded.

We sent a letter this morning to President Bush. It will not change the
outcome, but it stated our position. We will copy the text of that
letter below, for your reference.

We were just informed that a ceremony will take place tomorrow morning
in the Rose Garden to officially rename the Peace Corps headquarters
building after the late Senator Paul Coverdell.

Thank you for your efforts on this issue. As some have pointed out, we
also need this level of involvement and energy on other critical issues,
such as those dealing with health, hunger and poverty. We look forward
to your continued activity and involvement through our Advocacy
Network. We hope you can join us for Advocacy Day at the Peace Corps
40th Anniversary Conference here in Washington, DC on September 20,
2001. For more information, visit our website at
http://www.rpcv.org/pages/sitepage.cfm?id=305 .

Dane Smith

July 24, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing on behalf of the National Peace Corps Association, which
represents over 160,000 former Peace Corps Volunteers and staff members
who have served our nation in 135 developing countries over the past 40

We respectfully request that S-360 - which deals with the Peace Corps -
not be signed in its present form. Section 1 of the bill would name the
Peace Corps headquarters after the late Senator Paul Coverdell, Peace
Corps Director 1989-91. We believe this would be inappropriate.

Our opposition to Section 1 of the bill does not in any way reflect
disrespect for Senator Coverdell. On the contrary, we honor him as a
distinguished former Peace Corps Director and for his stalwart support
of the Peace Corps as a Senator. In fact, on September 23rd, as part of
the Peace Corps 40th Anniversary Celebration, the NPCA will pay a warm
tribute to Senator Coverdell during the Gala evening at the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We hope you and Mrs. Bush will
be able to join us.

I hasten to mention that the NPCA does support the other parts of S.360,
such as Section 2, concerning the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools
Program. This wonderful program was developed under his leadership and
he widely championed it.

Our view is that the "heart" of the Peace Corps is the 160,000
volunteers who have served overseas since 1961. It is their commitment,
their creativity, their perseverance and their sacrifices which have
made Peace Corps the world's most successful grassroots development
organization over four decades. While talented directors have made great
contributions to the agency, the central credit for Peace Corps' success
belongs to the individual volunteers. The central truth exemplified by
the Peace Corps is that an individual American, highly motivated and
trained in the local language and culture, can make a difference in
people's lives overseas at the local level. It is in this light that we
feel that naming the Peace Corps headquarters after any one person is
not appropriate.

We hope, Mr. President, that you will consider seriously these concerns
and that you will not sign the bill into law in its present form.


Dane F. Smith

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