|By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 7:25 pm: Edit Post|
Senator Chris Dodd was in California on November 12 and met with returned volunteers there and discussed the Gaddi Vasquez nomination with them. The following is taken from an email message sent out by Peter Johnson, a past member of the NPCA Baord of Directors, who was present at the meeting and discusses what went on at the meeting with Senator Dodd. We are using this message with Mr. Johnson's permission to provide background to some of the things that went on in the Confirmation Hearings on November 14.
Several people have asked how the meeting with Senator Christopher Dodd (Dominican Rep 66-68) went on 11/12. He was in San Francisco to speak at the Commonwelth Club among other things. We were able to arrange a meeting with him to discuss the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez as Peace Corps Director since Dodd's sub-committee was to hold hearings on him on 11/14 in DC. There were 9 of us in attendance including NorCal President Chuck Morganson (DR 96-98) and National Coordinator Mike Learned of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual RPCVs along with several NorCal current and former board members. We met in a conference room at the hotel where Dodd was staying.
We got a political science lesson similar to the ones seen on West Wing on TV. The Senator informed us that Vasquez would be confirmed by the Senate even though he was unqualified and a weak candidate. A key reason was that Barbara Boxer would support him and introduce him to the sub-committee as his home state Senator since she was concerned about the Hispanic vote in California - despite our calls and letters to her and that she knew he was not ideal. Dodd had to pick his battles and he was opposing Bush's nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Otto Reich, who was involved in Iran-Contra and considered a danger in Dodd's mind. Vasquez was a disappointing candidate in a changing world and Bush could have done better in Dodd's view but at least we were going to get a solid Deputy Director in RPCV Jody Olsen (Tunisia 66-68).
It was an educational and fruitful meeting with a healthy exchange of ideas on Vasquez and some issues for the sub-committee to explore. We also talked about the future of the Peace Corps and keeping an eye on Vasquez. It is possible that he would blow it in the hearing and be rejected but that was considered unlikely. We were all glad we went and appreciated RPCV Dodd's candor. Money ($100,000 donation) and compromise/deals are political realities
Thanks to all of you who called and wrote to your legislative representatives. In my opinion it was worth it to let them know we care about Peace Corps.