|By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 5:31 pm: Edit Post|
Read what the Foreign Policy Association has posted about the Peace Corps nomination at:
The Peace Corps Needs a Director
The Peace Corps Needs a Director
11/2/01 On October 3rd, the Senate formally received President George W. Bush's nomination for Gaddi Vasquez of California as Peace Corps Director (PN1106). The nomination, referred to the Foreign Relations Committee, awaits confirmation by the Senate. Although the President selects a Director, the U.S. Senate, charged with the obligation to "advise and consent," may either approve or reject the appointment.
The Peace Corps supports 7,300 volunteers working in 72 developing countries. Founded in 1961, the federal agency operates on a $275 million dollar annual budget. The agency has been without a Director since October 1st when acting Director Charles Baquet's resignation officially became effective.
President Bush announced in late July his intention to nominate the Republican Vasquez as Director of the Peace Corps. The administration highlighted Vasquez's service as County Supervisor of Orange County, California and as Hispanic Liaison and Chief Deputy Appointment Secretary with the California Governor's Office. In a commentary to the website Peace Corps Online, Don Boekelheide, a former volunteer (RPCV), showed his support for Vasquez stating, "he is a working class kid who's made good through hard work, intelligence and a gift for communicating." However, the highly controversial nomination has generated heated debate. In reaction to the appointment, an editorial for the Dallas Morning News acknowledged Vasquez's lack of experience, further commenting that "it was no less true of the others who have previously held the post for which he is now considered." (Dallas Morning News, August 22) The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times The Boston Globe, The Charlotte Observer, and the Orange County Times have all written editorials opposing his nomination.
Former Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn (1966-1969) expressed his concerns about Vasquez in an interview with the Tucson Citizen on September 10th: "He has little experience and little to indicate that he understands how to run the Peace Corps or any international organization. It's clearly a political payoff, and it would be a shame to see him approved." The agency's first director, Sarge Shriver, has written a letter to President Bush stressing Vasquez's weak credentials and urging him to appoint a qualified director.
Citing that Vasquez has no Peace Corps, development, international work or volunteer experience, opposition groups have also questioned his ethics and fiscal management skills. He resigned in 1995 as Supervisor of Orange County California (1987-1995) after the county had to file bankruptcy due to a loss of 1.7 billion dollars from its investment pool. Vasquez has been criticized for failing to take his share of the responsibility for the bankruptcy and resigning before being subjected to a grand jury investigation. In 1996, the Securities and Exchange Commission publicly censured him for his role in the affair.
A prominent California Republican and member of the Hispanic community, Vasquez has been the Division Vice President of Public Affairs for the Southern California Edison Company since his resignation as County Supervisor. His recent donation of roughly $100,000 dollars to the Bush presidential campaign has also sparked accusations of partisan politics. Gustavo Arellano, a graduate student at UCLA and writer for Orange County Weekly suggested in an article for LatinoLa.com that the Vasquez nomination was used as a political ploy to lure Latino voters. "While we should rejoice that one of our own has been nominated to such a prestigious position," said Arellano, "we must also see the opportunism involved in using Latinos such as Vasquez for Republicans' latest attack in the war against the Democrats for our political souls."
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