Time To Contact Your Senator -- The Fight is Not Over

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez: The Gaddi Vasquez Nomination to Peace Corps Director: Gaddi Vasquez's Confirmation Vote in the Senate (12/22/01): Peace Corps Online Exclusive: Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves Vasquez 14 votes to 4 votes: Time To Contact Your Senator -- The Fight is Not Over
By Colin Gallagher on Saturday, December 15, 2001 - 5:49 am: Edit Post

While the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez for Peace Corps Director, this does not mean that the fight is over. It is critical that at this time we contact our Senators, and we must do it immediately to put the heat on Vasquez and send the message that we do not accept this nomination openly, and that our Senators must not approve of it. There is a specific way to do this to assure that your message will actually get to the Senators assigned to your state.

Go to the following web address:


and find your state. Note that some senators do not accept direct e-mails -- in these cases, you must access their web page to send them a letter via an online form. Take the time to contact all the Senators of the state where you reside. Be sure to write a clear and concise subject line -- for example, "I Stand Opposed to Gaddi Vasquez as Peace Corps Director," -- this will facilitate the staff's efforts to quickly and properly route your message.

If you are a California resident, please note that the Senate web listing for Dianne Feinstein does not accurately reflect her contact information. You must go directly to her webpage and send her a letter via her on-line form, as with Senator Barbara Boxer.

Note that on the Senate's Executive Calendar for Friday, Dec. 14, 2001, Calendar No. 641, Message No. 1106, Gaddi H. Vasquez is nominated to be Director of the Peace Corps. Mention this in your message, and state in no uncertain terms your opposition to this nomination.

Together, we can send the message that we will not sit idly by if government officials continue to approve nominations based on politics alone and without consideration to ability. Imagine the importance of Peace Corps in the post-September 11 climate -- and it is impossible to conceive of a sound reason to confirm the nomination of the only candidate in history who has been opposed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not to mention two previous Peace Corps Directors (including the founder of Peace Corps). It is critical to note in your letter, phone call, or e-mail to your Senators that Gaddi Vasquez lied during testimony at three key points:

1. Investment practices of Orange County were called into question well before Orange County went bankrupt. Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise.

2. A formal, official recall process to remove Supervisor Vasquez from office was begun before he resigned. Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise.

3. Mr. Vasquez testified to meetings with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Orange County and Los Angeles. After calling RPCVs in Orange County or Los Angeles, no meetings could be verified.
Thank you for your action so far -- keep it up! And be sure and spread the word to your friends and sympathetic relatives. It's a sure way to "send the message."

By Charlotte Utting on Sunday, December 16, 2001 - 6:07 pm: Edit Post

I am going to phone my two Washington State senators on Monday, Dec. 17 because I keep hearing that e-mail messages are often ignored. Please, all RPCVs who care so much about the organization that changed our lives, continue to do your part in this fight until it's really over! And then continue to oversee the direction of the Peace Corps since we are its soul, not whatever incompetent is using it to gain political favor.

By Joanne Roll on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 10:11 pm: Edit Post

I oppose the nomination of Vasquez and I support the efforts to lobby the Senate; however, I wish to disassoicate myself from the characterization of Vasquez's testimoney used in Colin Gallagher's article. I think the strongest case against the nomination is Vasquez's lack of qualifications. I think it important to continue to emphasize why it is important that the Director be knowledgable. I was disappointed on the lack of focus on the needs of people in the Third World. The Peace Corps is a strange combination of idealism and politics. The service we rendered is really to the people of the United States and the Peace Corps really belongs to the people of the United States. It is not the sole property of RPCVS and we really have no special claim to influence the choice of its Director.

By Colin Gallagher on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 9:16 pm: Edit Post

In Re. To Joanne Roll's Message:

While we have no "special claim" to influence the choice of the Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, we do have such a "special claim," or perhaps more accurately, a "responsibility," to influence the Senators who can confirm or deny a nomination. The following is an e-mail from Dianne Feinstein regarding the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez. I feel that this e-mail shows that RPCVs can play a role in raising the awareness of political leaders, and that we should continue to do so -- on a variety of issues. (Right now, for example, is the time to call your Senators to give them your opinion on the "stimulus" bill.) Keep it up!

Subject: Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 10:14:58 -0500
From: senator@feinstein.senate.gov
To: pcvcolin@yahoo.com

December 18, 2001

Mr. Colin Gallagher
{address removed}

Dear Mr. Gallagher:

Thank you for writing to me about Gaddi Vasquez's appointment as Peace Corps Director.

Please know that I want to ensure that any nominee confirmed to this important post will possess a willingness to meet the goals and the needs of the Peace Corps. I will certainly keep
your comments in mind if the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez comes to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

Again, thank you for your letter. Should you have further questions or comments, on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to call my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator


By Geistweidt John on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 3:59 pm: Edit Post

What a bunch of losers many RPCV are. Gaddi Vasquez will be am excellent PC Director. Just because he is an American of Mexican heritage and a Republican, many RPCV are trying to live in the past of the Democratic heyday and will not admit that the tide has changed and that it is time for a good man to take the reins of the PC organization.

By Steve Wagenseller (wagenseller) on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 4:48 pm: Edit Post

John, you seem to have missed the point of the posts and of the action being taken. Were Gaddi Vasquez a Democrat of Caucasian heritage, whatever a "Caucasian" is, it would not make him a more acceptable selection. To characterize this effort as determined by race or politics means you haven't considered the issues more deeply than ethnicity or party affiliation yourself. That says more about you as an American citizen than about Vasquez himself: you yourself would make a poor choice as Peace Corps director.

But I wouldn't characterize you as a loser just because you stand in line behind those in power -- nor would I do it if your party were not in power. That makes no sense, citizen Geistweidt. But if you were nominated for Peace Corps Director, and your credentials were as questionable as those of Gaddi Vasquez, I would do everything I could to make sure you were a loser in the political sense.

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