|By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 4:36 pm: Edit Post|
Below is our exclusive coverage of the vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez as Peace Corps Director which took place Decmeber 12 at 330 pm:
For the first time in Peace Corps history the nominee for Peace Corps Director had votes cast against him in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The discussion of his nomination in full committee became very heated with strong opinions on both sides. In the end, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez for Peace Corps Director by a vote of 14 for and 4 against.
Although eighteen other nominations were approved by unanimous consent without discussion and one other nomination to the Inter-American Bank was discussed and voted on, the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez was the focus of discussion at the meeting of the Committee in Room S-116 of the Capital Building.
Senator Rockefeller began by making the case against Mr. Vasquez.
Senator Rockefeller began the discussion by making the case against Mr. Vasquez saying he wanted what was best for the Peace Corps, that Jack Vaughn and Sargent Shriver were both against the nominee and that it was unprecedented in Peace Corps history for two former Directors to oppose a nominee for Peace Corps Director. He added that Mr. Vasquez had no management experience, and that he was unqualified for the job.
Senator Dodd said his nomination was troublesome but to give him a chance.
Senator Dodd stated that he had a letter by Sargent Shriver and a copy of the speech Shriver gave at Yale earlier in November that he wanted read into the record. Senator Dodd said that he had served in the Peace Corps and that it had a special place in his heart, but that the nominee was supported by both Senators from his home state of California (Senators Boxer and Feinstein) and was also supported by most Hispanic groups. He put a stack of emails on the table and said that he had received many emails from returned Peace Corps Volunteers opposing this nomination. He said that the nominee had not picked up on the opportunities he had given him in the hearings on November 14, that he lacks experience in international relations and lacks experience in the Peace Corps. He went on to say that the Best Director the Peace Corps ever had was Loret Ruppe Miller who also lacked qualifications for the job, so he said although Mr. Vasquez's nomination is troublesome, he was going to give him a chance.
Senator Boxer said the campaign against him by RPCVs was cruel and unfair.
Senator Boxer said that the campaign against Mr. Vasquez was very unfair and very cruel, that she herself had been a County Supervisor and that the County Treasurer makes the investment decisions, that she had never heard of one case where the Supervisors were held responsible for bad investments, that all the supervisors were exonerated, and that the recall campaign was begun because Mr. Vasquez wanted to raise taxes in the very conservative county of Orange County. She added that Mr. Vasquez knew what it was like to be poor.
Senator Sarbanes said that the time was past to give someone a chance for a position of this importance.
Senator Sarbanes said that the time was past to give someone a chance for a position of this importance that could affect the United States on the World scene and that this was dramatically underscored by the events of September 11. He said that he knew the political game and how they wanted to give someone a chance but the SEC report stated that Mr. Vasquez did not fulfill his obligations as a Supervisor.
Senator Boxer responded that Clinton appointed a political operative as Director of the Peace Corps and no one said anything about it.
Senator Boxer responded that the supervisors had been investigated by everyone, that he had a long career of public service beginning as a police officer. She said she felt very upset about the opposition to Mr. Vasquez, she said the Peace Corps people who opposed Mr. Vasquez were very well meaning and that any one of us might have wanted to support someone else, but the fact is that Clinton appointed a political operative as Director of the Peace Corps and no one said anything about it.
Senator Sarbanes responded with the LA Times editorial that "Vasquez proved to be a timid public official, the antithesis of what a Peace Corps director should be."
Sarbanes responded by reading from the LA Times editorial that said that "Vasquez proved to be a timid public official, the antithesis of what a Peace Corps director should be. He, along with his colleagues, had been asleep at the switch. That doesn't inspire much confidence today in his ability to lead in the international arena or run a large bureaucracy."
Senator Dodd said that Jody Olsen had already been approved as Deputy Peace Corps Director and that she is well qualified
Senator Dodd went on to say that one thing that can give us comfort is that Jody Olsen has already been approved as Deputy Peace Corps Director, that she is well qualified, and a wonderful asset to the Peace Corps.
Senator Rockefeller closed the debate by saying that the Peace Corps was at stake.
Senator Rockefeller closed the debate by saying that the Peace Corps was at stake
The Roll Call Vote
A roll call vote was taken and the Senators responded in turn with the final vote of 14 for and 4 against the nomination.
Votes Supporting Mr. Vasquez
Votes for Mr. Vasquez were cast by Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Lugar of Indiana, Senator Hagel of Nebraska, Senator Smith of Oregon, Senator Frist of Tennessee, Senator Chafee of Rhode Island, Senator Allen of Virginia, Senator Brownback of Kansas, and Senator Enzi of Wyoming.
Votes Opposing Mr. Vasquez
Senator Rockefeller of West Virginia, Senator Sarbanes of Maryland, Senator Feingold of Wisconsin and Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota cast votes against the nomination.
Senator Sarbanes cast a vote against the nomination.
Senator Rockefeller cast a vote against the nomination.
Senator Wellstone cast a vote against the nomination.
Senator Feingold cast a vote against the nomination.