National Co-Chairs
updated November 29, 2007

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack
(announced March 26, 2007)  Vilsack formally announced his own presidential campaign on Nov. 30, 2006 but withdrew on Feb. 23, 2007.  Elected Governor of Iowa in Nov. 1998 and re-elected in 2002; did not seek re-election in 2006, term ended in Jan. 12, 2007.  (Vilsack was in 2006 the longest serving Democratic Governor).  Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council July 15, 2005-Jan. 11, 2007.  Chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association, 2004.  Elected to the Iowa State Senate, 1992, and served through 1998.  Elected Mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, 1987, and served through 1992.  Partner in the Bell and Vilsack Law Office, 1975-1998.  Law degree from Albany Law School, 1975 and bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, 1972.  Born Dec. 13, 1950 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Raul Yzaguirre, Chair of Hispanic Outreach
(announced April 12, 2007)  Currently the presidential professor of practice in community development and civil rights at Arizona State University.  President of the National Council of La Raza, 1974-2004.  Founded Interstate Research Associates.  Program analyst at U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity.  B.S. from the George Washington University, 1968, after attending the University of Maryland for a year.  Four years in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps.  Grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD)
(announced April 24, 2007)  Elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland in 1986 and re-elected in 1992, 1998 and 2004.  Mikulski previously served 10 years as a congresswoman from the Baltimore area, first elected in 1976.  She won elected office in 1971 as Baltimore City Councilmember.  Social worker and community activist.  Grew up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore.

California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
(announced April 25, 2007)  Represents District 46 (Los Angeles).  Elected to the Assembly in 2002 and became Speaker in 2004.  Prior to serving in the Assembly, Núñez was government affairs director of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  He served as political director for the Los Angeles County Labor Federation from 1996-2000.  B.A. degrees in political science and education from Pitzer College in Claremont.

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH-11)
(announced April 26, 2007)  Elected to Congress in 1998; represents the East Side and parts of the West Side of Cleveland.  Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, 1991-98.  Judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, 1983-91; judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court, 1982-83.  B.A. in social work from Case Western Reserve University, the Flora Mather College in 1971.  J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1974.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
(announced May 14, 2007; also Gulf States Regional Co-Chair)  Represents the Texas 18th CD, centered in Houston; first elected in 1994.  Two terms as an at-large member of the Houston City Council, 1990-94.  Associate Municipal Court Judge in Houston, 1987-89.  Attorney in private practice.  J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School, 1975; B.A. in political science from Yale University, 1972.

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-5), Chair of AAPIs for Hillary
(announced May 16, 2007)  Elected to represent California's 5th CD (Sacramento) in the March 8, 2005 special election to succeed her husband, the late Congressman Bob Matsui.  A Senior Advisor and Director of Government Relations and Public policy at the law firm Collier Shannon Scott.  Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Public Liaison in the Clinton White House.  Bachelor's degree from the University of California Berkeley.  Grew up in Dinuba, in California's Central Valley.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
(announced May 30, 2007)  Elected on May 17, 2005 and sworn into office on July 1, 2005.  Elected to the Los Angeles City Council, 14th District, in 2003.  Distinguished fellow at UCLA and USC.  Ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 2001 and narrowly lost.  Elected to the California State Assembly in 1994; elected Speaker in 1998, term limited in 2000.  Field representative/organizer with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).  Law degree from People's College of Law, 1985, but did not pass the bar. B.A. degree in history from UCLA.  Raised in the City Terrace neighborhood of East Los Angeles.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)
(announced as co-chair on June 7, 2007; endorsement announced in Feb. 2007)  Elected to Congress in 2004.  Served in the Florida State Senate from 2000-04 after serving in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992-2000 (first elected at age 26).  Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida, 1988 and a Master’s degree from University of Florida, 1990.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL-23)
(announced as co-chair on June 7, 2007; endorsement announced in Feb. 2007)  Represents parts of Broward, Palm Beach, Hendry, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties; first elected to Congress in 1992.  Appointed federal judge for the Southern District of Florida by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and served for ten years; impeached and removed from office in 1989.  Law degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.  Undergraduate degree from Fisk University, 1958.  Born in Altamonte Springs.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ)
(announced June 12, 2007)  Appointed to the U.S Senate by NJ Gov. Jon Corzine, sworn in on Jan. 18, 2006, elected to a full term in Nov. 2006.  Elected chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2003.  Elected to Congress in 1992.  Served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1987-91 and in the New Jersey Senate from 1991-93; also mayor of Union City, elected in 1986 and served until 1992.  Elected to the Union City Board of Education in 1974.  B.A. from St. Peter's College in Jersey City; law degree from Rutgers University.

Attorney Weldon Latham (MD)
(announced June 14, 2007)  Senior partner and chair of the Corporate Diversity Counseling Group at the international law firm Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington, DC.   Senior partner at Holland & Knight, 2000-04.  Partner at Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge, 1992-2000.  Managing partner of the Virginia office of Reed, Smith, Shaw and McClay, 1986-92.   Vice president and general counsel of Sterling Systems Inc., 1981-86; acquired by Planning Research Corporation (PRC).  Government experience includes civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army during the Clinton Administration, General Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1979-81, and Assistant General Counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, 1973-76.  J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.   B.A. in business administration from Howard University.

former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt
(announced July 5, 2007 also named as an economic advisor)  Currently President and CEO of the Gephardt Group.  Democratic presidential candidate in 2003-04.  Leader of the House Democrats for nearly 14 years, serving as House majority leader from 1989-95 and minority leader from 1995-2003.  Democratic presidential candidate in 1987-88; first Democratic candidate to enter and won the Iowa Democratic Caucus.  Elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House, 1984.   First elected to represent Missouri's Third Congressional District in 1976.  Twice elected Alderman.  Graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School.  From South St. Louis, MO.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman Arlan Melendez (NV)
(announced July 18, 2007)  Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, a federally recognized tribal government representing over 800 Paiute, Washoe, and Shoshone tribal members; elected chairman of the nine-member Tribal Council in 1991.  Member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, appointed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in 2005.   Vice President of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, representing the twenty seven tribes in the state of Nevada.  Served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam era.  Graduated from Truckee Meadows Community College and attended the University of Nevada.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
(announced Aug. 10, 2007)  Elected Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco in 2003 (San Francisco’s youngest mayor in 100 years).  Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 1996-2004.  Opened his first local business, the PlumpJack Wine Shop, in 1992.  B.A. in political science from Santa Clara University, 1989.  Grew up in the Bay Area.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb
(announced Sept. 17, 2007)  Elected Mayor of Denver in 1991, served four terms through 2003.  Elected Denver City Auditor in 1987.  Executive director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies under Gov. Richard Lamm.  Selected by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, 1977.  Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1972.  B.A. in sociology from Colorado State College at Greeley in 1964 and M.A. in sociology from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley in 1971.  Co-authored "The Man, the Mayor and the Making of Modern Denver" (Fulcrum Publishing, 2007).

Former Philadelphia Congressman Reverend William H. Gray III
(announced Sept. 25, 2007)  Chairman of the Amani Group, a business and education advisory group.  President and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund, 1991-2004; resigned from Congress to take the position.  Represented Pennsylvania’s 2nd District (Philadelphia) in the U. S. House of Representatives for 13 years, rising through the ranks to become the first African American to chair both the House Budget Committee and the Democratic Caucus, and the first to serve as House Majority Whip.  Pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for 35 years; started in the ministry in 1964, when he pastored his first church, Union Baptist Church of Montclair, NJ.  B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College, 1963.  Master's degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary, and a Master's degree in theology in 1970 from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Attorney Willie E. Gary (FL)
(announced Sept. 27, 2007; announced his support for Clinton to an audience of over 200 African American men who participated in an African Americans for Hillary lunch meeting in July)  Founder and senior partner at Gary, Williams, Finney, Lewis, Watson & Sperando, P.L., in Stuart, Florida.  J.D. from North Carolina Central University in Durham.  Bachelor's degree in business administration from Shaw University in Raleigh, NC.  Gary is also chairman of the Atlanta based Black Family Channel

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (GA-5)
(announced Oct. 26, 2007; endorsement announced Oct. 12, 2007)  Elected to Congress in 1986.  Elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981.  Appointed by President Carter associate director (domestic operations) of the ACTION Agency.  Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP).  Associate director of the Field Foundation. One of the leaders of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965 ("Bloody Sunday").  An architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.  Helped form and served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 1963-66.  B.A. in religion and philosophy from Fisk University; graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary.

New Hampshire First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch
(announced Nov. 26, 2007)  Pediatrician who works as a pediatric lipid specialist at the Cholesterol Treatment Center at Concord Hospital.  In 2004, Dr. Lynch joined nearly 300 other “Doctors for Dean” from across New Hampshire to support Howard Dean’s campaign for president.  She and her husband, Gov. John Lynch, live in Hopkinton, NH.

Copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action