Joseph Califano Jr. was once just "a kid from Brooklyn," as he puts it. Eventually, though, he came to play such a crucial role in enacting Lyndon Johnson's social programs that The New York Times Magazine called him "Deputy President for Domestic Affairs." He served under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. Between administrations, while representing The Washington Post and the Democratic National Committee, he headed up the lawsuit that revealed the extent of Watergate and shattered the Nixon presidency. As Carter's health, education, and welfare (HEW) secretary, Califano -- formerly a four-pack-a-day smoker -- initiated the nation's first anti-smoking campaign and turned the HEW offices into the first smoke-free government building.
Two Christmases ago, the then-10-year-old United Veterans of America (UVA) shelter in Northampton, Massachusetts, was denied nearly $500,000 in funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Had the shelter not exhausted its cash reserves and made cuts to staff and services, it would have had to turn 60 veterans out of their beds by the following April.
Jack Downing, the shelter's executive director, had been writing grant proposals for 35 years. He had a pretty good idea of what the shelter had done wrong: It hadn't checked off the box that asked if it was faith-based. It was “made pretty clear that [the federal government was] prioritizing faith-based groups,” Downing says.
On March 24, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a subcommittee hearing on the impact of guest-worker proposals on the economy. Among the topics to be discussed is the Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003 (AgJobs), which includes a legalization plan for immigrant farmworkers.
Maria Echaveste is at the front lines of the debate, as she has been for years. As director of public liaison and then deputy chief of staff, she negotiated the concerns of advocacy groups and persuaded the reluctant to come aboard. Latin American disaster relief, the President's Initiative on Race, the campaign against domestic sweatshops -- she was directly involved in these and many other Clinton-era successes.