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Bush Adds Texas Lobbyist To Ed. Department Team

By Joetta L. Sack — June 13, 2001 2 min read

The White House has added one more name to its list of choices for the top jobs at the Department of Education.

President Bush announced last week he would nominate Laurie Rich to become the agency’s assistant secretary for intergovernmental and interagency affairs. Ms. Rich, 47, has been the executive director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, the state’s Washington lobbying arm, since 1995, serving in that post while Mr. Bush was the governor. For a decade before then, she worked in the office of Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and before that was a secondary school teacher.

Laurie Rich

The assistant secretary oversees the agency’s efforts to work with states, local governments, community organizations, and nonprofit groups by providing resources such as funding, research, and advice.

The White House has now selected people for nine of the 15 top-ranking jobs at the department, which require the approval of the Senate. Only two—Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Deputy Secretary William D. Hansen—had been confirmed by the Senate as of last week. Mr. Bush has yet to name choices for two of the most politically sensitive slots: assistant secretaries for civil rights and for special education and rehabilitative services. With the Senate shifting to Democratic control last week, some speculated that confirmations could be further delayed.

Jim Manley, the press secretary for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the new chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said the Democrats did not yet have a schedule for committee consideration of the Education Department nominations.

The administration also named two of Ms. Rich’s lieutenants, whose jobs do not require Senate confirmation, late last week.

Bill Lucia will become the deputy assistant secretary for regional services within the office of intergovernmental and interagency affairs. Mr. Lucia, formerly the executive director of the California state board of education, will oversee the Education Department’s 10 regional offices.

Linda E. Wilson, currently acting director of the New Jersey governor’s representative office in Washington, will serve as the deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental, constituent relations and corporate liaison.

And one nominee awaiting the Senate education committee’s approval got an endorsement from his professional association last week.

The American Educational Research Association’s board endorsed Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, nominated in April as the assistant secretary for educational research and improvement.

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2001 edition of Education Week as Bush Adds Texas Lobbyist To Ed. Department Team

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