Maria Echaveste

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Maria Echaveste
President Clinton's Latino Appointees.png
Echaveste is right of Clinton
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
In office
May 1998 – January 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Sylvia Mathews
Succeeded by Joshua Bolten
Assistant to the President for Public Liaison
In office
May 1997 – May 1998
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Alexis Herman
Succeeded by Minyon Moore
Personal details
Born (1954-05-31) May 31, 1954 (age 60)
Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Christopher Edley
Alma mater Stanford University
University of California, Berkeley

Maria Echaveste (born May 31, 1954)[1] is a former U.S. presidential advisor to Bill Clinton and White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the second Clinton administration.[2] She is one of the highest-ranking Latinas to have served in a presidential administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a co-founder of the Nueva Vista Group, a policy, legislative strategy and advocacy group working with non-profit and corporate clients.[3]

Early life[edit]

Echaveste was born in Texas, as one of seven children born to Mexican immigrants.[4] The family later moved to California, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stanford University in 1976 and a law degree from UC Berkeley's Boalt Law School in 1980. Following her graduation from Boalt, Echaveste specialized in corporate litigation at the former Los Angeles firm Wyman Bautzer and at Rosenman & Colin in New York.[2]

Public service[edit]

From 1993 to 1997 Echaveste served as the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. In that role, she was responsible for the management and policy direction of programs related to a variety of Federal laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (including minimum wage, overtime and child labor) and federal contracting laws. Under her leadership, Wage and Hour initiated an anti-sweatshop initiative – an initiative that received one of the 1996 Innovations in American Government Awards, which are overseen by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Echaveste left the Department of Labor to become Director of Public Liaison at the White House from February 1997 to May 1998, where she also developed communications, legislative and public outreach strategies. From 1998 to 2001, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton. Echaveste managed Clinton’s domestic policy initiatives on education, civil rights, immigration and bankruptcy reform.[5] She also coordinated relief efforts within the White House for foreign and domestic disasters, and specialized in international issues related to Latin America including the Caribbean Basin Initiative and Africa Growth Opportunity Act and Plan Colombia, a federal effort to assist Colombia in its anti-drug campaign. At the end of the Clinton administration she had responsibility for the management of the White House preparations for the millennium celebrations and the 2000 presidential transition.[2]

Current activities[edit]

After leaving the White House, Echaveste co-founded the Nueva Vista Group, a strategic and policy consulting group that works with nonprofit organizations, associations and corporations on such issues as immigration, health care, telecommunications, labor and finances. She is a part-time lecturer at Boalt Hall at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She currently resides in both California and Washington D.C. and works as a consultant. Her clients include AOL Time Warner and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Echaveste is a commentator on the PBS television show "To the Contrary." During the 2004 Democratic primaries, she advised Howard Dean and frequently spoke for him on talk shows.[6] She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of People for the American Way, the Children's Law Center of Washington, D.C., CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and the Level Playing Field Institute, an organization devoted to promoting fairness in education and the workplace. She is married to Chris Edley, whom she met while working together in the Clinton Administration.

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