Melody Barnes

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Melody Barnes
Melody Barnes official portrait.jpg
Director of the Domestic Policy Council
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 2, 2012
President Barack Obama
Deputy Heather Higginbottom
Mark Zuckerman
Preceded by Karl Zinsmeister
Succeeded by Cecilia Muñoz
Personal details
Born (1964-04-29) April 29, 1964 (age 51)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marland Buckner
Alma mater University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Melody C. Barnes (born April 29, 1964, Richmond, Virginia)[1] was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council for his administration.[2] Obama announced her appointment on November 24, 2008. She was previously Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress[3] and led the CAP's Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative. She left the CAP in June 2008 to work on the Obama campaign. She also served on the advisory board for the Obama presidential transition team,.[4]


Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling.[5] She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors in History in 1986.[5] As an undergraduate, she was a Brother of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and a Sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

From 1995 to 2003 Barnes served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee.[5]

She previously served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as assistant counsel to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties,[5] where she worked with Congress to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992. She was a board member of EMILY's List. In November 2011 Barnes announced her resignation from the post of domestic policy adviser.[6] She now is chair of the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions.[7]

Barnes currently serves on the Board of Ventas, Inc (NYSE:VTR), an S&P 500 company.


Her mother is a teacher with a Master's degree in Education and her father is a retired member of the United States Army.[citation needed]

Barnes married Marland Buckner Jr. on June 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.[8]


  1. ^ Retrieved on 2009-2-25.
  2. ^ "Geithner, Summers among key economic team members announced today". Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  3. ^ Barnes, Melody (January 22, 2007). "What a Progressive President Might Say". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  4. ^ "Obama Names Transition Team". Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Melody Barnes". Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  6. ^ Melody Barnes leaving White House, November 24, 2011
  7. ^ Salass, Nader (July 2, 2013). "WATCH: Former Obama Cabinet Member Shares Youth Job Tips". Huffington Post. 
  8. ^ NYT wedding announcement

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Karl Zinsmeister
Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Succeeded by
Cecilia Muñoz