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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 7, 2003
1:53 PM
CONTACT:  OMB Watch
Ryan Turner, 202-234-8494 x280
Inaugural Inductees Named to Public Interest Hall of Fame
 

WASHINGTON - October 7 - Twelve nonprofit leaders will be inducted into a new Public Interest Hall of Fame, and three promising young activists will each receive a Public Interest Rising Star Award on Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C., when OMB Watch celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The ceremony will be conducted by John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress and former White House chief of staff to President Clinton, and Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way. The honorees include grassroots organizers, academics, lawyers, service providers, and a former congressional staffer. They represent national, state, and local organizations from across the country and are being recognized for their work in such fields as disability rights, economic justice, worker health and safety, government accountability, philanthropy, citizen participation, and environmental protection.

The twelve inductees into the Hall of Fame are William F. Chamberlin, director of the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (Gainesville, FL); Rick Cohen, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (Washington, DC); Chuck Collins, co-founder and program director of United for a Fair Economy (Boston, MA); Judith M. Conti, co-founder and director of legal services and administration for the DC Employment Justice Center (Washington, DC); Anne L. Henry, staff attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center (Minneapolis, MN); Thomas O. McGarity, president of the Center for Progressive Regulation and W. James Kronzer chair in trial and appellate advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law (Austin, TX); Raul Meyreles, executive director of La Cooperativa Campesina de California (Sacramento, CA); Margaret M. Seminario, director of health and safety for the AFL-CIO (Washington, DC); Susan Shaer, executive director of Women's Action for New Directions (Arlington, MA); Robert Silverstein, director of the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy (Washington, DC); Sr. Helen Vinton, assistant executive director and life quality director at the Southern Mutual Help Association (New Iberia, LA); and David C. Vladeck, associate professor of law and co-director of the Institute for Public Representation at the Georgetown Law Center (Washington, DC).

The three recipients of Public Interest Rising Star Awards are Christine Ahn, economic and social human rights program coordinator at Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy (Oakland, CA); Terry Pastika, executive director and community lawyer at Citizen Advocacy Center (Chicago, IL); and Kikanza Ramsey-Ray, senior community organizer and volunteer coordinator at the Labor/Community Strategy Center (Los Angeles, CA). All three are in their early 30s.

"For the Public Interest Hall of Fame, we were looking for unsung heroes, for people who have shown a huge commitment to protecting and promoting the public interest but who have received very little attention for their efforts," said Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch's executive director. "For the Rising Star awards, we wanted to honor inspirational young people who have demonstrated significant impact in just the first few years of their careers." The 15 honorees, selected from a field of nearly 70 nominees, were chosen for their unusual courage, creativity, commitment, or tenacity; significant success or series of successes; or especially effective leadership.

OMB Watch, a Washington-based public interest organization, is launching both award programs as part of its 20th anniversary celebration. "Creating the Hall of Fame is our way of showing our appreciation to those who help make groups like OMB Watch effective," explains Bass. Additional information about all 15 honorees is available at http//www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/1833.

OMB Watch was founded in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees regulation, the federal budget, information collection and dissemination, and much more. Over the years, the focus has shifted from solely monitoring OMB to a broader agenda of government accountability. The group is guided by the belief that improving access to governmental decision-makers and encouraging citizen participation will lead to a more just and equitable society. OMB Watch now concentrates on four policy areas budget and government performance; federal regulation; public access to government information; and policies affecting the nonprofit sector, particularly relating to free speech. The group attributes much of its success during the past two decades to partnering with a wide range of national, state, and local organizations.

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