One of President-elect Barack Obama’s key domestic policy advisers will be a lawyer who worked for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) for more than seven years.
Obama, at a news conference in Chicago today announcing economic appointees, said that Melody Barnes would be director of his Domestic Policy Council. She had been advising the Obama campaign and the transition on domestic policy, and she previously worked at the Center for American Progress, led by Obama adviser John Podesta.
Barnes worked for Kennedy from December 1995 to March 2003 as his chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kennedy was chairman of the subcommittee on immigration for the year and a half during Barnes’ time that Democrats had a majority in the Senate.
According to Barnes’ biography at the Center for American Progress (scroll to the bottom): “As Senator Kennedy’s chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments.”
She has also worked as director of legislative affairs for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. She began her career as a lawyer with Shearman & Sterling in New York.