This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Carmel Martin (Richard A. Bloom)Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress
Martin was Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s right-hand aide until March, when she left her post as assistant secretary to run the education-research unit at the liberal Center for American Progress. At the department, she oversaw Duncan’s major endeavors, including Race to the Top grant applications. At CAP, Martin is a go-to expert on all things K-12. She previously worked for education guru Edward Kennedy in the Senate.
Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union
Anyone who can go toe to toe with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must have some stamina. As president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Lewis has been on the front lines of the city’s battles over longer school days, teacher evaluations, and salaries. She led the 2012 teachers union strike, when her members sought a 30 percent pay increase.
Melinda Gates (Richard A. Bloom)Melinda Gates, Cochair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Gates is the non-Microsoft face of a philanthropic organization that has revolutionized how education is viewed in the United States. The Gates Foundation bankrolls dozens of groups dedicated to reforming public schools, and is a big supporter and funder of the controversial Common Core State Standards. She is also a prominent force for reducing global poverty.
Nina Rees, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Rees is an outspoken advocate of school choice and has frequently functioned as a conservative spokeswoman on education. She implemented much of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, and served as an education adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
At the Education Department, Delisle — Arne Duncan’s top aide on all matters pertaining to pre-K and K-12 — is in charge of approving states’ requests for No Child Left Behind waivers. Before joining the department, she was a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education, which partners with schools and districts to create best practices for classrooms.
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Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."