WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Melody Barnes, who worked on civil rights and women's issues as counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., brings broad legal experience to the White House.
President-elect Barack Obama named Barnes as director of his Domestic Policy Council.
She is now executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, where she coordinates and helps to integrate its policy departments, fellows and network of outside policy experts.
But for nearly eight years, 1995 until 2003, Barnes served as chief counsel to Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role, she shaped civil rights, women's health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments.
Her experience also includes an appointment as director of legislative affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. There, Barnes worked closely with members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992.