Former Maine Senate majority leader and U.S. Senate candidate Chellie Pingree has been named president and CEO of Common Cause, a nonpartisan citizen lobbyist organization, succeeding Scott Harshbarger, who stepped down in November 2002. Pingree comes to the organization following a decade in politics. In 2002, she ran a hard-fought race against popular Republican incumbent Susan Collins and received 42 percent of the vote. From 1992 to 2000, Pingree served in the Maine Senate, where she spent her last four years as majority leader — only the second woman in Maine to hold that office. Before entering politics, Pingree was a small farmer and ran a national knitting products company. Born in Minnesota in 1955, she is a 1976 graduate of the College of the Atlantic. In her new position, Pingree will oversee all program activities, finances, and communications for Common Cause.
The Woods Fund of Chicago has appointed Maria Valdez as chairperson of its board of directors. Valdez joined the board in 1995 and became vice-chair in 2001. For the past ten years Valdez has worked as an attorney for the Chicago-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and has served as a board member for the Donor's Forum of Chicago, Mujeres Latinas en Accion (Latin Women in Action), and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Protection. Before joining MALDEF in 1992, Valdez was a senior associate at the Chicago civil rights law firm of Gessler, Hughes & Socol, Ltd. The Fund also announced that Jesus Garcia and Laura Washington have been appointed to its board of directors. Garcia is executive director of the Little Village Community Development Corporation, and Laura Washington is editor and publisher emerita of the Chicago Reporter, an op-ed columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, and a television commentator.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, has appointed John R. Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., as senior vice president and director of health care. As director of the Illinois Department of Public Health since 1991, Lumpkin oversaw improvements to programs dealing with women's and men's health, emergency medicine, infectious disease prevention and control, immunizations, local health department coverage, and the state's laboratory services. Before embarking on a career in public health, Lumpkin taught emergency medicine at the University of Chicago and was an emergency physician at several Chicago hospitals. Since 1998, he has been chairman of the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics and has served on the National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition, and the Advisory Committee to the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other news, the William Penn Foundation has named Ronnie L. Bloom as director of its Children, Youth, and Families program. Prior to joining the foundation as program officer in 1999, Bloom served as a family law litigation attorney with the firm of Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel. Bloom is a member of the Pennsylvania Governor's Task Force on Early Care and Education and the Early Childhood Funders' Collaborative and chairs the Research Review Panel of the Family Planning Council.