Tom Perez, the former justice department lawyer, Montgomery County councilman, attorney general candidate and current labor, licensing and regulation secretary in the O'Malley administration, becomes the first Marylander with a significant role in the the Obama transition to government.

Perez was named a working group member reviewing personnel and policies at the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development.


Here's an Associated Press description of the small band of working group members and their backgrounds, and their backgrounds:A look at Obama transition team leaders

By The Associated Press – 15 hours ago


Some members of President-elect Obama's transition team:



A New York Law School professor, Harris has ties to organized labor and will be responsible for labor, education and transportation issues for the transition team.

Harris was a top Labor Department official during the Clinton administration. Under Labor secretaries Alexis Herman and Robert Reich, Harris was senior adviser on policy, legal, management and strategic issues.

Among the policies he helped formulate were efforts to bring out-of-school youth into the work force and increase the minimum wage.

Harris started at Labor as a special assistant to Reich and moved up through the department, becoming acting assistant secretary for policy, then deputy assistant secretary for policy and special assistant to the secretary before leaving in 2000.

In February 1998, Clinton nominated Harris to serve as administrator of the wage and hour division of the Labor Department. The Republican-controlled Senate returned the nomination nine months later without taking a vote.

Before earning his law degree in 1990, Harris served as a legislative field representative for the Seafarers International Union.

This isn't Harris's first go-round with transition planning. In 1992, he served on the transition team for President Clinton.

_ By Jesse J. Holland



To lead his transition at the State Department, Obama chose one former official with years of foreign policy experience and another with deep ties to Democratic politics.

Sherman was counselor at the State Department during the second term of the Clinton administration, advising then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and coordinating policy on North Korea. She was a frequent figure on TV defending the Clinton administration's approach to curbing North Korea's nuclear program.

Since leaving government she has been a top executive of The Albright Group, an international consulting firm headed by the former secretary of state. During Clinton's first term Sherman handled legislative affairs for State.

Her partner on the Obama transition team will be Thomas E. Donilon, who served as chief spokesman and as chief of staff at State during the Clinton administration. He is now a partner in the Washington office of the law firm of O'Melveny and Myers. The firm's Web site says he advises companies and their boards on a range of "sensitive governance, policy, legal and regulatory matters."

Donilon previously was an executive vice president at Fannie Mae, the money-losing mortgage finance company that was seized by federal regulators more than two months ago.

According to his State Department biography, Donilon managed the Democratic national conventions in 1980 and 1984 and in 1985 served as top legal officer to the Democratic National Committee's convention site selection committee. He was a senior adviser to the 1988 presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and he was an adviser to President Clinton's 1992 transition.

Donilon also served in the White House during the Carter administration.

_ By Robert Burns



Warren is a member of the transition team's agency review working group and will help oversee international trade and economic agencies.

He is a Rhodes Scholar and chief operating officer and managing director of Stonebridge International LLC. He currently is on "partial leave" from the business, according to the Obama campaign.

Stonebridge advertises itself as the "premier international advisory firm at the nexus of commerce and public policy." According to records on file with the Senate Office of Public Records, that apparently translates into lobbying. Records show Stonebridge has lobbied for Airbus Americas Inc., and energy companies ConocoPhillips, Dynegy and Gulfsands Petroleum Ltd.

Based in Washington, the company does a global business. Warren is responsible for the firm's overall management, client service and business development.

He came to Stonebridge from Horne Engineering Services and was president of Appfluent Technologies, a software company. He also serves as chairman of the board of Ironbridge Systems, another technology company. Previously, Warren was with McKinsey & Co., a Washington-based consulting firm.

He also has political experience, having served as executive director of the White House National Economic Council, created under former President Clinton. The council advises the president on global economic policy.

_ By John Dunbar



Another Clintonite on the Obama transition team is David J. Hayes, a Stanford University-educated lawyer and former deputy secretary at the Interior Department under Bruce Babbitt. He'll lead the transition at Interior, the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

In recent years, Hayes has been outspoken about Congress' need to require mandatory reductions in the emissions blamed for global warming and the need for a new law to allow industrial polluters to get credit for investing in emissions reductions elsewhere, such as at landfills, at farms and in forests. These measures — known as offsets — are controversial.

Hayes, until recently, was a partner at the Washington law firm Latham and Watkins, where he led the environment, land and resources department. He serves on the board of the advocacy organization American Rivers, and is a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund. Over the course of his career as an attorney, he has represented environmental groups as well as corporations and industrial associations, according to a search of public records.

As deputy secretary of Interior from 1999-2001, Hayes worked to protect redwood forests in Northern California, to preserve endangered species and to improve water management of the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to southern California and western states.

_ By Dina Cappiello





A man who went from a door-to-door brush salesman to millionaire high-tech lobbyist to historian will oversee science, technology, space and arts for the transition.

Wheeler is a venture capitalist at Core Capital Partners. He had been chief executive officer for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association and National Cable Television Association.

"Tom Wheeler is the rock star of telecom," Pat Mitchell, then president of the Public Broadcasting Service, told the Los Angeles Times in a 2002 profile. "He's always the one that shakes things up a bit."

Armed with multiple cell phones, Wheeler was a Washington telecom fixture from 1976, when he started with the cable association, to 2004. His last dozen years were at the cell phone lobby. He also founded and headed several high-tech companies.

Wheeler, who is not well known by science policy experts, dabbled in history, writing two books about the Civil War. One book, "Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails," explores how the president used the new technology of the telegraph to "win the Civil War" and portrays the Illinois-based president as an astute user of modern technology.

Wheeler, a lifelong Democrat, also was a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

He once described his political survival instincts this way: "When you're losing the battle, change the rules."

In columns he wrote about the wireless industry and in interviews, Wheeler often talked about embracing change in technology. "I think the biggest problem is that we all tend to define tomorrow in terms of what we know today," he told the Los Angeles Times.

_ By Seth Borenstein



Sewall, a terrorism and counterinsurgency expert, with aid the transition at the national security agencies.

She is on part-time leave from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she runs a center on human rights policy. The university says Sewall's research focuses in part on the "ethics of fighting insurgencies and terrorism."

She was a deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Clinton, with responsibility for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid.

At Harvard, Sewall has been working with another Obama transition adviser, defense policy specialist John P. White, on a yearlong assessment of senior civil-military decision-making.

In 2007, Sewall wrote a new introduction to the Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, an updated doctrine that was overseen by Gen. David Petraeus.

Writing in The Washington Post early last year about that effort, Sewall criticized President Bush's "surge" strategy now credited with helping lower violence in Iraq.

"The Bush plan is burdened with three main deficiencies: too few capable U.S., allied and Iraqi counterinsurgent forces; weak U.S. efforts at promoting political and economic reform, and corrupt or feckless Iraqi institutions and leadership," Sewall wrote. "The administration's strategy may have changed, but the supporting components have not."

_ By Anne Gearan



A civil rights lawyer from Maryland, Perez will assist the transition team responsible for four departments: Justice, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development.

Perez is secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which enforces workplace safety laws. He spent several years working in the Clinton administration and for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. He was the senator's chief counsel.

Perez held a variety of civil rights positions at the Justice Department. His biography with the state of Maryland says he was a federal prosecutor for the department's civil rights division. In that post he supervised the federal prosecution of some high profile cases, including a hate crime case in Texas involving a gang of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially motivated crime spree directed at African-Americans.

In the final two years of the Clinton administration, Perez served as the director of the office for civil rights within the Health and Human Services Department. The office investigates complaints alleging discrimination in services from health care providers.

Before he went to work in the administration of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, Perez spent about seven years working as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

_ By Kevin Freking

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