Wildlife Group's Chairman Expands Resume

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jerome Ringo , who earlier this year became chairman of the board of the National Wildlife Federation, the first African American in such a leadership position at a major national environmental group, is taking on yet another challenge.

Ringo was recently named president of the Apollo Alliance, a young coalition of organized labor, environmental, business and civil rights leaders determined to free the United States of dependence on foreign oil. The alliance is trying to educate the public and lobby the Hill about the need to invest in alternative clean-energy sources, energy-efficient technology and jobs.

A child of the southern Louisiana bayous, Ringo spent 20 years in that state's petrochemical industry, including time as a union leader. After early retirement, he founded Progressive Resources Inc. to help communities affected by the refineries.

The name of the organization is homage to John F. Kennedy's Apollo program to put a man on the moon.

The alliance, initially a joint project of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and the Institute for America's Future, has since been endorsed by leaders of the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, the National Wildlife Federation, the Union of Concern Scientists, the NAACP and many other groups. It has received support from the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Better World Fund and others.

"The Apollo Alliance is leading the charge to real solutions and jobs creation," Ringo said in an interview.

To make progress toward reducing the nation's reliance on foreign oil, Ringo said, the alliance is trying to build diverse coalitions. "We are an organization that looks like the face of America," he said.

But he also acknowledged that the environment has not been a priority for many black people, something that he wants to change.

"Poor people are more concerned about how to pay their rent as opposed to the depletion of ozone. But what good is next month's rent when you're dying of cancer from chemicals?" he said.

And clearly, he said, "the majority of people in this country want a clean environment for their children and their children's children."

Ex-Clinton Aides Join Forces

The buzz: Two major Clintonites will be setting up shop together soon to help leaders manage in politically charged environments.

The two are Patrick Griffin , former chief lobbyist for then-President Bill Clinton, and Maggie Williams , who was chief of staff to the former president and his foundation and earlier chief of staff to then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Griffin is "of counsel" at the lobby firm that he founded, now named Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart , and is scholar in residence at American University School of Government. Williams, a member of the board of the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School University, was earlier this year a fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Details to be worked out.

GOP Women Form Health Care Firm

Three Republican women are setting out on their own to form a shop that specializes in strategic consulting and health care policy issues. Tarplin, Downs and Young opens its doors after the first of the year.

The three are Linda E. Tarplin , currently at the OB-C Group lobby shop and earlier legislative affairs aide to President George H.W. Bush; Raissa H. Downs , who's at the GOP lobby shop Barbour, Griffin and Rogers and earlier principal deputy at the Department of Health and Human Services in the current Bush administration; and Jennifer B. Young , who joins from the Bush administration where she was assistant secretary for legislation at HHS, and earlier worked on the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees.

"Health care has become in this town a very specialized business," Tarplin said.

Tarplin says the new lobby shop won't be discriminating against male lobbyists or Democrats as Tarplin, Downs and Young grows.

Republican Trio to Open Lobby Shop

And for that matter, James M. Kelly , just out of the Bush White House, said his group of three Republican men won't be discriminating against women or Democrats as their new shop expands.

Kelly, previously special assistant to President Bush and deputy director for intergovernmental affairs, joined Ken Meyer , former deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental and interagency affairs at the Education Department, to form Phoenix Strate gies , a business development, lobbying and consulting firm. The third partner is Duane Parde , currently executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

One of their first clients is Digital Bridge, a technology company.

Kelly and Meyer had hoped to get started this summer, but Kelly, a commander in the Coast Guard Reserves was called up to help after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

On the Move

Speaking of HHS refugees . . . Kevin W. Keane , former assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS, is joining the American Beverage Association as senior vice president for communications. Before going to work for then-HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, Keane was deputy chief of staff for then-Wisconsin Gov. Thompson and managed the Wisconsin state office in Washington.

Also moving about town, Susan Brophy , former senior vice president at the Time Warner Global Public Policy Office, has joined the Glover Park Group as a partner in the legislative affairs practice. Earlier, Brophy, was deputy director of legislative affairs in the Clinton White House.

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