Nov. 7, 2007

Public Citizen Welcomes Three New Board Members

Skrovan, Halperin and Figueroa Serve Up Powerful Blend of Passion, Consumer Activism and Experience, With a Shot of Humor

WASHINGTON, D.C. - What do “Everybody Loves Raymond,” presidential speechwriting and relentless telephone marketers have in common? They have all helped propel Public Citizen’s new board members onto the national stage. Public Citizen welcomes to its boards of directors documentary filmmaker and TV producer Steve Skrovan, former presidential speechwriter David Halperin and Liz Figueroa, a former California state senator who wrote the original “Do Not Call” list legislation.

“From the California state house, to the White House to the fictional house of TV’s Raymond Barone, the trio’s combined commitment and creativity have won them votes, fans, Emmys and audiences far and wide,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “These new board members broaden our outreach and enhance our capacity in many dimensions.”

Skrovan is a longtime stand-up comic who wrote for the “Seinfeld” show and produced “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Working with a fellow comic who had found plenty of material in her first job as Public Citizen’s founder Ralph Nader’s office manager, Skrovan co-wrote, produced and directed “An Unreasonable Man,” a documentary about Nader released in 2006.

“If there was one lesson I learned from my research on ‘An Unreasonable Man,’ it was that one person truly can make a difference,” Skrovan said. “I am flattered and proud to be asked to come aboard and support the work of Public Citizen, a whole merry band of troublemakers who are making a big difference.”

Halperin is no stranger to Public Citizen; he provided policy and strategic advice to the organization in  the 1990s, working on issues from civil justice to medical devices to homeland security. A former speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton and presidential candidate Howard Dean, Halperin is senior vice president at the Center for American Progress and the director of Campus Progress, the Center’s effort to help young people make their voices heard on critical issues.

“No one works harder, and no one has a stronger record of success, in standing up for health, safety, democracy and justice,” Halperin said about Public Citizen.

Figueroa’s powerful defense of consumer rights has kept telemarketers off the line and insurance companies out of hospital rooms. A California state senator from 1999 to 2006, Figueroa helped create the Healthy Families Program, which has provided health care to more than 500,000 California children. She fought for reform in the insurance industry and wrote the landmark law that gave California patients the right to sue negligent HMOs. But the legislation that won her the most ringing endorsements from just about anyone with a phone is the legislation that created California’s “Do Not Call List,” which prompted the Bush administration to follow her lead with a national “Do Not Call” program.

“When it comes to answering the call to activism, especially for the rights of consumers, Public Citizen is definitely the organization I want on my ‘do call’ list ” Figueroa said. “Joining the board is a natural evolution in my commitment to standing up - and not shutting up - when the voices of citizens must be heard.”

Figueroa and Skrovan will serve on the Public Citizen Foundation Board with the following directors: Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the Center for Public Interest Law; Lisa Blue, an attorney with Baron and Blue; Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen; Joseph Cotchett, an attorney with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; and Jim Hightower, an author, national radio commentator and founder of “The Hightower Lowdown.”

 Halperin joins the board of Public Citizen, Inc. Its members are Adolph Reed, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Joseph Page, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center; retired U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum, the former chairman of Consumer Federation of America; and Claybrook.

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