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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
 
• Bidtah N. Becker – Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development
• James B. Cunningham – Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Department of State
• Richard G. Olson – Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Department of State
 
The President also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
 
• Peter H. Bell – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Jack Martin Brandt – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Micki Edelsohn  – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Ann Hardiman – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Carl M. La Mell – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Julie Ann Petty – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
 Lauren Potter – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Lillian Sugarman – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Carol Wheeler – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Sheryl White-Scott – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
 
President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated men and women have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”
 
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
 
Bidtah N. Becker, Nominee for Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development
Bidtah N. Becker is Assistant Attorney General for the Natural Resources Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.  Ms. Becker served in the Water Rights Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice from 2004 to 2012, and in the Human Services and Government Unit from 2002 to 2004.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Becker taught government courses at the Santa Fe Indian School and was also a Chaplain in Residence at the Georgetown University Campus Ministry.  She serves on the Board of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and the University of New Mexico School of Law Alumni Board of Directors.  Ms. Becker received a B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
 
Ambassador James B. Cunningham, Nominee for Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Department of State
Ambassador James B. Cunningham, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, is Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.  Prior to his post in Kabul, Ambassador Cunningham served as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2011.  From 2005 to 2008, he was U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong.  Previous assignments include: Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004); Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Rome (1996-1999); Director of the State Department's Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1993-1995); and Chief of Staff to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General (1989-1990).  Earlier assignments include posts with the U.S. Mission to NATO, as well as posts at the U.S. Embassies in Rome and Stockholm.  Ambassador Cunningham received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University.
 
Ambassador Richard G. Olson, Nominee for Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Department of State
Ambassador Richard G. Olson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from June 2011 to June 2012. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels from 2006 to 2008.  Additional overseas assignments include posts in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Najaf, Iraq.  Additional Washington assignments with the State Department include posts in the State Department Operations Center, NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, and the Office of Iraqi Affairs.  Ambassador Olson joined the Department of State in 1982.  He received an A.B. from Brown University. 
 
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
 
Peter H. Bell, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Peter H. Bell is the Executive Vice President for Programs & Services at Autism Speaks, a position he has held since 2007.  From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Bell was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cure Autism Now, where he helped to establish the Autism Treatment Network.  Prior to his work at Cure Autism Now, Mr. Bell held a number of marketing positions at McNeil Consumer Healthcare from 1992 to 2004.  Mr. Bell serves on numerous boards and commissions, including as Co-Founder and President of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism and Chair of the Community Advisory Committee for the International Society for Autism Research.  In 2007, he served as Chair of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs for autism research.   He was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in January 2012.  Mr. Bell is the father of a young adult with autism.  Mr. Bell received a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
 
Jack Martin Brandt, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Jack Martin Brandt is the Disability Policy Specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, a position he has held since 2010.  Previously, Mr. Brandt was a Disability Rights Advocate at the Virginia Office for Protection & Advocacy from 2008 to 2010 and a Disability Policy Consultant for the State of Virginia from 2006 to 2008.  He was a Virginia Governor’s Fellow at the Office of Community Integration for People with Disabilities in 2006 and a Congressional Intern for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee in 2005.  Mr. Brandt serves on the Virginia Community Integration Advisory Commission and the Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council.  In 2006, he received the Jackie Crews Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities.  Mr. Brandt was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in January 2012.  Mr. Brandt received a B.A. from James Madison University and is pursuing an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University.
 
Micki Edelsohn, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Micki Edelsohn is currently the Treasurer of Homes For Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization she founded in 1999 that builds group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities.  In addition, she works with many organizations for individuals with intellectual disabilities, including The Arc of Delaware, the Governor’s Commission on Community Based Alternatives, the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware, and the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities.  Recently, Mrs. Edelsohn was inducted into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame and was named one of the “25 Who Matter” in Delaware by The News Journal.  She has also received the Humanitarian Award from the United Way of Delaware, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wilmington Senior Center, and the Delaware Housing Coalition Award.  Mrs. Edelsohn was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  Mrs. Edelsohn has an adult son with an intellectual disability.  She received a B.A. from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
 
Ann Hardiman, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Ann Hardiman is currently the Executive Director of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies, a position she has held since 1995.  Ms. Hardiman previously worked as an Assistant Executive Director at Opengate, Inc., from 1992 to 1995, and as the Director of Residential Services at Rehabilitation Programs, Inc., which is now known as  Abilities First, from 1978 to 1992.  Ms. Hardiman was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  She received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Potsdam and an M.A. from Marist College.
 
Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez is a Program Officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Disability Rights Initiative, a position she has held since December 2009.  From 2002 to 2009, Ms. Hillman de Velásquez was Director of Disability Rights International’s Americas Programs.  In 2003, she received the Paul G. Hearne/American Association of People with Disabilities Leadership Award as an emerging leader in the disability field.  Ms. Hillman de Velásquez was previously appointed as a Member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  She received a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.
 
Carl M. La Mell, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Carl M. La Mell is President and CEO of Clearbrook, an Illinois service provider for individuals with developmental disabilities.  He has held this position since 1996.  Previously, Mr. La Mell worked at the Victor C. Neumann Association from 1979 to 1995 as its CFO, Associate Executive Director, and lastly as its CEO.  Mr. La Mell is also a member of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Illinois Department of Human Services State Task Force on Autism, and the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  From February 2010 to April 2010, he chaired the Finance Committee of the Illinois Statewide Early Intervention Task Force.  He has been awarded the Executive of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Community Leader of the Year Award given by the City of Rolling Meadows, and the Claude D. Pepper Distinguished Service Award.  Mr. La Mell was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  Mr. La Mell received a B.S. from DePaul University.
 
Julie Ann Petty, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Julie Ann Petty has been a Project Trainer for Partners for Inclusive Communities at the Arkansas University Center on Disabilities since March 2007.  From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Petty worked as a Policy Analyst at the Human Services Research Institute and, from 1998 to 2007, she was the State Coordinator for Arkansas People First.  Ms. Petty has served as National Chairperson for Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and Co-Chair for the Alliance for Full Participation.  Ms. Petty was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in November 2011.  Ms. Petty received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Arkansas.
 
Lauren Potter, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Lauren Potter is a cast member on the FOX television program Glee where she plays the part of Becky Jackson.  Ms. Potter serves on the Board of Best Buddies International and lends her name and fame to numerous organizations, including the Down Syndrome Association.  She has participated in the AbilityPath.org campaign against bullying and partnered with the Special Olympics in their “End the Word” campaign.  Her disability rights advocacy has earned her awards from The Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, the Arc, the Full Life Festival, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.  Ms. Potter was previously appointed as a Member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in November 2011.  She is a graduate of Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California and is currently a student at Irvine Valley College.
 
Lillian Sugarman, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Lillian Sugarman has been an independent consultant for early child development programs in Washington, D.C. since April 2012.  Most recently, Ms. Sugarman was Project Director for the Community Development Institute on an interim project from April to July 2012.  Previously, Ms. Sugarman worked at the national nonprofit organization ZERO TO THREE as Director of the Early Head Start National Resources Center from 2004 to 2011 and as the Center’s Assistant Director from 1999 to 2004.  Prior to that, Ms. Sugarman served in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as Director for Technical Assistance in the Child Care Bureau from 1997 to 1999, as a Program Specialist in the Child Care Bureau from 1995 to 1997, and as a Head Start and Youth Program Specialist in the Region III Regional Office from 1987 to 1995.  She is currently a member of the Human Rights Committee at the Mary Campbell Center and previously served on the advisory committee for the Special Quest Project.  Ms. Sugarman was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  She received an M.A. in Teaching Early Childhood from the University of the District of Columbia and an M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
 
Carol Wheeler, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Carol Wheeler is currently U.S. Board Chair of the South Africa-Washington International Program, Honorary Board Chair of N Street Village, and Chair of the Friends of J.O. Wilson Elementary School.  Previously, Ms. Wheeler served as coordinator of the Washington chapter of Project Children and was the founder and Board Chair of the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership.  In addition, she was a consultant with America's Public Television Stations, Vice President for Government Affairs at the National Association of Broadcasters, a liaison for women's organizations in President Carter’s Administration, and Executive Director of the Women's Campaign Fund.  She was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  Ms. Wheeler is the mother of a young adult with Williams Syndrome.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa.
 
Dr. Sheryl White-Scott, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Dr. Sheryl White-Scott is the Medical Director for Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Services, a position she has held since 2009.  In addition, Dr. White-Scott has been the Associate Director of Community Health Services at AHRC/New York City since 2008 and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at New York Medical College since 1993.  From 1999 to 2007, Dr. White-Scott was the Director of the Program for Developmental Disabilities at Saint Vincent’s/Catholic Medical Center.  Dr. White-Scott is currently a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and former President of the American Association of University Affiliated Programs, which is now known as the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.  Dr. White-Scott was previously appointed as a Member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President Obama in May 2011.  She received a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. from State University of New York Stony Brook School of Medicine.