President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Melody Barnes to fill the role of Director of the Domestic Policy Council in his administration. Barnes is currently the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington based think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. CAP is playing a dominant role in shaping the policy direction of the new administration. Her work for the group involves coordinating its policy departments and external consultants.
Prior to her current role at the Center for American Progress, Barnes worked on the staff of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as his chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She brings to the Obama White House broad experience in Washington, having also served as the director of legislative affairs for the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. In the latter position Barns was active in efforts to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1992.
Barnes began her career in New York at Shearman & Sterling and is a member of both the New York and District of Columbia Bar Associations. She sits on the board of Emily’s List and the Maya Angelou Public Charter School. Barnes received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her law degree from the University of Michigan.