Project 21 Press Release: African-American Network Calls For Quick Vote on Education Department’s Civil Rights Nominee

Believing the lack of a full staffed U.S. Department of Education is a disservice to our children, the members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 urge the members of the U.S. Senate to work quickly so that a timely confirmation vote can be scheduled on the nomination of Gerald A. Reynolds for the position of Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Civil Rights. After months of waiting, Reynolds is only now scheduled for a confirmation hearing on February 26, and has had his reputation tarnished by false allegations during the interim time.

Reynolds, a Project 21 member, is currently the senior regulatory counsel for the Kansas City Power and Light Company in Kansas City, Missouri. His nomination was announced by President George W. Bush in June of 2001, and the official nomination of Reynolds was delivered to the U.S. Senate on September of 2001. Since that time, Reynolds – the publicly-educated son of a New York City policeman – has been the target of a vicious smear campaign by liberal groups claiming the black conservative is too extreme to serve as Education Department’s civil rights watchdog. Senator Ted Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has furthermore allowed the Reynolds nomination to languish in his committee for over five months.

Criticisms of Reynolds’s beliefs and experience are deliberately misleading. As a regulatory lawyer and veteran advisor to several Washington public policy organizations, Reynolds is extremely well-qualified to interpret and administer federal civil rights policy. He has pledged to uphold and enforce existing civil rights laws and adjudicate racial preference policies in the manner they have been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. With regard to allegations that Reynolds opposes Title IX provisions to equalize female athletic opportunities in educational institutions, he has never spoken on the issue and would come to the Department of Education with an open mind on the issue.

“Ensuring our children receive a quality education is… one of the most important civil right issues of this century. Jerry shares my belief,” said Project 21 member Dr. Alveda King Tookes, the niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I believe that this position… will allow Jerry to pursue vigilant enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws, as well as meet the goals set forth by President Bush and Congress… to improve the quality of education received by our children.”

Project 21 has been a leading voice in the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact Chris Burger or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s web site at

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