Dodd announces presidential campaign national co-chairs

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Chris Dodd for President campaign announced a diverse group of backers to serve as National Co-Chairs of his campaign. Representatives Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), former National Conference for Community and Justice President and CEO Sanford Cloud, Jr., and former Tennessee Senator and Ambassador to China James Sasser will lead Dodd's campaign, providing counsel and guidance as he continues his quest for the presidency.

"The people who lead my campaign are, in a way, a cross-section of America, representing backgrounds diverse in geography, race, and biography," said Dodd. "But they share one very important thing: a commitment to changing this country."

Becerra, who serves as Assistant to the Speaker of the House, has represented the Los Angeles area since 1992. He serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where he is both the first Latino in the post, as well as the only current member from Southern California represented on the Committee.

"When people focus on experience, straight-out transparent honesty and integrity, they'll find that Senator Dodd is second to none. No one works harder to increase opportunities for working families than Chris Dodd," said Becerra. "Chris Dodd truly is the 'Children's Senator,' making children's issues a priority before it was fashionable, as they say. And being fluent in Spanish, Dodd also has a wonderful capacity to reach Hispanic communities."

DeLauro, who represents the New Haven area of Connecticut, is the former Chief of Staff to Senator Dodd. She has served alongside Dodd as part of the Connecticut delegation since 1990 when she was first elected. She sits on the influential House Appropriations Committee, where she is chairwoman of the Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee and as a member of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittees. She has served as co-chair of the House Steering and Policy Committee since 2002.

"Having worked for Chris Dodd before I worked with him, I know as well as anyone that he knows how to get things accomplished in Washington. He's made a career by rising above partisan gridlock and partnering with Republicans to pass important legislation such as the Family and Medical Leave and child care grants," said DeLauro. "We need a president with real experience who won't need on-the-job training."

James Sasser is a former Senator who represented the state of Tennessee from 1976 until 1995. In 1990, he became the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. In that role, he engineered passage of President Bill Clinton's first budget, which reduced the deficit by $500 billion dollars over 10 years, but passed without any Republican votes.

Sasser was appointed ambassador to the People's Republic of China by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1995, where he served until 2001.

"In an increasingly volatile world, we need a president who has historical perspective and a sensitive appreciation of situations across the globe," said Sasser. "Chris Dodd doesn't just fill a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee; he's played a central role in nearly every foreign policy debate over the last quarter-century. From the crisis in the Middle East to Latin America, where his experience leads back to his Peace Corps days, Americans will have a president with unparalleled foreign policy knowledge in Dodd."

Sanford Cloud, Jr. was the President and CEO of National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) from 1994 until 2004. Mr. Cloud, a lawyer who has been active in encouraging private and public sector investments and philanthropic initiatives that aid people of color and the economically disadvantaged, is the first African American to lead NCCJ since its founding. For most of the decade since 1997, Mr. Cloud has convened leading thinkers with opposing perspectives in nationally telecast discussions known as The National Conversation on Race, Ethnicity and Culture. He is a former State Senator from Connecticut who has known Senator Dodd since childhood.

"Chris Dodd has been my friend for as long as I can remember," said Sanford ("Sandy") Cloud, Jr. "and I know two things about him: He tells a great story and he knows how to win. Whether he's winning Homeland Security grants for firefighters or holding corporate leaders accountable for scandals like Enron, Chris Dodd never shies away from a fight, and he always wins for America."