Controversy over Naming of Peace Corps Building


Please do two things:

1) Call your congressional representatives and your Senators to voice your opposition in naming the Peace Corps Building - 202-224-3121

2) Please forward this notice to all of your colleagues who have served as Peace Corps Volunteers and are opposed to thoughtless political posturing.

Below is the web site an article written by Al Kamen from the Thursday, February 22 in the Washington Post where a couple of folks on the Hill (specifically Senators Trent Lott and Phil Graham) want to name the PC Building after Coverdell.

Having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Morocco, and as the Women in Development Director for 5 years for the Peace Corps and then for 6 years as a member of the National Peace Corps Association Board of Directors, and now as Chair of the 40th Anniversary Celebration Task Force, I personally am disgusted by the thoughtlessness of this idea, the political posturing and the insult to all of us who have chosen to serve. Personally, I am vehemently opposed to naming the Peace Corps building after Coverdell.

Paul Coverdell may have been a nice guy, but he was also a very controversial director, having traveled nearly 30 times in less than one year to Georgia saying he was "trying to increase the number of recruits from there" when, from the inside it certainly looked like he was running his Senate campaign from the Agency - decreasing appropriated dollars from Congress for programs to support the work of Volunteers in the field and increasing the budget for domestic programs (and the number of recruits from Georgia did not increase by even 1). Moreover, he served less than 2 years as head of the Agency; he was not the first director of the Agency and certainly not the founder of the Peace Corps. He has had a program named after him at PC - Worldwise Schools and if these Senators are so interested in naming something, they can name a building in Georgia or a Caucus room in the Senate.

If they want to name the Peace Corps building anything, they should put all of our 161,000 names on it and name it after each and every American who served our country in peace and by choice and not some political appointee who basically didn't want the job to begin with! And they should also highlight the names of the 300+ Americans who died in service. Or at the very least - name it after our founder JFK. Or at least Sarge or Loret. But this is beyond a slap in the face to each and every one of us who served as Peace Corps Volunteers as well to our hosts.

Perhaps it would help their thinking if they consider it from the perspective that if you have 161,000 Americans - each of whom is allowable by law to donate $1,000 to a primary campaign and $1,000 to a general campaign that gives a total of $320 Million dollars!

Please send this note out to your list serve and whomever else you think would be as ticked off as I am. Please ask each person to immediately write/call/email Senators Trent Lott 202-224-6253 and Phil Gramm 202-224-2934 as well as your own Member of Congress expressing your opposition in naming the PC building after Coverdell who simply doesn't deserve it!

Thanks, Barbara Ferris