ACLU Welcomes New Communications, Field Directors To Legislative Office

January 10, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office today announced the hiring of two senior-level directors, Llenda Jackson-Leslie as Director of Legislative Communications and Jeani Murray as National Field Director.

“These two outstanding professionals will play a pivotal role in helping the ACLU influence policy decisions that have a profound effect on our basic constitutional rights,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Whether fighting to protect civil liberties, guard the right to privacy, or defend our most fundamental freedoms, the ACLU plays a critical role in shaping the most important legislative issues of the day.”

As Director of Legislative Communications, Jackson-Leslie will formulate media and communications strategies to further the ACLU’s federal legislative goals. Jackson-Leslie is a prominent media relations professional and civil rights leader from Detroit. She is the current President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing women’s participation in the political process. She convened Michigan’s “Women’s Summit 2005: Challenges for Equity” and helped form One United Michigan, an umbrella group of more than 90 organization opposed to an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative in the state. She also served on the advisory board of ACLU of Michigan.

Jackson-Leslie previously served as press secretary for Detroit City Council member JoAnn Watson and campaign communications director for Alma Wheeler Smith, the first African-American woman to run for Michigan Lieutenant Governor. Prior to that, she was communications director for Michigan’s Third Judicial Circuit Court, deputy director for public information for the City of Detroit, and a congressional staff assistant to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

As National Field Director, Murray is charged with coordinating field programs and developing grassroots advocacy and federal lobbying strategies with ACLU’s affiliates in all 50 states. Currently, the ACLU has record-high membership, with more than a half-million members and supporters nationwide.

Before coming to the ACLU, Murray was one the first hires of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, having served as Dean’s Iowa state director. Murray had earned acclaim as executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party for having overseen the creation of the web-based voter file and palm pilot canvassing techniques that gained widespread attention and were replicated nationally in the 2004 campaign.

Murray also is a former communications director and chief of staff to five-term Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell. In 2002, she served as campaign manager for Democrat John Norris’ challenge for Iowa’s 4th District seat, a campaign that raised more money ($1.3 million) than any other congressional challenge in Iowa history.

“Llenda and Jeani are savvy fighters who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the ACLU’s efforts to ensure that lawmakers honor their responsibility to uphold the Constitution,” Fredrickson added.

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