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Weissman takes helm of Public Citizen

Rob Weissman, a longtime advocate for the public interest, becomes Public Citizen's third president today. You can see our Rob's stand on the issues here, and our press release here. Here's his welcome video:

I am very excited about Rob for several reasons. First, I have known Rob for ten years. When I was a waiter at Cafe Luna, Rob was a great tipper and patient customer - two qualities I weight heavily when considering someone's character. There are many well-known individuals who I served who were neither.

Second, Rob was the one who convinced me to take the job at PC's Global Trade Watch division. He is a real rare creature in Washington in that he shows as much respect to young activists as he does to old pros. There are certainly some meetings I go to where many people don't give you the time of day unless you have been around town for 30 years, and then not always. Rob is decidedly not such a person, and is consistently kind and encouraging - but also tough, challenging students and others to step up and take responsibility.

Third, Rob is a real expert on issues of corporate accountability, and in particular of corporate globalization. Here's what he had to say about pending FTAs:

“Designed by the world’s largest corporations, our global trading system benefits those who designed it. Trading rules, including those in existing and pending free trade agreements, strip power away from democratically elected governments. Trade rules prevent our federal government and our states (as well as other governments) from protecting consumers and the environment. They interfere with efforts to promote community development and the preservation of good-paying jobs. They give pharmaceutical companies the right to price gouge the world’s poor, and help agribusiness eliminate family farms.

“When it comes to trade, we need a redirection. We need trade rules that enhance democracy and ensure that trade advances rather than undermines the things we want from an economy: safe products, good-paying jobs and decent livelihoods, vibrant communities and a healthy planet.

“The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act offers us a way to achieve this redirection. There is overwhelming public support for the course correction that the TRADE Act would achieve; the only question is whether the public can be organized to overcome the entrenched interests supporting the trade status quo.”

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