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Wed, 07.16.1947

Alexis Herman, Politician born

Alexis M. Herman

*Alexis Herman was born on this date in 1947.  She is a Black administrator and politician.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Alexis Margaret Herman is the daughter of politician Alex Herman and Gloria Caponis, a schoolteacher.  She earned her high school diploma in 1965 from the Heart of Mary High School. She briefly attended Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and Spring Hill College in Mobile. Still, she transferred to Xavier University of New Orleans, Louisiana, where she became an active Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1969.

After college, Herman worked for Catholic Charities and other agencies advocating minority women's employment. Jimmy Carter met the young Herman while campaigning in Atlanta, Georgia, and, after winning the White House in 1977, tapped her to be Director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau.  At age 29, she was the youngest to ever serve in that position. In 1981, Herman founded her consulting firm, A.M. Herman & Associates. She served as president of the company while remaining active in Democratic politics. During her tenure as chief of staff and later vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, she organized the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

After Bill Clinton's victory in the 1992 Presidential election, Herman became deputy director of the Presidential Transition Office.  She was later appointed to head the White House Office of Public Liaison, where she was responsible for the administration's relations with interest groups. During Clinton's second term, Herman was named Secretary of Labor, the first black nominated for that position and the fifth woman appointed.

Congressional Republicans and labor unions initially opposed her nomination, but she earned praise from her peers for her handling of the 1997 UPS workers' strike.  Elaine Chao replaced her in the George W. Bush administration. Herman now serves on the boards of several major companies, including Coca-Cola Corporation, Toyota, Cummins, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Prudential.

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