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Wendy Sherman

Deputy Secretary of State

Wendy Sherman has had a long career in the political sphere. She began her career with positions related to social work and partisan politics, including leading EMILY’s List. Sherman moved into diplomacy under the Clinton administration and became a top U.S. diplomat who eventually served as lead negotiator on the Iran Deal. In her most recent position as Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, Sherman often criticized Trump’s State Department’s policies and has voiced clear support for reproductive and LGBTQIA+ rights.

Sherman Was Confirmed As Deputy Secretary Of State In April 2021

Sherman Was Confirmed As Deputy Secretary Of State On April 13, 2021. "The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee Wendy Sherman to be deputy secretary of state, the number two position at the department. The Senate backed the nomination by 56-42, as a handful of Republicans joined Biden’s fellow Democrats to vote in Sherman’s favor." [Reuters, 4/13/21]

Then President-elect Biden Had Announced Wendy Sherman To Fill The State Department No. 2 Diplomat Spot Days Before His Inauguration. “President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday formally announced longtime diplomat Wendy Sherman as his pick to serve as the No. 2 official at the State Department, putting forward another top Obama-era official for a key role in his incoming administration.” [The Hill, 1/16/21]

Sherman Previously Served As A Top U.S. Diplomat Under The Clinton And Obama Administrations And Held Positions In Foreign Policy Organizations

Sherman Has Held Numerous Posts In The Department Of State Previously, Including Under The Obama Administration When She Led The U.S. Negotiations On The Iran Deal. “Sherman served as the under secretary of State for political affairs, the fourth-highest post at the State Department, during the Obama administration and was the lead U.S. negotiator on the nuclear deal with Iran. She also previously had stints as a counselor at the State Department and assistant secretary of State for legislative affairs. She is currently the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and a senior counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group.” [The Hill, 1/16/21]

Sherman Has Held A Number Of Positions In Leading Foreign Policy Organizations And Worked For The Clinton Administration’s State Department In Multiple Capacities. “She serves on the boards of the International Crisis Group and the Atlantic Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. Ambassador Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team that reached agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran for which, among other diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama. Prior to her service at the Department of State, she was Vice Chair and founding partner of the Albright Stonebridge Group, Counselor of the Department of State under Secretary Madeleine Albright and Special Advisor to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea, and Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under Secretary Warren Christopher.” [Harvard Kennedy School, accessed 1/22/21]

Stemming From Her Previous Government Experience, Sherman Tweeted That She Has Worked With Biden’s Picks For Secretary Of State And U.S. Ambassador To The UN For Years.

[Twitter, 11/23/20]


Sherman Has Long Supported Abortion Rights Professionally And Personally

Sherman Advocated For Reproductive Choice At The Conference On The Status Of Women (CSW) While Working For The Clinton Administration

Sherman Signaled The Administration’s Intent To Support Reproductive Choice Including Abortion At CSW. “On March 16, a State Department ‘action cable’ to all overseas posts urged top officials to push the U.S. position. ‘The priority issues for the U.S. include assuring family planning and reproductive health services, improving the status of women, resource mobilization and access to safe abortion.’ Wendy R. Sherman, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said in a letter to Mr. Smith that the Clinton administration planned to push abortion choice at another U.N. meeting. “Our intent at the CSW [Conference on the Status of Women] was to support reproductive choice. As a matter of principle, we believe that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. We believe that women should be provided the means to prevent unwanted pregnancies.” [The Washington Times, 9/2/94]

Sherman Tweeted In Support Of The Polish Women Protesting For Their Reproductive Rights In November 2020.

[Twitter, 11/2/20]

Sherman Began Her Career With Positions In Social Work, State-Level Government, And Leading EMILY’s List Before Pivoting Into Diplomacy

Sherman Worked In Partisan Politics and Social Work Prior To Her Work At The Department Of State. “Unlike most of her peers at the State Department, Sherman’s first jobs were in partisan politics and social work, not diplomacy. She was the director of EMILY’s List, which provides money to pro-choice, female, Democratic political candidates, and she ran the successful Senate campaign of then-Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. She also served as director of Maryland’s office of child welfare and as the president and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, the charitable arm of the mortgage-lending giant.” [Foreign Policy, 10/15/13]

Sherman Led EMILY’s List In The Early 90s. “Groups like Emily's List, a fund-raising network for Democratic women who support abortion rights, are looking to the reapportionment year of 1992 to make significant gains in the House. Wendy Sherman, executive director of Emily's List, is already making recruiting trips into Florida and other states where House seats will be added in 1992, trying to line up women who are interested in running.” [New York Times, 10/29/90]

Sherman Has A Masters In Social Work And Began Her Career As Director Of Child Welfare For The State Of Maryland; She Has Also Led The Board Of Directors At Oxfam America. “Ambassador Sherman, with a Masters in Social Work, began her career as Director of Child Welfare for the State of Maryland. Later, she managed Senator Barbara Mikulski’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate, served as director of EMILY’s List and ran Campaign ’88 at the Democratic National Committee for the Dukakis presidential campaign. She served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, was Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America and served on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board and Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism.” [Harvard Kennedy School, accessed 1/22/21]



Sherman Has Voiced Support For LGBTQIA+ Rights As Deputy Secretary Of State

At A LGBTQIA+ Flag-Raising Event At The State Department’s Headquarters, Sherman Affirmed Her Support For LGBTQIA+ Rights And Lamented The Department’s Historic Persecution Of LGBTQI+ Employees

As Deputy Secretary Of State, Sherman Celebrated The Department’s Raising Of The LGBTQIA+ Progress Flag At Its Headquarters And Noted Progress Made Since The Supreme Court’s Decision Legalizing Marriage Equality. “Although many of our embassies and consulates have displayed the Pride and Progress flags overseas, today is the first time a flag recognizing the LGBTQI+ community will fly over State Department headquarters. Six years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry. It was a beautiful summer day much like this one. The District of Columbia and communities across the country all but exploded with joy and love. By nightfall, the White House was bathed in rainbow lights – the colors of Pride. But there was sadness too underneath the excitement that it took so long, that activists had to fight so very hard, that so many people didn’t live to see their relationships validated by the highest court in the land. Today’s ceremony is another joyful celebration, but it also gives us opportunity to reflect on the past and to recommit ourselves to supporting diversity, inclusion, and the rights of all people everywhere in the world.” [U.S. Department of State, 6/25/21]

Sherman Acknowledged The State Department’s Historic Persecution Of LGBTQI+ Employees, Otherwise Known As The “Lavender Scare,” And Pledged To Fight For Equality. “In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist ‘red scare’ was accompanied by the so-called ‘lavender scare.’ McCarthy and other government leaders claimed that gay and lesbian workers couldn’t be trusted to serve the United States and that they were of, quote, ‘dubious moral character,’ unquote. Across the federal government, countless public servants were investigated, punished, and oftentimes fired because of who they were and who they loved. And sadly, the State Department was especially aggressive in persecuting our own. The State Department started investigating and firing LGBTQI+ employees as early as the 1940s and all the way up to the early 1990s. All the way up to the early 1990s, Foreign Service officers could find their security clearances under review if they were known to be gay or, even in one case, if they subscribed to The Village Voice. Our mission is to serve the interests of the United States and to promote American values around the world. Our ability to stand up for human rights, for democracy, and for justice overseas is utterly dependent on the actions we take here at home. As much progress as we have made as we are celebrating today, we still have work to do to guarantee equality for LGBTQI+ people in our workplaces, in our schools, at the Department of State, in our government, and in our society.” [U.S. Department of State, 6/25/21]

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