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Harkin Names New HELP Committee Chief Education Counsel

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today announced that he has named Mildred Otero as the Majority’s new Chief Education Counsel.

“With her extensive experience advancing education initiatives that benefit children from cradle to career, Mildred is a valuable addition to our team,” said Harkin. “Ensuring that our students are prepared to compete in the 21st Century global economy is one of my highest priorities. Mildred brings a wealth of education policy and practical Senate experience to the position, which will serve us well as the Committee continues its work to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, expand and improve access to higher education, and explore innovative education strategies being employed across the country.”

Otero joins the HELP Committee after serving as a Senior Policy Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helping to lead its federal advocacy efforts for the U.S. Programs. In this role, Otero focused on policy advocacy that advances the foundation’s College Ready and Postsecondary Success strategies. Prior to joining the Foundation, Otero served in the Obama Administration on Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s transition team at the U.S. Department of State and as Senior Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), collaborating in areas of education, youth, and social protection policy affecting Latin America and Caribbean region.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Otero received her Master of Social Work at New York University. She came to Washington in 2003 as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow working for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She went on to work at the Children’s Defense Fund as Deputy Director for Early Childhood Development and then as Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, before rejoining the office of then Senator Clinton in early 2006, where she served as her Senior Policy Advisor for education and children’s issues until 2009.