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Melody Barnes        

Executive Director Karsh Institute of Democracy at UVA, Professor at the Miller Center & Former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council

Melody Barnes is executive director of the UVA Karsh Institute of Democracy and W.L. Lyons Brown Family Director for Policy and Public Engagement at the Democracy Initiative, an interdisciplinary teaching, research, and engagement effort led by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. She is the J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the Miller Center and is also a distinguished fellow at the UVA School of Law. A co-founder of the domestic strategy firm MB2 Solutions LLC, Barnes has spent more than 25 years crafting public policy on a wide range of domestic issues.

During the administration of President Barack Obama, Barnes was assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She was also executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and chief counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her experience includes an appointment as director of legislative affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.

Barnes earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors in history, and her JD from the University of Michigan. She serves on the boards of directors of several corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations.

Speech Topics

Immigration: Reform Focused on 21st Century Economic and Security Needs

Today's Political Issues - Causes and Solutions

U.S. Domestic Policy in a Global Economy

The Debt Crisis: The Tough Choices Ahead for America

Reforming Americas Education System

Affordable Care Act: The Future of Health Care for Providers and Patients


What Made Me: Melody Barnes, Former Obama Adviser | People ...
Photograph by Douglas Sonders. The failure: I was in middle school and beginning to swim competitively. It was my first race, the breast stroke. I was losing.

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