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|23rd United States Secretary of Labor|
May 1, 1997 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by||Robert Reich|
|Succeeded by||Elaine Chao|
|13th Assistant to the President for Public Liaison|
January 20, 1993 – May 1, 1997
|Preceded by||David Demarest|
|Succeeded by||Maria Echaveste|
July 16, 1947|
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Charles Franklin|
Spring Hill College
Xavier University of Louisiana
|Profession||social worker, politician, CEO|
Alexis Margaret Herman (born July 16, 1947 in Mobile, Alabama) was the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor, serving under President Bill Clinton. Before that, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison.
The daughter of politician Alex Herman and schoolteacher Gloria Caponis, Alexis grew up a Catholic home in Mobile and earned her high school diploma in 1965 from the Heart of Mary High School. For a short time, she went to Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and Spring Hill College in Mobile, but then switched to Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1969.
After college, Herman worked for Catholic Charities and other agencies advocating minority women employment. Jimmy Carter met Herman while campaigning in Atlanta, Georgia, and after becoming President in 1977, picked her to be Director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau. At age 29, she was the youngest person to ever serve in that position.
In 1981, Herman founded her own consulting firm - A.M. Herman & Associates. She served as president of the company while remaining active in Democratic politics. During her time as chief of staff and later vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, she was in charge of organizing the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
After Bill Clinton's win in the 1992 Presidential election, Herman became deputy director of the Presidential Transition Office. She was later picked 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 African American to be picked for that position and the fifth woman to be picked. Congressional Republicans and labor unions initially opposed giving her the job. But she earned praise from her peers for her handling of the 1997 UPS workers strike. An independent counsel investigated her for taking cash bribes and/or illegal campaign donations as an assistant to Clinton from 1994 to 1996. She was the 5th cabinet officer be investigated by independent counsel. Bill Clinton testified on her side. In 2000 the investigation ended with no indictment.
During the 2000 Florida election recount, Herman was part of team planning a transition to a Gore Administration, and she was mentioned as a likely pick for White House Chief of Staff. She was replaced as Secretary of Labor in the George W. Bush administration by Elaine Chao.
Herman also serves on the boards of several big companies, including Coca Cola Corporation's Human Resources Task Force, Toyota's Diversity Advisory Board, Cummins, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Prudential and is the chairman and CEO of New Ventures, Inc.