Joan Claybrook was president of Public Citizen from 1982 to January 2009. During that time she oversaw many successful advocacy campaigns, including playing a key role in persuading Congress to mandate air bags, as well as pushing measures to improve fuel economy and truck safety. During her presidency, Public Citizen won numerous lawsuits in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeal, was deeply involved in lobbying Congress to preserve citizen rights of access to the courts, got dangerous drugs and medical devices removed from the market, won passage of major federal campaign finance reform, lobbying and ethics legislation, successfully challenged energy deregulation in a number of states, helped to stop removal of the federal estate tax costing taxpayers a trillion dollars over a decade, and helped assure citizen interests influence U.S. trade policy.
Prior to becoming president of Public Citizen, Ms. Claybrook was head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981. Before serving as NHTSA administrator, Ms. Claybrook founded and ran Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and worked for the Public Interest Research Group, the National Traffic Safety Bureau, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Among her many honors is honorary doctor of law, Goucher College, 1980; honorary doctor of public service, University of Maryland, 1981; Philip Hart Distinguished Consumer Service Award, Consumer Federation of America, 1986; Excellence in Public Service Award, Georgetown Law Center, 1990; honorary doctor of law, Georgetown University, 1993.
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