- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anne Wexler, a former Carter administration official long considered one of the most powerful and well-connected Democratic lobbyists in Washington, died Friday after a long battle with cancer. She was 79.

The death was announced by officials at Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, the firm she founded in 1981 and headed along with former Republican Rep. Bob Walker of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Wexler was named one of the 10 most powerful lobbyists in the city by Washingtonian magazine and has long been considered among the most powerful female lobbyists in the country.

“Today is a sad day for all of us who had the good fortune to know and work with Anne,” Mr. Walker said in a statement released by the firm. “She was a tireless public servant, a role model for so many and a dedicated advocate on numerous important issues of our time.”

Specializing in “international affairs and trade advocacy,” the firm boasts a blue-chip roster of clients. Source Watch, which tracks lobbying firms for the Center for Media and Democracy, lists General Motors Corp., JPMorgan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Johnson & Johnson as among the firm’s clients. The firm is owned by Hill & Knowlton.

Before founding her own firm, Mrs. Wexler served as an assistant to President Carter for public liaison and as deputy undersecretary of commerce. She also was an adviser to Rep. Geraldine Ferraro when she was Sen. Walter Mondale’s running mate in the 1984 presidential election.

Her clout was only enhanced in Democratic circles with the election of President Bill Clinton eight years later. When managing the campaign of her future husband, Joseph Duffey, as an anti-war candidate for Senate in Connecticut in 1970, Mrs. Wexler recruited two Yale Law School students - Mr. Clinton and Hillary Rodham - to work on the campaign.

Mrs. Wexler served on the transition team when President Clinton took office and Mrs. Clinton, now secretary of state, would often introduce Mrs. Wexler as the woman who gave her her “first job in politics.”

In addition to her public policy work, Mrs. Wexler served as chairman of the board of public broadcasting’s WETA, was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee for the National Park Foundation.

She is survived by Mr. Duffey, a former head of the U.S. Information Agency, and their four sons. The firm said a memorial service would be held in October at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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