Here is the press release from the Secular Coalition of America:
Republican Lobbyist to Lead Atheist Organization
Edwina Rogers to Join Secular Coalition as Executive Director
WASHINGTON, DC—The Secular Coalition for America—the nation’s only full time nontheistic lobbying organization—proudly announced the selection of longtime Republican lobbyist, Edwina Rogers, as its new Executive Director today. Rogers brings two decades of experience on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and attorney, including roles as General Counsel for several high profile politicians.
“For too long, the 50 million secular Americans have been ignored, underappreciated and undervalued—that’s what drew me to the Secular Coalition for America,” Rogers said. “It’s time to change that. Secular Americans are increasingly pulling together as a voting bloc that demands attention—a constituency that is due formidable representation in Washington, D.C.”
Rogers has been a public policy expert for over 20 years and has worked for two U.S. Presidents and four U.S. Senators. She has served as an advisor to the George H.W. Bush administration and the George W. Bush White House, as well as General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She worked for Senator Trent Lott while he was Majority Leader in 1999 and handled health policy for Senator Jeff Sessions in 2003 and 2004.
Rogers’ background is an ideal fit for the Secular Coalition for America, now in its 10th year. She has a proven track record of managing coalitions and implementing nation-wide strategies. In her most recent roll as Executive Director of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative, she organized a coalition that included major employers, consumer groups, labor unions and health care providers. In this position she also planned and implemented a successful 50-state strategy.
The Secular Coalition continues to move forward implementing its own 50-state plan, as well as continuing to focus on advocating for nontheists on Capitol Hill, including expanding recognition of nontheists by lawmakers. Rogers is a strong advocate of the separation of government and religion and is in a unique position to push the secular message to those on both sides of the aisle.
“Secular issues are not partisan issues,” Rogers said. “All Americans should be concerned about protecting our most basic rights and I want to bring that message to politicians of all stripes.”
Secular Coalition President, Herb Silverman, said Rogers has the unique ability to reach out to many of Washington D.C’s power players, who may mistakenly associate secular values with a particular political party or ideology.
“Edwina Rogers is an exciting addition to the organization. Her experience managing non-profit coalitions, along with her lobbying and staffing proficiency on Capitol Hill, are the needed skills that can bring the Secular Coalition to a new level,” Silverman said. “We are confident that Ms. Rogers will help to broaden the base and expand the movement beyond its traditional reach, including to the many conservatives who share our secular values and who have not previously been aware of the Secular Coalition for America.”
The Secular Coalition represents 11 member organizations and their members on Capitol Hill. Rogers’ hire comes on the heels of the Reason Rally in March—a Secular Coalition for America sponsored event that drew tens of thousands of atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nontheistic Americans to Washington, D.C. She will begin her duties as Executive Director on May 3, 2012.