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IFES Recognizes Departing Board Members


ARLINGTON, VA — December 15, 2017 — The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) today announced the departure of two members from its Board of Directors: the Hon. Barbara B. Kennelly, a Democrat who has been an IFES Board member since 2003 and served as vice-chair in 2017; and Cleta Mitchell, who served as co-chair of the 2017 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award.

The transitions bring the total number of Board members to 21.

“I am grateful for the contributions of these two outstanding colleagues to IFES’ strategic planning and thinking,” said IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney. “Kennelly has been instrumental to IFES’ development as a leader in democracy and governance and Mitchell is among the most prominent advocates for the rule of law in elections. Mitchell’s perspectives on election law and election dispute resolution – two central topics to the success of IFES’ mission – remain invaluable.”

Kennelly is the president and founder of Barbara Kennelly Associates, a government relations and lobbying firm specializing in health and tax issues, and also serves as a distinguished professor of government at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. She was president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Kennelly served 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the First District of Connecticut. During her congressional career, she was the first woman elected to serve as the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, on the House Committee on Intelligence, as chief majority whip, and the third woman in history to serve on the 200-year old Ways and Means Committee. During the 105th Congress, she was the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Social Security. Prior to her election to Congress, Kennelly was secretary of state of Connecticut.

Mitchell is a partner and political law attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner LLP, and a member of the firm’s political law practice. With more than 40 years of experience in law, politics and public policy, she advises nonprofit and issue organizations, corporations, candidates, campaigns, and individuals on state and federal campaign finance law, election law, and compliance issues related to lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure. Mitchell practices before the Federal Election Commission, the ethics committees of the U.S. House and Senate and similar state and local enforcement bodies and agencies. Mitchell was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1976-1984 where she chaired the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.


As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries, from developing democracies, to mature democracies. For more information, visit