February 13, 1998
Release No. 02-98
CONTACT: Ms. Jimmye Walker
PHONE: (202) 619-4355

United States Information Agency
- News Release


Washington, D.C. -- Leslie L. Byrne, former U.S. Representative from Virginia's 11th district, has been named by the White House as special assistant to Director Joseph Duffey at the U.S. Information Agency. As special assistant, Ms. Byrne will advise the Director on the Agency's Au Pair program, a federally regulated cultural exchange for young foreign students to experience life in the United States through home stays with American families.

Ms. Byrne has dedicated more than twenty-five years to public service and consumer advocacy. Prior to her appointment to USIA, she served for two years as special assistant to the President and director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs (USOCA). Under her direction, USOCA stepped up its efforts to combat fraud and protect consumers' privacy. Ms. Byrne also directed the consumer agency to become a more vocal advocate on issues of child care.

In 1992, Ms. Byrne was elected to Congress as the first representative from Virginia's 11th district and was the first woman elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia. During her Congressional tenure, Ms. Byrne introduced and passed more legislation than any other newly elected representative. Ms. Byrne strongly influenced passage into law of two measures on childhood immunizations and led the way on many other successful legislative battles, including

improvements in federal oversight of the nation's natural gas and petroleum pipelines, Medicaid reform, and enhancing the international marketplace for U.S. high technologies. Ms. Byrne was elected to the leadership position of Democratic caucus whip by her colleagues in the 103rd Congress.

From 1985 to 1992, Ms. Byrne served in the Virginia House of Delegates. Known among her colleagues as a hard worker and a quick study, she was the first non-lawyer appointed to the prestigious Courts of Justice Committee and held a senior position on the Finance Committee. As a state delegate, Ms. Byrne sponsored tax relief for the elderly and disabled, a $200 million rebate to taypayers, environmental preservation, and consumer protection.

In 1985, Ms. Byrne co-founded and was president of Quintech Associates, Inc., a project-based human resources consulting firm to the high-tech community. She also served as president of the Fairfax Area of League of Women Voters and as chairwoman of the Fairfax County Commission on Fair Campaign Practices.

Ms. Byrne, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, attended the University of Utah. She is married to Larry Byrne and has two grown children.

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