Washington's Powerful Women

Black women are among Washington's most influential leaders.

Girl Power - Their numbers may not be exactly where we'd hoped they would in 2013, but African-American women in Washington yield more power than ever before. Having a Black president doesn't hurt, but the women here have paid their dues ? educationally and professionally ? ensuring their rise to the top, no matter their skin color. Check them out. ? Joyce Jones

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Girl Power - Their numbers may not be exactly where we'd hoped they would in 2013, but African-American women in Washington yield more power than ever before. Having a Black president doesn't hurt, but the women here have paid their dues — educationally and professionally — ensuring their rise to the top, no matter their skin color. Check them out. — Joyce Jones

Michelle Obama - Admired for both her substance and style, First Lady Michelle Obama is the most powerful woman in the nation's capital. In addition to ensuring that military families receive the support they so richly deserve, the first lady is leading a valiant, if not always popular, fight against childhood obesity.   (Photo: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

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Michelle Obama - Admired for both her substance and style, First Lady Michelle Obama is the most powerful woman in the nation's capital. In addition to ensuring that military families receive the support they so richly deserve, the first lady is leading a valiant, if not always popular, fight against childhood obesity. (Photo: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

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Valerie Jarrett - Valerie Jarrett is both a senior adviser and long-time friend to President Obama, making her one of the most influential members of the president's team — personally and policy-wise. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Stacey Davis Stewart - Stacey Davis Stewart is the first president of United Way USA, which, together with United Way International, raises billions of dollars in private charitable donations. She also is the United Way's first African-American president.  (Photo: Courtesy of United Way)

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Stacey Davis Stewart - Stacey Davis Stewart is the first president of United Way USA, which, together with United Way International, raises billions of dollars in private charitable donations. She also is the United Way's first African-American president. (Photo: Courtesy of United Way)

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Donna Brazile - Washington has many talking heads, but when political strategist Donna Brazile speaks, people really listen. A contributor to CNN and ABC news, the veteran political operative has 328,894 Twitter followers.  (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for People)

What Was She Thinking? - I won't call us rivals. We had a moment there. I decided that I wanted to run for Congress in 2011 and in my district there's only one seat [which was filled by Rep. Marcia Fudge]. Since then, she and I have repaired our relationship. She is a strong leader and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Sometimes in moments like that you learn a lot about yourself. I'm really happy we support each other.(Photo: Congressional Black Caucus/Official Photo, Handout)

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Marcia Fudge - As chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge has been an outspoken advocate on issues that impact African-American communities. She's kind of fearless, too, and recently made international headlines for calling out Obama on the diversity of his second term cabinet. (Photo: Congressional Black Caucus/Official Photo, Handout)

Maxine Waters - California Rep. Maxine Waters has a well earned reputation for not suffering fools or Republicans lightly. Now that she's the House Financial Services Committee's top Democrat, Wall Street beware. (Photo: UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg /Landov)

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Maxine Waters - California Rep. Maxine Waters has a well earned reputation for not suffering fools or Republicans lightly. Now that she's the House Financial Services Committee's top Democrat, Wall Street beware. (Photo: UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg /Landov)

Rep. Karen Bass - Congresswoman Karen Bass, U.S. Representative, 33rd District of California.(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Karen Bass - Now serving her second term in Congress, California Rep. Karen Bass is frequently called on by media outlets to provide insight into and analysis of budget negotiations on Capital Hill. She also is a congressional mother hen of sorts for the nation's foster children on whose behalf she fiercely advocates. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Tara Setmayer - In a city where influential Republican women who aren't lawmakers aren't the norm, Tara Setmayer, communications director for California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), is a stand-out. Her take-no-prisoners, direct approach has made her a popular choice to offer political commentary on major television networks from PBS to HBO.(Photo: Tara Setmayer/LinkedIn)

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Tara Setmayer - In a city where influential Republican women who aren't lawmakers aren't the norm, Tara Setmayer, communications director for California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), is a stand-out. Her take-no-prisoners, direct approach has made her a popular choice to offer political commentary on major television networks from PBS to HBO.(Photo: Tara Setmayer/LinkedIn)

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Susan Rice - U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice may have missed out on an opportunity to become secretary of state, but her career is still on the rise. Washington is whispering that she may be nominated to serve as the next national security adviser. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mignon Clyburn - Mignon Clyburn is a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission, which has regulatory power over the nation's most important media, communications and technology companies. When FCC chairman Julius Genachowski steps down in June, rumor has it, Clyburn, daughter of the House's third-top Democrat Rep. James Clyburn, could be named acting commissioner.  (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Mignon Clyburn - Mignon Clyburn is a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission, which has regulatory power over the nation's most important media, communications and technology companies. When FCC chairman Julius Genachowski steps down in June, rumor has it, Clyburn, daughter of the House's third-top Democrat Rep. James Clyburn, could be named acting commissioner. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Joyce Brayboy - Joyce Brayboy is vice president of government affairs at Goldman Sachs in Washington, D.C., has served as managing director at the government relations firm, the Glover Park Group, and was chief of staff for Rep. Mel Watt. The super lobbyist also is a Democratic Party super delegate. (Photo: Wikicommons)

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Joyce Brayboy - Some might argue that in Washington, lobbyists are almost as powerful as lawmakers. Among the most influential is Joyce Brayboy, vice president of Goldman Sachs' government affairs division. (Photo: WikiCommons)

Johnnetta Cole - Although Washington is the epicenter of politics, it also has several world-renowned museums to which admission is free. At the helm of the National Museum of African Art is Johnnetta Cole, who was also Spelman College's first African-American female president.   (Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for the Jackie Robinson Foundation)

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Johnnetta Cole - Although Washington is the epicenter of politics, it also has several world-renowned museums to which admission is free. At the helm of the National Museum of African Art is Johnnetta Cole, who was also Spelman College's first African-American female president.  (Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for the Jackie Robinson Foundation)

Judith Browne Dianis - Judith Browne Dianis is a nationally recognized expert on voting rights issues. Perhaps more important, the co-director of the Advancement Project has helped make the organization a force to be reckoned with in the battle against efforts that disenfranchise African-Americans and other demographic groups. (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

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Judith Browne Dianis - Judith Browne Dianis is a nationally recognized expert on voting rights issues. Perhaps more important, the co-director of the Advancement Project has helped make the organization a force to be reckoned with in the battle against efforts that disenfranchise African-Americans and other demographic groups. (Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Danielle Gray - Deemed by Valerie Jarrett to be a "rising superstar" Danielle Gray is a former deputy director for the National Economic Council and currently serves as special counsel and cabinet secretary for Obama. In this case, "secretary" means an official who provides advice to members of the president's cabinet. In Gray's case it also means that one day she'll be secretary of an agency in some Democratic president's cabinet, some predict.   (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Danielle Gray - Deemed by Valerie Jarrett to be a "rising superstar" Danielle Gray is a former deputy director for the National Economic Council and currently serves as special counsel and cabinet secretary for Obama. In this case, "secretary" means an official who provides advice to members of the president's cabinet. In Gray's case it also means that one day she'll be secretary of an agency in some Democratic president's cabinet, some predict.  (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Racquel Russell - As Obama's deputy assistant for Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility, Racquel Russell focuses on issues important in urban communities and provides them with ladders of opportunity in a broad range of areas from economic development to transportation.  (Photo: White House/Twitter)

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Racquel Russell - As Obama's deputy assistant for Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility, Racquel Russell focuses on issues important in urban communities and provides them with ladders of opportunity in a broad range of areas from economic development to transportation. (Photo: White House/Twitter)

Tara Wall - Of all the African-American female Republicans in Washington, Tara Wall likely has the highest profile. The former deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Times and cable news political analyst in 2012 served as a senior communications adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, charged with helping him bring his message to the nation's Black voters.(Photo: Tara Wall/Facebook)

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Tara Wall - Of all the African-American female Republicans in Washington, Tara Wall likely has the highest profile. The former deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Times and cable news political analyst in 2012 served as a senior communications adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, charged with helping him bring his message to the nation's Black voters.(Photo: Tara Wall/Facebook)

Heather Foster - The Obama administration's Office of Public Engagement keeps an eye and ear in various demographic communities. For African-Americans the director of outreach is Heather Foster, whose job is to help them connect with the White House on the issues that matter to them most.   (Photo: Heather Foster/Twitter)

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Heather Foster - The Obama administration's Office of Public Engagement keeps an eye and ear in various demographic communities. For African-Americans the director of outreach is Heather Foster, whose job is to help them connect with the White House on the issues that matter to them most.  (Photo: Heather Foster/Twitter)

Danielle Crutchfield - The only woman more aware of Obama's activities than the first lady is Danielle Crutchfield, the president's director of scheduling and advance.  (Photo: Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

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Danielle Crutchfield - The only woman more aware of Obama's activities than the first lady is Danielle Crutchfield, the president's director of scheduling and advance.  (Photo: Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

Avis Jones-DeWeever - It's not easy to follow in the footsteps of the late and great Dorothy Height. But Avis Jones DeWeever, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, the nation?s oldest organization dedicated to the advancement of both civil and women?s rights, is doing just that and is considered to be an expert on race and gender in the U.S. economy.     (Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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Avis Jones-DeWeever - It's not easy to follow in the footsteps of the late and great Dorothy Height. But Avis Jones DeWeever, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to the advancement of both civil and women’s rights, is doing just that and is considered to be an expert on race and gender in the U.S. economy.    (Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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Nadine Gracia - It is often said that we are nothing without our health, which is why as assistant secretary for minority health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Nadine Gracia is making an invaluable contribution. Her division is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations and developing programs and polices that help reduce health disparities. (Photo: HHS.gov/ Official Portrait)

Dot Harris - As director of the Energy Department's Office of Minority Economic Impact, Dot Harris plays an instrumental role in ensuring that women and minorities around the nation increase their representation in the critical science, technology, engineering and math fields.  (Photo: Courtesy US Department of Energy)

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Dot Harris - As director of the Energy Department's Office of Minority Economic Impact, Dot Harris plays an instrumental role in ensuring that women and minorities around the nation increase their representation in the critical science, technology, engineering and math fields. (Photo: Courtesy US Department of Energy)

Melanie Roussell - Melanie Roussell has gone from Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow 10 years ago to national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. The Louisiana native already is playing a crucial role in President Obama?s re-election effort.(Photo: Courtesy impactdc.org)

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Melanie Roussell - As national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, Melanie Roussell has mastered the art of rapid response.  (Photo: Courtesy impactdc.org)

Donna Edwards - Say what you will about Rep. Donna Edwards ? she probably won't care. The Maryland lawmaker won her first bid for Congress by ousting a Black incumbent in 2008 and in 2012 sided against her state's Democratic establishment on redistricting. As a member of the House Ethics Committee, this rising star knows not everybody will share her viewpoint, and she's OK with that.  (Photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)

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Donna Edwards - Say what you will about Rep. Donna Edwards — she probably won't care. The Maryland lawmaker won her first bid for Congress by ousting a Black incumbent in 2008 and in 2012 sided against her state's Democratic establishment on redistricting. As a member of the House Ethics Committee, this rising star knows not everybody will share her viewpoint, and she's OK with that. (Photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Crystal Wright - Crystal Wright, AKA @GOPBlackChick, is a conservative communications consultant, TownHall Magazine contributor and editor/publisher of conservative blackchick.com. But she isn't all words and no action. Wright recently launched the Conservative Melting Pot political action committee to support women and candidates of color at the state and federal level.(Photo: Crystal Wright/Facebook)

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Crystal Wright - Crystal Wright, AKA @GOPBlackChick, is a conservative communications consultant, TownHall Magazine contributor and editor/publisher of conservative blackchick.com. But she isn't all words and no action. Wright recently launched the Conservative Melting Pot political action committee to support women and candidates of color at the state and federal level.(Photo: Crystal Wright/Facebook)