By Meredith McCulloch
Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, is the guest speaker at First Parish’s Spirit of Democracy service in Bedford at 10 am on Sunday, April 29 in the historic meetinghouse on Bedford Common.
The public is invited to hear Tanden’s talk, “Resist. Rebuild. Reclaim. From Political Activism to Policy Change.”
Tanden grew up in Bedford with her mother Maya and brother Raj, where the family attended First Parish Church. Her mother was active on Bedford’s Democratic Town Committee, and perhaps that early influence fueled Neera Tanden’s interest in politics. Just out of high school, she volunteered with the 1988 presidential campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis. Later she worked on presidential campaigns for Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
During the Obama administration, Tanden was a senior adviser to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. That period encompassed the effort to gain passage of President Obama’s healthcare legislation. Tanden took on the leadership of the Center for American Progress in 2011.
First Parish’s “Spirit of Democracy” sermons commemorate the social justice activism of the late Reverend Jack Mendelsohn, the congregation’s Minister Emeritus, who preceded Rev. John Gibbons as minister of First Parish.