by Paul Alan Levy
One of the sweetest things that Public Citizen does each year is recognize a long-time public interest staffer whose work is vital to that staffer's organization, but whose work is sufficiently behind-the-scenes that he or she receives no public recognition. The award is named for Phyllis McCarthy, who started working for Public Citizen's Health Research Group shortly after I came to the Litigation Group, whose work was vital to HRG and indeed to Public Citizen as a whole (a book whose technical aspects she shepherded sold two million copies; the profits enabled us to buy our lovely headquarters in Dupont Circle and to move out of The Headquarters Building where we had been located for my first eighteen years at Public Citizen). After she died suddenly a dozen years ago, Ralph Nader proposed the idea of an award in her name that would recognize other unsung heroes like herself.
This year, the Eleventh Phyllis McCarthy Award went to Catherine Jones, who has worked for the Center for Pogressive Reform here in DC for the past eight years. You can read about the reasons for her award here.