Political group taps Kaplan for press job

AUSTIN, TX: A nonprofit founded by former Texas governor Ann Richards' daughter Cecile has hired PRWeek's 2001 young professional of the year.

AUSTIN, TX: A nonprofit founded by former Texas governor Ann Richards' daughter Cecile has hired PRWeek's 2001 young professional of the year.

Casey Kaplan will join the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) next week as its political director and press secretary. The organization opposes the religious right, championing religious freedom and civil liberties.

"The Texas Legislature only meets every other year for five months, and Casey will be joining us in the middle of the session," said executive director Samantha Smoot. Kaplan replaces Ashley McIlvain, who is leaving to attend graduate school.

Kaplan's duties will include compiling a daily news digest for members and supervising a staff of interns.

"We are fighting a number of extreme public-policy initiatives," Smoot said.

The TFN opposes private-school vouchers, President Bush's faith-based social service initiatives, and textbook censorship. "We are such a large market for the textbook companies, a book that's approved in Texas is going to be offered throughout the country," Smoot said.

The TFN is also fighting state-sanctioned covenant marriages, a voluntary type of wedlock that lengthens and complicates divorce, possibly putting battered women at risk, Smoot claimed.

"The cause they are working on is a cause I believe in wholeheartedly," said Kaplan, who most recently worked as the research director for the reelection campaign of current Georgia Lt. Governor Mark Taylor (D).

The TFN claims some 12,000 members, including moderate Baptists and Reformed Jews. Cecile Richards still serves on the board of the eight-year-old, nonpartisan organization.

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