Jamal Simmons to be keynote speaker at annual Black History Observance Breakfast

ajjohnson@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Jamal Simmons, a frequent political commentator on MSNBC, CNN and other news stations, will come to Columbus Monday as keynote speaker of the 26th annual Black History Observance Breakfast.

The event, organized by the Black History Observance Committee, will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. Tickets are $25 and proceeds will benefit the House of Mercy and other local charities, according to information released by the committee.

"Mr. Simmons, he's been in politics and the media for almost 20 years, and he's worked with some big-named folks such as President Clinton," said Ellis Dandy, the committee's publicity chairman. "We're very happy to have him coming to Columbus."

Simmons currently provides communications and strategic counsel to corporate and nonprofit clients as a consultant with the Raben Group, a Washington firm. During the 2010 congressional election, he was the Democratic political analyst for CBS News. He was also a regular pundit on MSNBC and CNN during the 2008 election.

Along with CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux, Simmons co-hosts The Root 100, a series on the ASPIRE TV network. The program features interviews with honorees of an annual list of black achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45.

Simmons launched his political career while volunteering for campaigns in his hometown Detroit. In 1992, he traveled with Bill Clinton during his presidential campaign and was a political appointee during the first Clinton administration with U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, according to his website.

In 2000, Simmons served as deputy communications director for Vice President Al Gore during his presidential campaign and was his West Palm Beach spokesman during the Florida recount. He also served as traveling press secretary to presidential candidates Bob Graham and Wesley Clark; campaign communications director for U.S. Sen. Max Cleland and chief of staff to U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick. He was an adviser to Nevada Democrats and the Democratic National Committee in the 2008 Barack Obama and Joe Biden campaign.

A graduate of Morehouse College, Simmons has also earned a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University. His views and opinions have been featured in several major publications such as GQ Magazine, The New York Times and Politico. In 2009, he received the Presidential Award of Distinction.

At the breakfast, the committee will also announce recipients of this year's Legacy of Legacy awards, which recognizes local people and organizations that have worked to advance the African-American community.

For more information and tickets, call committee chairman Karl Douglas at 706-464-5275.

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