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Name: Reynoso, Julissa
Current Position: Ambassador

On October 17, 2011, President Barack Obama chose a political appointee who strongly supported his 2008 rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to serve as the ambassador to the South American nation of Uruguay. In 2008, calling herself a “ferocious Hillary [Clinton] supporter,” Manhattan attorney Julissa Reynoso donated the maximum to Clinton’s presidential campaign and actively worked on it before joining the campaign of Barack Obama. She was rewarded soon after the election, as she was tapped to become Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean in the State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs as of November 16, 2009. The Senate confirmed her as ambassador to Uruguay on March 29, 2012.

Born in January 1975 in Salcedo, Dominican Republic, Reynoso emigrated with her family to the United States in 1982, living in the South Bronx in New York City and attending Catholic schools, where she learned English and picked up a nickname: Shortie. Encouraged by a high school guidance counselor to apply to top schools, Reynoso earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard in 1997, an M. Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. in 1998, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2001.
After law school, she clerked for Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2001 to 2003, was a fellow at Columbia Law School in 2005, and practiced international arbitration and antitrust law at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett from 2006 to 2009. She served as Deputy Director of the Office of Accountability at the New York City Department of Education in 2006, and was a part-time legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law from August 2008 through July 2009, when she received her first State Department appointment.
Reynoso has published widely in both Spanish and English on a range of issues including regulatory reform, community organizing, housing reform, immigration policy, and Latin American politics for both popular press and academic journals. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. A lifelong Democrat, Reynoso contributed $500 to Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, $460 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 New York Senate campaign, $6,900 to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, $1,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and made a few small donations to local candidates and PACs.
Julissa. Being Latina at Harvard and Beyond (by Julissa Reynoso, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Julissa Reynoso on The Perez Notes (audio file)
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