Businessman, strategic planning and communications consultant and former Hancock Park resident Kerman Maddox has a long history of service and relationship-building in federal politics, having been appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee by former President Barack Obama, and serving on the campaign of President Joe Biden.
Maddox is now preparing to share his expertise in business and communications as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, after Biden announced Maddox’s appointment to the committee on March 10. The committee provides overall policy advice to the United States trade representative on trade matters including negotiating objectives and bargaining positions, and the impact of international trade agreements. Maddox is among 14 new appointees to the 45-member committee, and is the only new member from Southern California.
“When I was appointed, I was first humbled by the opportunity, and then the reality sets in and you’re excited. I was excited beyond description,” said Maddox, managing partner and majority owner of Dakota Communications and K&R Hospitality. “I just felt good about doing whatever I can to advance the Biden-Harris agenda on trade.”
Maddox said he previously turned down an appointment to a federal committee on education because it wasn’t his area of expertise and he believed another candidate could better serve in that position. However, Maddox expressed interest in serving as a consultant on business, which led to consideration for appointment to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Maddox was praised for his business acumen and experience in a press release released by the White House. K&R Hospitality is a food and beverage concession business that operates at Los Angeles International Airport, and Dakota Communications offers strategic planning, communication consulting, public relations and marketing services.
“As a small business owner, Maddox is keenly aware of the daily challenges small businesses face retaining customers, controlling expenses, managing employees, negotiating contracts, responding to regulatory challenges and navigating changing political environments,” read the statement from the White House.
Maddox said he hopes to improve opportunities for small businesses, including the ability to export and sell products “to as many countries as possible.” He also plans to work on policies to address climate change, of which he said “it would be irresponsible not to weigh-in.”
“Developing a worker-centered trade agenda means bringing together a range of perspectives and backgrounds to design and implement our policies. The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations is an important forum to guide USTR’s work and ensure that the benefits of trade are equitably distributed across our economy and to all people,” United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement. “President Biden has nominated a diverse group of men and women that will help us carry out his vision for sustainable, inclusive and durable trade policy in 2023 and beyond. I congratulate the members on their appointments and look forward to working with them.”
The new committee members will meet soon with Tai and begin work on the committee. Maddox said the committee will directly present policy recommendations to Biden.
“It’s imminent,” he said about starting work. “We are going to be meeting with the trade representative soon.”
Maddox said his family is also “incredibly excited” about the appointment, including his mother, teenage son and wife, Capri Maddox, general manager of the Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. He said their support over the years has been a pillar of his success.
A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Southern California, Maddox was an adjunct professor of political science at USC and is a member of the USC Black Alumni Association. Maddox also remains active in many areas of the Los Angeles community. As a member of First AME Church Los Angeles, he received the Outstanding Community Service Award. He has also received the NAACP’s Youth Council Mentor Award and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce’s Businessman of the Year Award.
“I have had a lot of experience as a small businessperson, as well as operating a business space and offering professional services,” Maddox said. “I was humbled, I was excited, I was proud. I can actually say that I have been appointed by two presidents to two different committees.” and beverage concession business that operates at Los Angeles International Airport, and Dakota Communications offers strategic planning, communication consulting, public relations and marketing services.
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