Clerk of the House Lorraine C. Miller (L) hands the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Getty Images
(USA TODAY) - As its youngest president and CEO prepares to end his reign, the NAACP has named former House of Representatives clerk Lorraine Miller as interim president and CEO of the 104-year-old, Baltimore-based civil rights organization.
Miller, an NAACP board member, steps in to preliminarily replace Benjamin Todd Jealous, who announced in September that he would step down effective the end of the year to spend more time with his wife and two children. She steps into the role Nov. 1.
The move was announced by NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn Brock, who hinted along with Jealous when he announced his resignation that a female president was a possibility.
"This is a moment of great change and great opportunity for the NAACP," Brock said in a statement. "We are confident that Lorraine will serve the association with a steady and experienced hand as we continue the search for the next president and CEO."
"Lorraine is a natural fit," Jealous said in a statement. "She comes into this position with two decades of experience working for the U.S. House of Representatives and an even longer career in civil rights advocacy and policy."
Miller is a native of Fort Worth and has an executive master's degree from the Georgetown University School of Business.
According to the NAACP website, Miller is the first black American and third woman to serve as an officer of the U.S. House, where she has served as clerk. She also has worked as senior adviser and director of intergovernmental relations to then-House speaker (now House minority leader) Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and also has worked for former House speakers Jim Wright, D-Texas, the late Tom Foley, D-Wash., and for Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. She also served on the legislative affairs team for the Clinton White House. In 2004, she was elected president of the Washington, D.C., branch of the NAACP.
Miller, who lives in Washington, said she was honored to assume the role.
"I look forward to continuing the path forged by Chairman Brock and President Jealous in the months ahead," Miller said in a statement. "These are important times, and the important work of the NAACP will go on."
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland called Miller a "trailblazing leader."
"Lorraine's experience serving as a congressional aide - including to civil rights hero John Lewis - as an officer of the House, and as a respected community leader will enhance the office of the NAACP president and CEO during her tenure," Hoyer said in a statement.
Miller was elected president of the D.C. branch of the NAACP in 2004.
Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY