Deborah Carr Rhodes (b. August 5, 1965) is a Georgeland politician who will become Prime Minister of Georgeland on August 2, 2015, after being elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands. Since 2005, Rhodes has been a Member of the Georgeland House of Commons, representing Santa Christina. She has been married to Campbell Rhodes, himself a former Prime Minister, and currently the Mayor of Santa Christina, since 2004.
She is currently Minister for Culture in the government of Lawrence Porter. She was appointed to that position in 2009. Rhodes is a senior member of the party's moderate faction.
Educated at Santa Christina University, Mrs. Rhodes graduated with a journalism degree and began working for the Sergiocitta Chronicle as a sub-editor. In 1990 she began her career with the Santa Christina Herald, becoming its Topstad lobby correspondent in 2000. In 2002 she began a relationship with Rhodes, still Prime Minister at the time. This caused her to be fired from the Herald, a decision she initially appealed but later dropped the civil suit.
In 2004, the couple married; a daughter, Phoebe, was born five months after the wedding. Their second, Alexis, was born in January 2006.
For the 2005 election, Mrs. Rhodes served as her husband's campaign media director.
Following Mr. Rhodes' retirement from politics, Mrs. Rhodes announced (August 10, 2005) that she would seek Liberal Democratic pre-selection for her husband's old House of Commons seat of Santa Christina. She was known to have had the backing of several key LDP figures, including her husband and Prime Minister Zoe Parker. Mrs. Rhodes won the nomination comfortably, and did not suffer any serious swing against her in the by-election.
Mrs. Rhodes is the first woman ever elected to the Georgeland parliament while pregnant, excluding women who were re-elected. She currently sits on the Joint Finance Committeee and the House of Commons committees on trade and industrial relations.
In her maiden speech on October 16, 2005, Mrs. Rhodes paid tribute to her husband's leadership but, according to members of the press gallery, showed 'true independence of mind', highlighting very different stances on certain issues than her husband.
Notably, Deborah Rhodes has shown herself to be more enthusiastic about her support for the alliance with the United States than her husband, and has also revealed herself to be further to the economic right.
In 2006, Parker appointed Rhodes as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Science and Youth Affairs. She remained in this position until July 2007, after the party's election loss (at which Rhodes suffered a small but notable swing against her). She was made Shadow Minister for Employment in the new Shadow Cabinet.
In 2007, Rhodes' husband announced his campaign to become the next President of Georgeland. Mrs. Rhodes campaigned for her husband but refrained from mentioning the election in her official capacity and, according to the wishes of the party's executive, did not attend any campaign events until after her husband was adopted as the official Liberal Democratic candidate. Ultimately, Mr. Rhodes lost the election to Lois Daniels.
When Robin Sales was replaced as leader by Lawrence Porter, Porter removed Rhodes from the front bench but gave her the arguably more powerful position of Chief Opposition Whip, charged with maintaining party discipline. After the party won the 2010 election, Rhodes became Chief Government Whip. She was promoted to the Cabinet in 2012, being appointed Minister for Culture.
Rhodes was the first candidate to announce her candidacy to succeed Porter when he announced his retirement in 2015. Initially considered an outsider, Rhodes' ability to organise and strong media appearances soon made her a front-runner, and on June 29 she won the party-room vote against Robbie Jones, the party's deputy leader, by a considerable margin. Although there was supposed to be a second round of votes from party members, Jones withdrew from the contest on July 17, allowing Rhodes to be elected unopposed. There was considerable criticism of this process. Rhodes will be sworn in as Prime Minister by President Eileen Purves on August 2. Rhodes will be the second woman to become Prime Minister.