President-elect Obama picks gays for key government positions
The President-elect of the United States has nominated a gay man to the high-profile position of director of the Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry is the current director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington DC and was assistant Interior Secretary under President Clinton.
If confirmed, he will be “the first openly gay director of OPM and one of the highest-ranking openly gay presidential appointees in history,” according to the Lesbian and Gay Victory Fund, a group that gives financial assistance to LGBT candidates for public office.
OPM is an independent agency that manages the civil service of the United States federal government.
Former Victory Fund executive director Brian Bond has been chosen by the President-elect as deputy director of the White House Office of the Public Liaison.
Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said:
“It says a lot about Barack Obama’s commitment to equality in the workplace that he has apparently chosen an openly gay person for this extremely important job.
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“John has dedicated his career to public service, so it makes sense that he will be able help thousands of others who are willing to do the same.”
In his role with the administration, Mr Bond will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the entire Public Liaison office as well as function as the administration’s “point person” on LGBT issues.
The President-elect is also reported to be ready to name Fred Hochberg as chair of the Export-Import Bank, the export credit agency of the US government.
The bank has a key role in job creation by financing sales of US exports.
The Washington Blade reports three more LGBT appointments:
Karine Jean-Pierre will be White House Liaison for the Department of Labour; Dave Noble will be White House Liaison, NASA and David Medina will be Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady.