update on Obama/LGBT meeting

From: Marisaval@aol.com
Date: December 15, 2008 11:24:51 PM CST
To: Marisaval@aol.com
Subject: Historic LGBT Meeting & Appointment

You may have been reading the Internet buzz about a meeting last week between the Obama-Biden Transition Team and LGBT Leaders. This blog includes a detailed description of the meeting and the most complete list of participants that I have seen:


The meeting was split into 3 sections:

personnel matters
policy priorities.

The approach the transition folk articulated was one of inclusion and integration–they want the voices heard and them not to be stovepiped which is why they have brought together Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. This should facilitate moving from complaints/suggestions to implementation.

On personnel, they discussed the process and many applications which have come in. There was a push from the participants for the openly L/G folks being considered for Cabinet positions, and for a quick and effective staffing of the AIDS positions. Additional positions mentioned were top admin jobs to ensure internal non-discrimination policies, OPM, OSC, and Census. Additionally, the importance of openly LGBT judicial appointments was articulated.

On policy, it was reiterated that they want to do more than just stop bad things from happening. They listed all of the expected initiatives. They were pushed to support:

a fully inclusive ENDA
Hate Crimes
the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
removal of DADT
better HIV/AIDS programming for the US
health care approaches (including in the VA) which are fully inclusive and welcoming
and addressing the anti-LGBT bias in many of the extramural funding programs put in place by the current administration.

And, in case you missed today’s Press Conference by Barack Obama, or missed the significance of it, the President-Elect announced his first (of hopefully many) out LGBT people to his administration. He chose Nancy Sutley of Los Angeles to serve as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She is the first openly gay person appointed to the Obama administration, and the second Latina, announced to serve in a senior role at the White House.



President-Elect Barack Obama Announces Key Members of Energy and Environment Team

CHICAGO – Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced key members of his energy and environment team, including Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ); Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

President-elect Obama said, “In the 21st century, we know that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy. The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment. They are leading experts and accomplished managers, and they are ready to reform government and help transform our economy so that our people are more prosperous, our nation is more secure, and our planet is protected. I look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

The following White House announcements were made today:

Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy

Dr. Chu is director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at University of California, Berkeley. Winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997, Dr. Chu served on the technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs (1978 –1987) and was a professor in the Physics and Applied Physics Departments at Stanford University (1987 – 2004). One of the world’s most distinguished scientists, Dr. Chu commands deep respect from his peers, deftly manages a complex governmental organization, and has a keen sense of public service. He successfully applied the techniques he developed in atomic physics to molecular biology, and since 2004, motivated by his deep interest in climate change, he has transformed the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab into a broad and innovative research program on energy technologies. He has a BS in physics from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D from UC-Berkeley.

Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

Jackson became the head of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2006. She had previously served as DEP Deputy Commissioner before being appointed to the post by Gov. Corzine, and currently serves as Corzine’s chief of staff. Her past experience includes management responsibilities at the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in New York for the Superfund program, the federal program regulating hazardous waste cleanup projects; for enforcement programs at both EPA and DEP; and for New Jersey’s Land Use Management Program. She is a professional engineer, having received her Master’s Degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and her undergraduate degree from Tulane University in her hometown of New Orleans. During her tenure at NJDEP, she helped develop the Northeastern states Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), serving as Vice President of its Executive Board. She has also focused on water issues, including expanding protections for surface waters that serve as sources of drinking water and habitat for endangered species.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

Sutley currently serves as the Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the City of Los Angeles, and is also Mayor Villaraigosa’s appointment to the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She has previously served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, as Energy Advisor to Governor Davis and as the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Intergovernmental Relations within the California Environmental Protection Agency. During the Clinton administration, Sutley was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator for EPA, Region 9 in San Francisco and a Special Assistant to the Administrator at the Federal EPA in Washington, DC. Sutley has also served as the Policy Director for the National Independent Energy Producers and as an Industry Economist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She received her Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Browner is Principal of The Albright Group LLC, where she provides strategic counsel in the critical areas of environmental protection, climate change, and energy conservation and security. Prior to her current position, she served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a Cabinet-level position she held for eight years. Browner developed partnerships with business leaders, community advocates, and all levels of government. She is widely known for championing common sense, cost-effective solutions to pressing environmental and public health challenges. At EPA, she brought the climate change issue to the forefront and established climate change as an important environmental issue requiring action. Before EPA, Browner was Secretary of the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation. She also served as Legislative Director for then United States Senator Al Gore.

Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Zichal currently serves as the co-chair for the Energy and Environment Policy Team for the Obama Transition Team. Zichal served as the Policy Director for Energy, Environment and Agriculture for Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign. Prior, she served as the Legislative Director to Senator John Kerry where she coordinated domestic and foreign policy. In 2004, she was responsible for the Kerry campaign’s energy and environment policies. Heather also served as Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and U.S. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ). During her tenure on Capitol Hill, she has been highly involved in legislative initiatives to create green jobs, tackle climate change, reduce dependence on oil, and protect natural treasures like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of Rutgers University.


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