Obama Administration: Cabinet and Key Positions - Page 7 of 7 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Desiree Rogers


Rogers may have the most “fun” job at the White House, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own conflicts, such as complaints from people not invited to the first White House Seder. As the first black White House social secretary, she’s charged with planning a broad range of events from the annual Easter egg roll to state dinners, including cocktail parties and bill signings.  Another aspect of her role will undoubtedly be to introduce America to African American culture. Since Obama took office, invitees have included Republicans and Democrats alike, underscoring his desire to develop relationships with people who may not share his views.

Director Melody Barnes


Barnes possesses a strong understanding of both domestic policy and the legislative process. She was most recently an executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and served for eight years as Sen. Edward Kennedy’s chief counsel on the Senate judiciary committee. In this role she will coordinate and execute Obama’s domestic policies and act as a liaison between the White House, federal agencies and Congress. Look for her to be a frequent and outspoken advocate for the rollout of Obama’s healthcare reform proposals.

Patrick Gaspard


Brilliant and self-effacing are two descriptions rarely applied to the same person in political circles, but Haitian-American Gaspard is viewed to be both and more. He is a former aide to New York Mayor David Dinkins; labor operative, national field director for America Coming Together, a 527 organization dedicated to getting out the Democratic vote; and political director for Obama’s general election campaign; he reportedly has a unique ability to serve as a “bridge” between government and various constituencies. Labor unions, which are finding Obama as president to be less sympathetic than they’d anticipated when they put their support behind the Obama the candidate will likely count on Gaspard to be their voice in an administration that must balance the needs of Wall Street and Main Street.  The man who is favorably viewed to be more workhorse than show horse, fills the role held by the controversial Karl Rove during the Bush administration.

Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison
Michael Strautmanis


Two juicy tidbits about Strautmanis: He previously worked for the beleaguered former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as legislative director and counsel and then helped him become governor in 2002 and in his role at the White House he’ll be the main point man for the actor Kal Penn, who was killed off in his role on the popular medical series House so he could join the Obama administration as a liaison for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Strautmanis, who has close ties to both the Clinton administration and first lady Michelle Obama for whom he worked as a paralegal, served as deputy chief of staff to Obama in the U.S. Senate and as senior counsel for the Obama campaign. He is chief of staff to fellow Chicagoan Valerie Jarrett.

Reggie Love


Love is to Obama what the fictional Charlie Young was to President Bartlet on the NBC drama, The West Wing. In the lexicon of politics, this valet cum go-fer cum ultimate personal assistant, is known as the president’s “body man.” Always at the boss’s side, his job is to ensure that Obama has everything he needs to get through his fast-paced, fully-loaded days, from carrying his jacket, making sure he has his briefing notes and keeping the Oval Office kitchen stocked with favorite snacks. Love calls himself the “White House Chief of Stuff”; Obama calls him “super cool.” And although Love, who served as Obama’s travel aide during the campaign, holds a political science degree from Duke University, the two do not discuss politics, preferring in their rare downtime to indulge in their passions for music and sports. They have developed a deep and genuine bond that perhaps comes from both having achieved success against the odds

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