Guest Blogger

1st Openly Gay Cabinet Member? Help Make it Happen!

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 08, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Fred Hochberg, Paul Sousa

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Paul Sousa is a 21 year old graduating senior in Boston, MA who will be attending law school to pursue his passion in September. He is a community organizer who is co-chair of Join the Impact MA and founder of Equal Rep. Thumbnail image for Paul Sousa.jpg

Not a single openly gay Cabinet has ever been appointed in the entire history of the United States. With 2008 being such a historic year for shattering glass ceilings, now is the time to shatter one more for gay Americans and equal representation by appointing Fred Hochberg as Commerce Secretary.

Want to help make it happen? Give just 2 minutes a day and you can do just that. Equal Rep, a grassroots group committed to full representation of GLBT identified people in all facets of government, is organizing a national campaign asking the Obama administration to appoint Fred Hochberg as Secretary of Commerce.

Please call (202-540-3000, press "2"), and email the Obama transition team once-a-day leading up to January 19th and ask that Hochberg be named Secretary of Commerce.

Join the Equal Rep Facebook group and the Equal Rep Google group.

Now this would be no token gay appointment. Fred Hochberg is incredibly qualified. He has more than 25 years of experience in business, government, civil rights activities, and philanthropy. From 1998 through 2000, he served as deputy then acting administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency elevated to cabinet rank by President Bill Clinton. He also served on President Clinton's Management Council.

Hochberg is also an Agency Review team leader on President-elect Obama's transition team. He has served on the boards of Playwrights Horizon, the Wolfsonian Art Museum, and on the Democratic National Committee. And he was appointed Dean of the Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy in 2003.

From 1994 to 1998, Fred Hochberg worked as founder and president of Heyday Company, a private investment firm managing real estate, stock market investments, and venture capital projects. Prior to that, he was president and chief operating officer of the Lillian Vernon Corporation, where he led the transformation of a small family mail order company into a publicly traded direct marketing corporation.

In 2007 Out Magazine named him the 15th most powerful gay person in America.

So join the Facebook event, invite your friends (this action is critical), and plan on giving the Obama administration a friendly, daily nudge to put his call of change into action.

Here's to hoping that Fred Hochberg is the next Secretary of Commerce!


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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 8, 2009 3:06 PM

Fred Hochberg would make an excellent choice for Commerce Secretary!

I must admit though, it's a little disconcerting to me that we (as a community) have put so much emphasis on getting "a gay person" in a Cabinet level position. I don't care about who they go to bed with; I want them to run the damned country!

It also worries me that there has been so much cheerleading for Cabinet members and other positions in the queer community. It's almost as if these have turned into mini-primaries. I don't know that I want a government chosen by the people for these positions. Most folks advocate for their chosen presidential candidate with only superficial knowledge of what they stand for and who they are. I know nothing about Mr. Hochberg than I've read here; there's no way I should be advocating him for anything without finding out more about him.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 9, 2009 7:30 PM

Having someone not up to the job appointed just because they're queer wouldn't do us any favors but that's not what the project is about. They're trying to place those of us who are out, qualified, and interested because they recognize that having our people on the inside provides opportunities for education that complements stated intent to treat us with fairness, dignity, and equality. But you know all that already.

Not placing us in numbers commensurate with our own sends another message -- especially when it's coupled with messages like that sent by the choice of Warren for the inaugural invocation.