Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean's office announced on Thursday that Elizabeth Birch, former head of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, had joined his campaign as a senior adviser. "Elizabeth has been a longtime friend and a great leader in our nation, and I am extremely pleased to have her aboard," Dean said. "Elizabeth will be a valuable adviser on many policy issues and a key strategist on multiple fronts for the campaign."
"Governor Dean has lived his principles of inclusion by treating the gay community of America with respect and fairness," Birch said. "But just as important, I am also confident that on a broad range of policy issues and approaches, from the economy to health care and the management of our international relations, he has the best long-term prescription for a healthy America, domestically and abroad." From 1995 to January 4, 2004, Birch served as executive director of the Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation. During her tenure the organization grew dramatically in its membership, budget, scope of programming, and effectiveness. HRC is now known nationwide as a mainstream political advocacy organization. Birch has been recognized for her passionate advocacy and in 2002 received the highest honor of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, the nation's oldest coalition of civil rights organizations. Prior to her tenure at HRC, Birch was a respected executive in California's Silicon Valley. She served as worldwide director of litigation for Apple Computer Inc. and as the general counsel of Claris Corporation, the software subsidiary of Apple.