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Gay Man to
Be Tapped As Deputy Director of Obama's Public Liaison

Gay Man to
Be Tapped As Deputy Director of Obama's Public Liaison

Brian_bondx390 has confirmed that Brian Bond, a 25-year political veteran, will be named by President-elect Barack Obama as deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison.

A transition team aide has told The Advocate that President-elect Barack Obama will name Brian Bond deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison.

Bond, a political veteran who has headed the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and held several positions at the Democratic National Committee, will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the entire Public Liaison office as well as function as the point person on LGBT issues. The liaison office is tasked with communicating and promoting presidential policies to individual constituency groups and serving as a sounding board for the president on policies that affect certain interest groups.

Several LGBT insiders on Capitol Hill said Bond, who served as director of constituencies for the president-elect during his campaign, was a great fit for the position. "He's a very skillful and experienced political strategist," said Bob Witeck, CEO of the D.C.-based Witeck-Combs Communications, who has known Bond for 15 years. "His knowledge of our community and the competence he has in working with both leaders and activists is immense."

Bond served as executive director of the Victory Fund, a national bipartisan group that works to elect openly gay people to public office, from 1997 to 2003. Jeff Trammell, a Democratic strategist and senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore during his presidential bid, cochaired the organization in the late 1990s and was instrumental in hiring Bond for the position.

"We had to rebuild the Victory Fund," Trammell recalled, noting that the organization was nearly bankrupt at that point. "We were very impressed with both his passion for our issues and his savvy, his political smarts." Trammell called Bond's tenure a "turning point moment" for the organization and said he laid the foundation for the current work being done there. "He basically built that place -- he took us from the ground floor up a number of levels so that we could build that skyscraper."

Witeck said Bond's years at the Victory Fund were a great training ground for the responsibilities he will assume. "Its mission is really to make our elected and appointed officials better policy people," he explained. "So that connection -- from his role at the Victory Fund into the realm of the Democratic Party and ultimately the White House -- is to translate those skills into getting and keeping openly LGBT political leaders and policy makers in positions where they can do the most good."

Bond hails from Missouri, another asset, according to Trammell. "He comes from the middle of the country and he seems to have the ability to deal with the more laid-back heartland of the country as well as the more urban, activist parts," Trammell noted. "He has a low-key, quiet listening style, which works well when you have so many passionate members of a community like we have."

Trammell added that Bond's elevated position within the Office of Public Liaison was appropriate given his level of experience with both LGBT issues and the greater political sphere. Trammell said he is "cautiously optimistic" that LGBT people would see more announcements like it.

"One would hope that we see appointments beyond the terms of the Clinton administration," he said. Bill Clinton was the first president to appoint a liaison to gays and lesbians. "We're not there yet," he said. "What I'm hearing around the country is that we expect and want some reflection of our community in appointments and equally, if not more so, with policies, such as 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

Bond has served in several capacities at the DNC. He was hired by Chairman Howard Dean to replace Donald Hitchcock as director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council. The circumstances of Hitchcock's termination have been the subject of a lawsuit against Dean and the DNC. Bond also worked as director of LGBT outreach at the organization prior to joining the Victory Fund.

In his new position at the White House, Bond will report to Tina Tchen, a prominent Chicago lawyer and chief Obama fund-raiser who has been tapped to run the Office of Public Liaison.

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