Michael Crawford

Lesbian on Obama's Short List for Labor Secretary

Filed By Michael Crawford | December 02, 2008 8:31 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Labor Secretary, Mary Beth Maxwell, Obama appointments, Presidential Appointment Project, unions

Lesbian labor activist Mary Beth Maxwell is under serious consideration to be named Secretary of Labor by President-Elect Barack Obama.

For the rainbow cabinet of the nation's first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you've probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press.

Maxwell has won praise from leaders of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. The Human Rights Campaign also sent a letter to President-Elect Obama strongly supporting Maxwell for the cabinet position. If appointed, she would be the first openly gay cabinet secretary.

A Zogby poll commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund last August showed that more than 70% of American said they would support an openly gay cabinet member. The Victory Fund and 10 other organizations launched the Presidential Appointments Project last year to serve as a talent bank for openly LGBT professionals seeking appointed positions in the next presidential administration.

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I like the idea...Frances Perkins was the first Lesbian cabinet officer, and she was Secretary of Labor...

Well, if you include Attorney General Reno, then you need to include Secretary Rice....

It's nice that we're possibly getting an outer-circle cabinet appointment for the first time.

Didn't HRC first endorse another candidate for the same position?

"Didn't HRC first endorse another candidate for the same position?"

Yes, they did. They asked for a mulligan.

My hunch is that the first openly gay cabinet secretary will be Jim Leach in the Department of Agriculture.


I knew Leach was friendly, but I didn't know he was family.

ummm... isn't he still married to Elisabeth?

You know what, I had a brain fart. I was thinking of Jim Kolbe. Sorry about that.

Leach did endorse Obama, though.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 3, 2008 8:54 PM

I think that HRC initially endorsed Congresswoman Sanchez before it became known that Maxwell had a shot.