January 21, 2011 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gray names new GLBT Affairs head

Mayor Vincent Gray and new Office of GLBT Affairs director Jeffrey Richardson (Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray today named the president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Jeffrey Richardson, as his new director of the mayor’s Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Affairs.

At a news conference at the mayor’s office Friday morning, Gray called Richardson “a respected and credible voice for the GLBT community,” and noted that he played a key role in efforts, which Gray supported, to help pass the city’s same-sex marriage law.

“The District of Columbia has one of the largest and most diverse GLBT communities in the nation,” Gray said. “And in the spirit of one city, Mr. Richardson will lead collaborative efforts with these constituents, the community at-large, and the government.”

The City Council created the Office of GLBT Affairs through legislation signed by former Mayor Anthony Williams. The legislation established the office’s director as a cabinet-level position.

Richardson replaces Christopher Dyer, who served as director of the GLBT Affairs Office under Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The Stein Club is the city’s largest LGBT political organization. It endorsed Gray for mayor over Fenty last August following a club candidates’ forum in which Gray and Fenty talked about their plans for addressing LGBT issues.

Gray was asked at Friday’s news conference if he plans to meet from time to time with Richardson in light of the disclosure by Dyer in an interview with the Blade earlier this month that he never had a face-to-face, sit-down meeting with Fenty. Dyer said he communicated often with Fenty through a “chain of command” comprised of high-level mayoral assistants.

“I have spent a lot of time with the GLBT community in the city and have lots of folks I work closely with, lots of friends,” Gray said. “And Jeff is one of those people…So I don’t think there’s any question that I will spend a lot of time with Jeff. We know each other. We have a great relationship. And I want to be a part of helping to support his efforts.”

At the same news conference, Gray announced the appointment of two other high-level city officials – Victor Hoskins as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Phillip Lattimore III as director of the Office of Risk Management.

Richardson currently serves as director of national programs for the Center for Progressive Leadership, where he manages programs aimed at developing progressive leaders to work in national politics, policy-making, and advocacy roles, according to information released by the mayor’s office.

Richardson previously served as a program officer with the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, where he managed the awarding of grants to help fund anti-truancy, drop-out prevention, and family related initiatives.

He received a master’s degree in social work from Howard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The District is gaining a true public servant and the Stein Club is excited about Jeffrey’s ability to ensure that LGBT residents have a voice at the highest levels of city government,” said a statement released by the club.

“As a social worker, non-profit professional, and community activist, Jeffrey has experience working with all segments of the District’s population,” the club statement says. “His experience will enable him to bring diverse groups together and to effectively advocate for all constituencies within the LGBT community.”

“Jeff Richardson will make a great director of the mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs,” said gay Democratic activist and Stein Club member Peter Rosenstein. “His knowledge of D.C. and our issues, and the trust that Mayor Gray has in him, will allow him to work with the diverse segments of the LGBT community and make progress on the issues we care about.”

Rick Rosendall, vice president of the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance, characterized as “good news” Richardson’s appointment to the GLBT Affairs post.

“He has been a pleasure to work with in his capacity as president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic club, during which he was an excellent coalition partner in our community’s final push for civil marriage equality,” Rosendall said. “He continued a commendable trend among recent Stein Club presidents of amicable cooperation with GLAA on a range of LGBT issues.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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