The White House is close to naming its new LGBT liaison and has already designated an official within the Obama administration for the role, the Washington Blade has learned.
According to two sources, the official who will replace Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, after he departs this month identifies as LGBT and is currently working within the executive branch of government.
The sources declined to identify the new LGBT liaison; it’s unclear when the White House will officially announce the new official.
Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said he has “no updates” on the identity of the new LGBT liaison. Inouye previously said the Obama administration intends to have someone in place to succeed Bond by the time he leaves in the middle of this month.
Bond, who handled outreach to the LGBT community as part of his portfolio, is leaving the White House to become the Democratic National Committee’s director of constituency outreach as President Obama ramps up his re-election campaign for 2012.
In the wake of Bond’s announcement that he would leave the position, some LGBT advocates have been calling for the appointment of a more senior LGBT adviser who could more directly and consistently counsel Obama on LGBT issues.
One Democratic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed skepticism that there would be any modifications to Bond’s position after he leaves because senior White House officials have been happy with Bond’s work.
“I know that [senior adviser to the president Valerie] Jarrett is extremely fond of [Bond] and thinks he’s done a fantastic job,” the source said. “I’m pretty confident that they want someone who has the same qualities, but I don’t know what candidate they have.”
A number of individuals within the administration who identify as LGBT could be candidates for the position. According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, more than 200 LGBT people have been appointed to serve in the Obama administration, and more than 25 of those were nominated for Senate-confirmable positions.
Vic Basile, who currently serves as counselor to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management director John Berry, is one potential candidate for the role because of his ties to the LGBT community. Basile and Berry are gay and have been seen as having an advisory role to the White House on LGBT issues.
A longtime LGBT activist, Basile served as the first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign from 1983 to 1989 and later co-founded the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in 1991.
Basile couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on whether he’s a contender for the position.
Another name that has emerged in speculation about Bond’s successor is Matt Nosanchuk, who joined the Justice Department in 2009 as senior counselor to the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division and as LGBT liaison for the department. Among his duties was oversight of the implementation of the new federal hate crimes law.
Nosanchuk has also worked on LGBT initiatives, but most of this work has been within the organizations that aren’t focused on LGBT issues. At the group Third Way, Nosanchuk established and directed the organization’s Gay Equality Initiative.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Nosanchuk was on the LGBT policy committee on the Obama campaign and worked on the Obama for America campaign staff as state research director in Florida and Regional LGBT outreach director in South Florida.
Nosanchuk didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on whether he’s a contender for the White House LGBT liaison position.