March 5, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
DNC names gay operative as nat’l political director

Raul Alvillar was named national political director for the DNC. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

Raul Alvillar was named national political director for the DNC. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

The Democratic National Committee announced on Wednesday that it has selected a gay political operative as its national political director just ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.

Raul Alvillar, who has worked in the White House for Vice President Joseph Biden, was named to the position by DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said Alvillar brings to the DNC more than a decade of experience on campaigns — both in the private sector and in government.

“His work on everything from legislative outreach to campaigns and LGBT advocacy will be an asset to Democrats at every level,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Together, with the rest of the team at the DNC, we’ll be able to support the President’s legislative agenda and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2014 and beyond.”

News of the appointment was made shortly after the DNC winter meeting over the weekend in which Wasserman Schultz announced plans for a lesbian leadership council to boost the leadership role of lesbians within the party.

Alvillar said in the same statement reaching out to state parties and DNC members would be a priority for him during his tenure.

“I am excited to join the DNC and get to work electing and reelecting Democrats across the country,” Alvillar said. “I look forward to working with our state parties and DNC members to make certain we are providing them the tools they need to ensure that the Democratic Party thrives at all levels.”

Among the roles that Alvillar held before his appointment to DNC is serving as interim LGBT liaison at the White House in 2011 after former liaison Brian Bond departed, but before present-day liaison Gautam Raghavan came on board.

Alvillar also served as a senior adviser to Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan and associate director at the Office of Public Engagement for the White House Office of the Vice President. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Alvillar was western political director for Obama and assisted with LGBT outreach and LGBT super delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

According to a bio provided by the DNC, Alvillar was deputy national political director for John Kerry’s Keeping America’s Promise PAC and political director and regional field director for Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, heaped praise upon Alvillar following news of his appointment.

“Raul is a strong ally for Democrats everywhere and I’m proud to call him a friend,” Becerra said. “At a time when the stakes could not be higher for working families in America, I am confident that Raul brings the experience and dedication to promote the President’s agenda and propel Democrats to victory in November.”

Alvillar joins the DNC at a challenging time for the Democratic Party as support for President Obama remains in the 40-percentile range among Americans and political observers say Democrats may lose control of the Senate in the mid-term elections.

Steve Elmendorf, who’s gay and a Democratic lobbyist, called Alvillar “a real star in the Democratic world.”

“He worked for me during the Kerry for President Campaign and showed great skill and political judgment,” Elmendorf said. “The DNC is lucky to have him.”

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, also had good things to say about the DNC’s latest appointment.

“Raul brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to improving the lives of Americans,” Cole-Schwartz said. “We’re thrilled he’ll be putting his enormous talents to use at the DNC.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

3 Comments
  • Yet another Beltway insider to make excuses for Democrats doing nothing on LGBT rights. We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well. If Democrats are finally getting serious about protecting LGBT working families, just hiring this guy doesn't impress me. Real action and leadership on the issues that matter most in our lives (even when it's politically inconvenient for Democrats, which is always) is what will. Until we see that, this is just early election season advertising to rally LGBT voters to a party that continues to fail us on the issues that matter to us most.

  • Robin A. Quarles

    Raul is not just another beltway insider! I know Raul from our days in YDA and he was always and advocate for marginalized groups. As a person of color and a person who is LGBTQ Raul understands better than most what it means to be a united states Citizen within a marginalized group.

    • This particular guy’s resume is irrelevant. He’s not going to be in a position to change anything nor make any difference in the way Democrats have been de-prioritizing the rights of LGBT working families for two generations.

      I stand by what I said above. Nothing to see here, move along, move along…

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