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White House Announces Jeremy Bernard to Serve as Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary

White House Announces Jeremy Bernard to Serve as Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary

by Karen Ocamb on February 25, 2011

Jeremy Bernard at a campaign event for Barack Obama (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

This is terrific news. The White House announced Friday morning that Jeremy Bernard, whom Los Angeles-area LGBTs will remember as a major political activist with Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality (ANGLE), has been named Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary. He’s been serving as Senior Advisor to the US Ambassador in Paris and before that he worked as White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities. And before that, Jeremy worked his heart out getting Democratic candidate Barack Obama elected President.

While he was still based in LA, Jeremy worked very hard on bringing Democratic politicos and candidates to the LGBT community through ANGLE’s regular, low-cost breakfasts in West Hollywood. It was an opportunity for LGBTs and LGBT reporters such as myself to ask candidates and politicians questions directly. I suspect that his knack for innovative networking will serve the President and the LGBT community well.

This is from the White House press release:

“Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways.  We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House,” the President said.

“I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as Social Secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role,” said Jeremy Bernard.  “I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead.”

From Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who also knows Jeremy well:

“Jeremy is the perfect choice for the White House Social Secretary. First, he has diplomatic skills, given his work at the French Embassy. And he is someone who is incredibly well liked by all. He is also an incredibly creative thinker and a longtime leader in the LGBT community. I commend President Obama for adding yet another openly gay member to his senior White House team.”

Update: From David Mixner, Jeremy’s longtime friend and former mentor:

“President and Ms. Obama have chosen excellence in their historic appointment of Jeremy Bernard as White House Social Secretary.  Not only is he the first male and first member of our community to hold this job, he is totally qualified and will serve the President and First Lady well in their effort to make the White House a place of cultural and arts.  He is a long time dear friend and I couldn’t be happier today.”

UPDATE: MSNBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell: “Jeremy Bernard – our new best friend.”

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Update(11:22am Pacific) From the Human Rights Campaign, including LA board members Barry Karas and Dana Perlman:

Today the White House announced that Jeremy Bernard, an accomplished businessman, nonprofit and government executive, was appointed White House Social Secretary. Bernard will become the first man and the first openly gay person to hold this important post.  Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Jeremy Bernard’s appointment is historic. We celebrate his appointment not merely because of the ground that he is breaking but because we know that he will serve the President and First Lady exceptionally well. He is competent, gracious under pressure and has distinguished himself as a leader in a number of fields. The President and Mrs. Obama could not have selected a better candidate to ensure that all Americans are welcomed to the ‘people’s house.’”

“Anyone who knows Jeremy Bernard knows he will be a great addition to the White House,” said Barry Karas, a friend of Bernard and a member of the HRC Board of Directors from Los Angeles.  “Jeremy is a true joy to be around and work with.  His appreciation of the arts and culture will make for grand events and his understanding of the important history of the White House and the Presidency will serve the American people well.”

“Jeremy’s warm personality and attention to detail will make families – both the First Family and the American family – feel at home,” said Dana Perlman, a friend of Bernard and a member of the HRC Board of Directors.

Here’s the full press release:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

­­­­­­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 25, 2011

White House Announces Jeremy Bernard as Social Secretary

The White House today announced Jeremy Bernard has been named Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary.  He joins the White House staff from the US Embassy in Paris, where he serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador.  Prior to this role, he worked as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways.  We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House,” the President said.

“I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as Social Secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role,” said Jeremy Bernard.  “I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead.”

“I look forward to working with Jeremy to continue the great work of the Social Office, from fun and educational student workshops to elegant State Dinners that welcome world leaders to the White House.  Jeremy’s creativity, perspective and skills will be a welcome addition to our East Wing team, as we showcase the White House and celebrating America’s arts and culture,” said Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.

“What stood out in Jeremy’s work at the National Endowment for the Humanities was his humor, good will, and high standard of professionalism,” said National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Bernard currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador at the US Embassy of Paris.  He served as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2008 to 2010.  Previously, Bernard was a California Finance Consultant for the Obama for American campaign.  He was a Principal of B&G Associates from 2007 to 2009, Vice-President of Mapleton Investments from 1999 to 2006 and Director of Government Affairs of Falcon Cable TV from 1996 to 2006.  Appointed by President Clinton, Bernard served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2009.  He previously served as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee.

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