The Daily News broke the story that Patrick Gaspard will take over the White House political office that really got a bad name when Karl Rove presided over its operations. Once I learned that Patrick had been tapped to be Obama’s National Political Director during the campaign, there was never any doubt in my mind that his leave from SEIU Local 1199 would be permanent and that he would end up working for the Obama Administration if the Illinois Senator won the elections. Congratulations are in order for a young man who has achieved much and deserves much. Times have indeed changed in America. You can read the story below.
Gaspard To Be Obama’s Political Director
November 21, 2008
While we wait for the official announcement on Hillary Clinton, we can we certain that at least one New York Democrat is definitely going to work in the Obama White House.
According to a well-informed source, Patrick Gaspard, political director of 1199 SEIU, broke the news to the union today that the leave of absence he took back in June to be Barack Obama’s campaign political director has turned into something more permanent.
It will soon be announced that Gaspard, who has been serving as the associate personnel director for Obama’s transition team, will be Obama’s White House political director.
That post has been under fire during Bush’s tenure given the lightning-rod tendencies of its former occupant, Karl Rove, and Rep. Henry Waxman, (soon to be former) chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has called for it to be abolished altogether.
Just this morning, another Republican who once held the political director’s job, Ed Rollins, penned a defense of it in a Times OpEd.
Gaspard is a veteran operative in New York Democratic politics. He got his start when Jesse Jackson ran for president in 1988 (that’s where he met former 1199 President Dennis Rivera) and since then has worked on numerous campaigns and on staff for several elected officials, including former Mayor David Dinkins.
Gaspard is the second political director to depart 1199 in less than two years. His predecessor, Jennifer Cunningham, left in January 2007 to join KnickerbockerSKD. She’s also of-counsel at Cordo & Company, an Albany-based lobbying firm.
This leaves the union in a bit of a lurch at a time when it is gearing up to fight a difficult state budget battle. Gov. David Paterson has already proposed deep health care cuts, much to the union’s chagrin.
Gaspard has been keeping his hand in New York politics despite the fact that he has been otherwise occupied with the Obama campaign/transition. He worked behind the scenes on the term limits fight and was integral in the union’s decision to come out against Mayor Bloomberg’s (eventually successful) effort to change the rules so he can run for re-election next fall.
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