I talked to my mother earlier this week.
"That Obama," she said, "he's already had three news conferences. Calls the reporters by name. I think he's definitely letting everybody know who's going to be in charge." She sounded tickled to death as she said this, as if he was one of her former students who had finally begun to exhibit some of the promise she had detected in him when he was in her class.
From the formidable phalanx of thousands who man his transition efforts to the daily announcements of new appointments to his future staff, it seems as if Barack Obama is already working overtime to assemble a large part of his administration before January. The pundits seemed to be consumed by the number of appointees who have been associated with the Clinton's in the past. My concern is a more visceral one - how many brown faces are being appointed to high places?
Eric Holder leads the list with his pending appointment as Attorney General.
Holder was born in 1951 in The Bronx, New York, to parents who had emigrated from Barbados. He grew up in Queens and was educated at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and attended Columbia University, where he earned a B.A. in 1973 and a J.D. in 1976.
After graduating from Columbia Law School Holder worked in the U.S. Justice Department as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity section from 1976 to 1988. He was then appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
In 1993 Holder was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia by President Bill Clinton. In 1997, upon the spring retirement of Jamie Gorelick, Clinton nominated Holder to be the next Deputy Attorney General.
Holder served as Acting Attorney General under President George W. Bush for several weeks until the Senate confirmed Bush's nominee, John Ashcroft.
Since 2001, Holder has worked as an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
Valerie Jarrett will be a White House senior advisor.
Valerie Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran, to natural born American citizens. At age 5, the family moved to London for one year, then returned to Chicago in 1963.
Jarrett graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon, a New England boarding school, in 1974. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1978, and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. She also speaks Farsi and French.
Jarrett got her start in Chicago politics in 1987 working for Mayor Harold Washington as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development. She was Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard Daley. Jarrett served as Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development from 1992 through 1995, and was Chair of the Chicago Transit Board from 1995 to 2005.
She is currently the CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company, which she joined in 1995. She was a member of the board of Chicago Stock Exchange (2000-2007, as Chairman, 2004-2007).
She is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago Medical Center, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago and a Trustee of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Jarrett also serves on the board of directors of USG Corporation, a Chicago based building materials corporation.
Rob Nabors has been tapped for the post of Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Rob Nabors was born in Fort Dix, N.J. in 1971, then lived in Arizona, Maryland, Germany, Virginia, South Korea, Florida, Italy, Massachusetts and, once again, Virginia. Nabors earned a B.A. from Notre Dame in 1993, and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1996.
He began his career in government as a Program Examiner, Office of Management and Budget, 1996-98, serving as senior adviser to director, OMB, 1998-2000; assistant director for administration and executive secretary, OMB, 2000-01; minority staff, House Appropriations Committee, 2001-04; and minority staff director, House Appropriations Committee, 2004-06.
Melody Barnes will lead his Domestic Policy Council.
Barnes earned a bachelor's degree from the Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and received her law degree from the University of Michigan. She served as Assistant Counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, where she helped enact into law the Voting Rights improvement Act of 1992. Served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Served as Chief Council to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee, December 1995 until March 2003. Serves currently as the Executive Vice President for policy at the Center for American Progress.
Desiree Rogers has been selected for the position of White House Social Secretary.
Rogers, earned a Bachelor's degree in political science from Wellesley College, and a MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2002, Rogers attended the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Power Program.
In 1990, Rogers was appointed to head the Illinois State Lottery.
Beginning in 1997, she worked for Peoples Energy as a vice-president of corporate communications. By 2001, she climbed to senior vice-president.
She was named to the board of Equity Residential in 2003. Rogers was made President of both Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas in 2004. She left Peoples Energy in 2008 to run a new social networking initiative of the Allstate insurance company.
Mona Sutphen was announced as a deputy chief of staff.
Ms. Sutphen earned her bachelors degree in international relations from Mount Holyoke College. She later received an M.Sc. in international political community from the London School of Economics.
Sutphen has been a U.S. Foreign Service Officer from 1991 to 2000. She served in the Clinton White House at the National Security Council from 1998 to 2000. Positions she has served in include the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the Office of the High Representative, in the State Department human rights bureau, and the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.
Currently, Sutphen is a managing director with Stonebridge, LLC.
And Patrick Gaspard is slated to become White House political director.
Patrick Gaspard is a former community organizer around school reform issues. He is married with two children. Gaspard worked for Governor Howard Dean's presidential campaign and numerous congressional candidates, and campaigns going back to the historic Mayoral election in New York in 1989. In 2004, Gaspard was the national field director for America Coming Together. Gaspard was the executive vice president for politics and legislation for the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union. He was a registered lobbyist for the union on the federal State Childen's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), in 2007. Gaspard was the political director for the Obama campaign, a position he assumed in June of 2008.