Friday, November 28, 2008

Another Disability Advocate in the White House: Lisa Brown, Staff Secretary

If you need more evidence that the Obama White House will have plenty of people who have a real understanding of people with disabilities, here's another new appointee you should know about. Profiled today by the New York Times, new staff secretary Lisa Brown was an in-house counsel to Vice President Gore and a member of the Executive Board of the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities. Previously, when she was a partner at the Washington law firm of Shea & Gardner, she active in pro bono work, focusing on cases that involved disabled people.

By the way, the "staff secretary" is a much more senior job than it sounds. The Times profile calls this position "the nerve center of the White House and the gatekeeper for nearly every piece of paper that reaches the president's desk." John Podesta -- former Clinton White House chief of staff and current transition head for President-elect Obama -- held that position in the early days of the Clinton Administration. And he was my boss's boss.

She will also bring a mother's perspective and a healthy appreciation of science to the job -- her husband is the head of the cancer center at the University of Maryland, and they have a 6-year-old son.
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