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New push to appoint gay man as U.S. commerce secretary

A Web-based, grassroots gay-civil-rights group, Equal Rep, is making a new push to appoint Fred Hochberg as U.S. commerce secretary. If appointed, Hochberg -- an FIU Wolfsonian Museum board member -- would be the first openly gay Cabinet member.

Here's Equal Rep's news release: 


Equal Rep Seeks Appointment of Fred Hochberg as Commerce Secretary Who Would Become 1st Ever Openly Gay Cabinet Member

Fred BOSTON, Mass. (February 23rd, 2009) – Equal Rep previously organized a nation-wide campaign urging President Obama to appoint Fred Hochberg as Commerce Secretary during the first week of January 2009. The campaign was extremely successful and within a week's time of phone calls, emails, and media attention, Obama officials released information to the public stating that Fred Hochberg was being tapped to become Chair of the Export-Import Bank.

Fred Hochberg is still being vetted for that position and has not been confirmed yet. "Considering Mr. Hochberg's impressive list of qualifications which entails more than 25 years of experience in business and government, we believe he should be considered once again to serve our Country as Commerce Secretary," said Paul Sousa, Equal Rep founder. "In addition to being extremely qualified, he also brings a lot of diversity to the table. Hochberg would be the 1st ever openly gay Cabinet member in United States history and would be the 1st Jewish member for this current Cabinet."

Equal Rep is coordinating a national campaign asking all participants to phone and email President Obama's White House office daily from March 4th to March 6th. The campaign debuted on Feb. 22, Sunday afternoon, and within 24 hours hundreds of people have already signed up to participate via facebook representing 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Hochberg's experience in detail includes 25 years in business, government, civil rights activities, and philanthropy. From 1998 through 2000, he served as deputy then acting administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency elevated to cabinet rank by President Bill Clinton. He also served on President Clinton's Management Council.

Hochberg was also an Agency Review team leader on President Obama's transition team. He has served on the boards of Playwrights Horizon, the Wolfsonian Art Museum, and on the Democratic National Committee. And he was appointed Dean of the Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy in 2003.

From 1994 to 1998, Fred Hochberg worked as founder and president of Heyday Company, a private investment firm managing real estate, stock market investments, and venture capital projects. Prior to that, he was president and chief operating officer of the Lillian Vernon Corporation, where he led the transformation of a small family mail order company into a publicly traded direct marketing corporation.

Equal Rep is a grassroots political organization working toward equal rights for the GLBT community. It is committed to full representation of GLBT identified people in all facets of government. The facebook event for the Fred Hochberg campaign is where the bulk of organizing takes place. More information on Equal Rep's latest events and campaigns can be found at www.equalrep.com.


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