White House Won’t Rule Out Nomination of an Openly Gay Commerce Secretary as Position Opens Up

Last week, Obama nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as U.S. Ambassador to China, and a couple openly gay candidates are in prime positions to fill the Cabinet role. LGBT advocates are hopeful, the Washington Blade reports:

Hochberg Fred Hochberg, who’s gay and director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, has emerged at the top of the list of LGBT business experts who could fill the role of commerce secretary.

Hochberg, who has a background in business management and once served as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, was cited in 2009 as a contender for the position of commerce secretary when it was first open in the Obama administration.

Another name being floated is former Arizona GOP Congressman Jim Kolbe:

Kolbe An expert on trade, Kolbe left Congress and now works as a fellow at the German-Marshall Fund, where he has specialized in trans-Atlantic trade issues. 

[Justin] Nelson, [president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce] counted Kolbe as among those who could fit the bill for commerce secretary.

“He has a firm understanding of policy,” Nelson said. “Certainly having served on the board of Export-Import Bank, having served in Congress and his work on behalf of the business and the LGBT community would make him another excellent choice.”

The President's choice would be historic, as an openly LGBT person has never filled a cabinet position.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, wouldn’t rule out that the president would nominate an openly LGBT person as commerce secretary.

“The president will consider a range of qualified candidates, but we are at a very early stage in the process and no decisions have been made,” Inouye said.



  1. jersey says

    Jim Kolbe would be a terrible choice. Can’t wait for all the guys whose asses he has grabbed over the years to start spilling the beans once the confirmation hearings start. Some people are better left in the private sector and he is one of them.

  2. Jester says

    “Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, wouldn’t rule out that the president would nominate an openly LGBT person as commerce secretary.”

    Well, of course not. A president openly saying that he categorically wouldn’t nominate an LGBT person to a cabinet position would raise a fire-storm of outrage, even if the president was a Republican. But not ruling it out is not at all an indication that anyone is under active consideration, so there is probably less to this story than there appears to be.

  3. amsam says

    Amen Jester. Sometimes these headlines are actually annoying. “White house won’t rule out nomination of an openly gay yadda yadda…” I’m sure if you asked the White House nicely you could get them to “not rule out” nomination of a Commerce Secretary from Mars. How desperate are we for affirmation that this is news?