President Obama today announced he would nominate two more gay men, one of whom previously worked in his administration, to ambassadorial posts.
John Berry, who was director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April of this year and therefore the highest-ranking openly gay official in the executive branch, is Obama’s choice for ambassador to Australia. Berry has also worked for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Department of the Interior, and the Treasury Department, and he was once an aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
James “Wally” Brewster Jr., the nominee for ambassador to the Dominican Republic, has been a longtime Democratic fund-raiser and LGBT activist while working in the private sector. He is a national LGBT cochair for the Democratic National Committee and serves on the board of the Human Rights Campaign. He is senior managing partner for SB&K Global, a consulting firm based in Chicago, and has worked for several real estate investment and development firms, such as General Growth Properties, the Rouse Co., and the DeBartolo Corp.
HRC president Chad Griffin issued a statement praising the nominations. “John Berry has been a devoted public servant for 30 years and will bring tremendous experience to our embassy in Canberra,” Griffin said. “His lifetime of professional experiences make him an outstanding choice to be the nation’s next Ambassador to Australia. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.”
Of Brewster, Griffin said, “Wally Brewster is an excellent choice to be our nation’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic. His global business and management expertise is matched by his enthusiasm and commitment to human rights and democracy around the world. Wally’s political intelligence and work in public affairs and communications make would make him a valuable contribution to our nation’s diplomatic efforts.”
Obama named three other gay ambassadorial nominees earlier this month.