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Obama appoints first male and openly gay social secretary

Jeremy Bernard will join the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris and replace Julianna Smoot.

February 25, 2011|By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — President Obama made history Friday by appointing the first male and first openly gay social secretary at the White House.

Jeremy Bernard will join the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris and replaces Julianna Smoot. Bernard, a former Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles, previously worked as the White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities. As part of his role, he’ll coordinate state dinners and other White House events.

“Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways,” President Obama said in a statement. “We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House.”

Bernard said he was “deeply humbled to join the White House staff as social secretary and support President Obama and the first lady in this role.”

A native of Texas, Bernard worked in the financial industry in California, serving as a consultant to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.  While in Los Angeles, he served on LGBT advisory committees for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office, the Los Angeles Police Department and the mayor’s office, as well as working on behalf of A.N.G.L.E (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian victory fund.

Bernard becomes the Obama’s third social secretary in just more than two years, after Smoot and Desiree Rogers.

James.Oliphant@latimes.com

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