About Intergovernmental Affairs

"It is a priority of my Administration to make sure that the doors of this White House are open to all of our citizens, and that our government is open and honest and that the American people are heard." – President Barack Obama


Select a staff member to learn more:

Valerie Jarrett
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, overseeing the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Ms. Jarrett has worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to strengthen and improve access to the middle class, to boost American businesses and our economy, and to champion equality and opportunity for all Americans. From ongoing campaigns to end sexual assault, raise the minimum wage, advocate workplace policies that empower working families, and promote entrepreneurship and early childhood education, Ms. Jarrett has helped the President develop a broad coalition of partners to execute a robust agenda.

Ms. Jarrett came to the White House with a background in both the public and private sectors, having served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and the director of corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Follow Valerie Jarrett on Twitter at @VJ44.

Jerry Abramson
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Jerry Abramson currently serves as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Jerry oversees the Obama administration’s domestic agenda with state, city, county, and tribal elected officials across the country.

Jerry takes on the role of Director of Intergovernmental Affairs having served in state, city, and county governments in Kentucky. Jerry is the former Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky having served alongside Governor Steve Beshear from 2011 until 2014. Prior to entering state government, Jerry held the role of longest-serving mayor of Louisville with 21 years of service. He served three terms as mayor of the old city of Louisville (1986-1999) and two terms as the first mayor of the consolidated city-county of Louisville Metro (2003-2010), earning the nickname “Mayor for Life.” During his time as mayor, Jerry was President of the United States Conference of Mayors.

Jerry started his public service as an Alderman of the City of Louisville for two terms, and thereafter as Counsel to the Governor of Kentucky, John Y. Brown, Jr. In the private sector, Jerry practiced law with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, and thereafter with Frost Brown Todd. Throughout his career, Jerry taught classes at the University of Louisville’s School of Law and at Bellarmine University. In 2011, Jerry held the position of Executive in Residence at Bellarmine University and taught several undergraduate courses.

Jerry received his bachelor’s degree in business economics and public policy at Indiana University, where he chaired the state’s College Students for Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 Presidential campaign. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where he was a member of the Center’s Law Journal. Jerry and his wife Madeline have one son, Sidney.

Yohannes Abraham
Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Yohannes Abraham serves as Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Abraham served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, where he managed political strategy and operations in swing states. After the election, Abraham was named Director of Public Engagement for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Before joining the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, Abraham was the National Political Director at Organizing for America, and also served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda. He also served as then-Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director during the 2008 general election. Abraham is a native of Springfield, VA.

Adrian Saenz
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Adrian Saenz serves as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs managing the Obama Administration’s relationships with state elected officials.

Before joining the White House, Adrian served as the Senior Advisor for Immigration Reform at Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he was the National Latino Vote Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, where he oversaw the implementation of a program to engage and turnout Latino voters across the country. Following the election, Adrian joined the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee as the Director of Constituency Engagement. He has also worked on numerous electoral campaigns and as the National Field Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Adrian began his government service in the United States House of Representatives, first as a legislative aide and Communications Director for Texas Congressman Charlie Gonzalez and later as Chief of Staff to two separate Members of Congress. In that capacity he developed and directed district-focused constituent service, legislative and outreach programs that utilized grassroots coalitions and partnerships with community leaders and advocacy groups, as well as Federal, state and local-level decision makers.

While an employee of the U.S. House, Adrian also served as President of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, an organization focused on increasing the number of Hispanic staffers in the United States Congress and promoting career development and advancement opportunities for Hispanic congressional staffers.

A native of Brownsville, Texas, Adrian received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Rohan Patel
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Rohan Patel is a Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he serves as the liaison to local elected officials. Previously, Rohan served as Associate Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, overseeing climate change and conservation issues. After the 2008 inauguration, he joined the Obama administration as Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary Vilsack at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he focused on Food Safety, Immigration, and Transportation. Prior to his appointment, he spent two years on the Obama Presidential Campaign, where he served in various capacities in Iowa, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, and Chicago. He has also served on the staffs of Governor Chet Culver (D-IA), the Iowa Senate Democrats, and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Rohan is a graduate of Northwestern University and a native of Goshen, Indiana.

Elias Alcantara
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Elias Alcantara serves as Associate Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as a liaison for local officials across the country. Previously, he served as a U.S. Fellow for the Organization of American States and resided in Santiago, Chile for two years. While in Chile, he completed coursework for a Master of Arts in International Studies at the Universidad de Chile’s Institute of International Studies. Elias is a graduate of Lehman College of the City University of New York(CUNY) and is originally from the Bronx, New York.

Katherine Branch
Director of Special Projects and Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor

Katherine Branch is the Director of Special Projects and Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett. In this role, she oversees and executes a variety of projects designed to support the Senior Advisor in her roles as head of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and as chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Branch has been a key member of the Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs team since the very beginning of the President’s first term, and has played a vital role in its work to promote the President’s agenda.

Prior to joining the White House, Kathy worked at The Habitat Company as Executive Assistant to then-CEO Valerie Jarrett. Prior to that, Kathy served in the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Branch graduated from the University of Phoenix with an BSB/M in Business.

Kalisha Dessources
Staff Assistant

Kalisha Dessources serves as a Staff Assistant for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where she works to engage state elected officials. Kalisha previously served as a White House intern for the Office of Public Engagement, working on African-American outreach and outreach to faith communities. Before joining the White House, Kalisha served as a Teach for America Corps member, teaching secondary math and science in Philadelphia. Originally from New York, Kalisha received her B.Sc. from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and her M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

David Dietz
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

David is the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs where he serves as the primary liaison to athletes, teams, and leagues. Prior to joining the White House, David served on The President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and worked for the 2012 Obama-Biden campaign in Chicago. A native Hoosier and graduate of DePauw University, David got his start with the President in early 2008 as a volunteer for then Senator Obama’s campaign in Iowa.

Monique Dorsainvil
Director of Planning and Events for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Dorsainvil serves as the Director of Planning and Events for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, she coordinates engagement events, bill signings, and policy briefings while providing scheduling guidance and logistical support for the outreach missions of OPE and IGA.

Prior to this role, Dorsainvil served as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Public Engagement working on the White House Council on Women and Girls and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Outreach. Dorsainvil previously served as a White House Intern in the Office of the First Lady in 2009 and subsequently advanced official domestic and international visits for the President and First Lady. She graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Global Health.

Zaid Hassan
Staff Assistant

Zaid Hassan is currently serving as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He is also the Assistant to the Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Director of OPE.

Prior to joining the White House, Zaid worked on the Obama-Biden 2012 re-election campaign. He initially served with the operations and travel teams at the campaign headquarters in Chicago and organized in the field thereafter as Iowa’s Deputy Get Out the Vote Director.

Before his yearlong commitment with the Obama for America campaign, Zaid served at the Texas state legislature and held leadership positions with several non-profit organizations in Austin.

A proud Longhorn, he received his B.A. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. Zaid was raised in Lahore, Pakistan and Austin, Texas.

Alissa Ko
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Alissa Ko serves as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, working primarily with Attorneys General and state legislators. Before joining the White House, Alissa served as Deputy Director for Ready for Hillary, where she managed the day to day operations of the organization. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Alissa worked on the Obama Biden 2012 campaign as the National Asian American and Pacific Islander Vote Director and Western Operation Vote Director. Following the election, Alissa joined the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee as the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement. She is a native Californian and graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Jordan Metoyer
Staff Assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Jordan Metoyer serves as Staff Assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as a liaison to local elected officials. Before joining the White House, Jordan served in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Previously, Jordan served as a White House intern for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Jordan is a native of Inglewood, California and attended The University of Texas at Austin, where she was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar.

Raina Thiele
Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Raina Thiele is Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and works as the liaison for tribes and the American Indian and Alaska Native community. Prior to her current position, she most recently served as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) working on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. She previously worked as a Legislative Analyst at OMB and worked on tribal outreach for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Raina earned her B.A. from Yale College and her Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Born and raised in Alaska, her family hails from the rural communities of Pedro Bay Native Village on Lake Iliamna and Alexander Creek near Mount Susitna. She is Dena’ina Athabascan and Yup’ik.

Alex Yudelson
Staff Assistant

Alex Yudelson serves as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Public Engagement and Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Alex previously served as an intern in the White House Office of Public Engagement, working on outreach to the sports community. Prior to joining the White House, Alex worked in the athletic department at George Washington University, his alma mater. During college, Alex studied abroad at the University of Oxford and was chosen to be a delegate for President Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Originally from Rochester, NY, Alex graduated from George Washington University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science.