the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Sharon Block– Member, National Labor Relations Board
  • Richard Griffin– Member, National Labor Relations Board
  • Michael A. Raynor – Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Department of State
  • Jacob Walles – Ambassador to the Tunisian Republic, Department of State

President Obamasaid, “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles.  I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Sharon Block, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Sharon Block is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.  Between 2006 and 2009, Ms. Block was Senior Labor and Employment Counsel for the Senate HELP Committee, where she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Block previously served at the National Labor Relations Board as senior attorney to Chairman Robert Battista from 2003 to 2006 and as an attorney in the appellate court branch from 1996 to 2003.  From 1994 to 1996, she was Assistant General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from 1991 to 1993, she was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson.  She received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.

Richard Griffin, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board
Richard Griffin is the General Counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).  He also serves on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, a position he has held since 1994.  Since 1983, he has held a number of leadership positions with IUOE from Assistant House Counsel to Associate General Counsel.   From 1985 to 1994, Mr. Griffin served as a member of the board of trustees of the IUOE’s central pension fund.  From 1981 to 1983, he served as a Counsel to NLRB Board Members.  Mr. Griffin holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Michael A. Raynor, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Department of State
Michael A. Raynor, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is currently the Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs.  Previously, from 2008 to 2010, he was Deputy Executive Director of the same bureau.  From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Raynor was the Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe.  Other overseas posts include: Management Officer in Namibia, Guinea, and Djibouti; Consular Officer in Luxembourg; and General Services Officer in Brazzaville, Congo.  Prior positions in Washington include: Desk Officer for Zimbabwe, and Legislative Management Officer and Special Assistant in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.  Mr. Raynor received a B.A. from Lafayette College and an M.I.A. and Certificate of Institute on Western Europe from Columbia University.

Jacob Walles, Nominee for Ambassador to the Tunisian Republic, Department of State
Jacob Walles is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor.  He is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, responsible for U.S. relations with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.  From 2009 to 2010, he was a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He served as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem from 2005 to 2009.  Prior to this assignment, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Greece from 2003 to 2005.  Previously, he served as the Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs and as Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Walles served in a number of other positions involving Middle Eastern affairs, including Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Special Assistant for the Middle East Peace Process in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and First Secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.  Mr. Walles received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.