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President Obama Announces More Key White House Staff


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

February 6, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key White House Staff
Names Three More Members of Intergovernmental Affairs Staff

WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama announced three Deputy Associate Directors of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs: Jodi Archambault Gillette, Nicholas Rathod, and Michael Blake.

President Obama said, "These individuals bring diverse experiences and a deep passion for public service to my administration. As we work to serve the American people and make this White House as open and transparent as possible, it’s essential that we hear from citizens in all our communities. I am confident that Jodi, Michael and Nick will be valuable members of our team."

The announcements made today are below:

Jodi Archambault Gillette, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Gillette served as the North Dakota First American Vote Director for the Obama Campaign for Change. Gillette is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Prior the campaign, she was the Director of the Native American Training Institute, a tribally operated non-profit organization. Gillette received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1991 in Government/Native American Studies. In 2002, she was awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship and obtained her Master of Public Administration from the University of Minnesota. She is committed to her tribe and people, in maintaining cultural life ways and beliefs of her ancestors.

Nicholas Rathod, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Rathod served as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Rathod has also worked as the Deputy Director of the Federal Affairs Office for Governor David Paterson (NY) and Senior Manager of State and Regional Affairs for the Center for American Progress. In addition, Rathod was a community organizer – organizing DC’s immigrant communities around language access issues and a civil rights attorney –representing minority communities who were discriminated against in lending, including a one billion dollar settlement on behalf of African American farmers. Rathod is also active in the South Asian community co-founding the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) as well as South Asians for Obama (SAFO). He is the recipient of the Frederick B. Abramson award recognizing Washington DC’s top public interest attorneys and is the 2005 National South Asian Bar Association's national public interest attorney of the year.

Michael Blake, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Blake worked on the Obama for America presidential campaign beginning in March 2007 as Iowa's Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director. He concluded the campaign in Michigan as the state's Deputy Director and Political Director. Before the campaign, Blake was the Director of External Affairs for the Michigan House of Representatives serving in Michigan Speaker of the House Andy Dillon's cabinet. This appointment followed Michael successfully co-organizing three state house campaigns in the 2006 election cycle. Blake is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism from Northwestern University. He is also an alumnus of the Yes We Can political training program in Washington, D.C. He started his political career as an assistant for Illinois State Senator Jeff Schoenberg.