Patrick Gaspard

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Patrick Gaspard
Patrick Gaspard (profile).jpg
United States Ambassador to South Africa
Assumed office
October 16, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Donald Gips
White House Director of Political Affairs
In office
January 20, 2009 – February 1, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Jonathan Felts
Succeeded by David Simas
Personal details
Born 1967 (age 49–50)
Kinshasa, Zaire
(now Congo-Kinshasa)
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Columbia University

Patrick Gaspard (born 1967) is the current United States Ambassador to South Africa. He is a noted Democratic Party political leader and elections staffer.


Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Haitian parents, Gaspard moved with his parents to the United States when he was three years old.[1] Gaspard graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and attended Columbia University from 1994 to 1997.

He is married and has two children.


Prior to becoming Ambassador to South Africa, Gaspard was most well known for his time at the White House and as the day-to-day leader of the Democratic Party headquarters. He served as the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee from 2011 to 2013, overseeing the party committee's efforts to re-elect President Obama. Previously, he was the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration from January 2009 to 2011,[1][2] Associate Personnel Director of President-elect Obama's transition team,[3] and National Political Director of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Gaspard's early career was spent in New York City, including working on the 1988 Jesse Jackson presidential bid and David Dinkins's successful 1989 mayoral campaign.[4] He went on to serve as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and Special Assistant in the Office of Mayor Dinkins, and later, from 1998-1999, Chief of Staff to the New York City Council.[5] In 2003-2004, he worked for Governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign as the National Deputy Field Director, and in 2004, was the National Field Director for America Coming Together.[5]

Gaspard spent nine years as the executive vice president for politics and legislation for the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union, the largest local union in America.[6][7] He helped coordinate political activity and government relations on behalf of 300,000 members. In 2006, he served as the acting political director for SEIU International during the national union's successful effort to help Democrats capture majorities in the House and Senate.

He is also a former community organizer around school reform issues.

Ambassador to South Africa[edit]

It was leaked in March 2013 that President Obama was planning to nominate Gaspard to the post of United States Ambassador to South Africa.[8] His Senate confirmation hearing was held on July 24, 2013,[9] and he was sworn into the post on August 26, 2013.[10][11]

Gaspard is a close friend of Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City. In September 2013, he brokered a peace between de Blasio and his primary rival Bill Thompson that prevented Thompson from challenging de Blasio in a runoff.[12] Earlier, de Blasio had personally thanked Gaspard in his primary victory speech.[13]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Johnathan Felts
White House Director of Political Affairs
Succeeded by
David Simas
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Donald Gips
United States Ambassador to South Africa