(H/T: Jeff Yang)
In what has possibly been the worst-kept secret in Washington, current Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel officially announced today that he would resign his post to run for the mayor of Chicago. Emanuel, who has been characterized in mainstream media as a no-nonsense — and quick-tempered — personality on the Hill, will be launching his campaign early next week.
The New York Times reported today that President Obama will be appointing senior advisor, and close friend, Pete Rouse to replace Emanuel as the new Chief of Staff. Rouse, who is hardly a household name outside of the White House, worked with Senator Tom Daschle before being recruited by Obama in 2004 to run his Senate office. The New York Times reports that although Rouse has reservations about being the new Chief of Staff, he’s willing to assume those duties at least for now.
Jeff Yang, of Asian POP, notes on his blog that if appointed, Rouse would also be the first Asian American to hold the position of Chief of Staff. Jeff reminds us that, though Rouse hasn’t made a big deal about his Asian American heritage, he is the son of Irving Rouse and Mary Mikami — a Japanese American woman (see more about Rouse’s maternal family tree here). Further, Rouse’s grandparents were interned during World War II, giving Rouse an incontrovertible link to a watershed moment of Japanese American history.
If Rouse is appointed, he would also be the fourth Asian American in President Obama’s cabinet. The other three are: Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce, Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, and Gen. Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty dang cool to see so many Asian Americans breaking through the political glass ceiling in Washington.