WASHINGTON, D.C., CMC – U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated a Haitian American as that countries next Ambassador to South Africa.
The White House said in a statement that Patrick Hubert Gaspard, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee and an Obama campaign veteran, will replace Donald Gips.
Gips, a former chief domestic policy advisor to ex-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, has served as Ambassador to South Africa since the beginning of Obama’s first term.
Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser, noted that Gaspard has served as the White House director of the office of political affairs from 2009 to 2011, and prior to that, as national political director for “Obama for America.”
Gaspard was born in 1968 in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, to Haitian parents. His father, a political opponent of the Duvalier regime in Haiti, had fled there with his wife.
Gaspard moved with his parents to the United States when he was three years old. He served as director of the Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration from January 2009 to 2011.
Prior to working on Obama’s campaign team, Gaspard worked for nine years as the executive vice president for politics and legislation for the New York-based United Healthcare Workers East labor union, the largest local union in the United States.