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Gays part of Emanuel's staff
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2011-05-18

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Mona Noriega is not the only member from Chicago's LGBT community on the new mayor's senior staff. Others include:

—David Spielfogel, chief of policy and strategic planning: Spielfogel currently serves as director of the Chicago 2011 Transition Project after directing policy and research for Chicago for Rahm mayoral campaign. Previously, Spielfogel served as policy director for the Senate bid of Alexi Giannoulias; as chief of staff at the MacArthur Foundation, where he worked on special projects that cut across the foundation's domestic and international programs; and in the Clinton White House as the special assistant for policy to the president's senior adviser on energy and environmental issues. Spielfogel earned his M.S. in International Development Management from the London School of Economics, and his B.S. from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources.

—Mike Simmons, policy director: Simmons has spent the last two years as policy director for Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, developing and coordinating policy initiatives around health care, foreclosure, budget, and the courts. Previously, Simmons served on the legislative staff of Senator Richard Durbin in Washington, D.C. where he focused on economic and banking issues. Simmons sits on the board of Equality Illinois and the Brennemann Elementary School Local School Council in Uptown. Simmons holds a degree in Political Science from Amherst College.

—John Pfeiffer, first deputy commissioner: Pfeiffer�is currently the executive director and CEO of Inspiration Corporation, a nonprofit that operates the Inspiration Cafe and helps more than 3,000 homeless and low-income Chicagoans achieve greater self-sufficiency and stability each year.�He�previously served as director of operations for New York City's Department of Homeless Services and as a consultant at KPMG, where he focused on the management of nonprofit and public institutions.�Pfeiffer�earned his B.A. from Northwestern University and his M.P.A. in non-profit and public management from Columbia University.

Pfeiffer told Windy City Times, "I am deeply honored to have been invited to join the Mayor-elect's administration and excited about the opportunity we have to move Chicago forward. My own experience of marginalization as a gay man has shaped my perspective on social policy and guided my public-service career. I want to expand access to opportunity for all Chicagoans, especially the most vulnerable and isolated."

—Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health: Choucair will continue serving as commissioner under Emanuel. From 2001-05, Choucair served as medical director of Crusader Community Health in Rockford, Illinois. From 2005-09, he was executive director of Heartland International Health Center. He has served as vice chair of community medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine's ( Northwestern University ) Department of Family & Community Medicine.

In an email to Windy City Times, Choucair wrote, "I'm grateful to Mayor-elect Emmanuel for giving me the opportunity to bring to fruition some of the innovative work I began last year at the Chicago Department of Public Health. In the next 100 days we will release a citywide public-health agenda that will provide a framework to make Chicago a healthier place for all. It's exciting to be a part of this new dynamic era of government for Chicago."

—Kevin Hauswirth, social media director: Hauswirth, a former Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree,�served as the director of advertising and promotions at Roosevelt University where he oversaw social media strategies, integrated marketing and mobile communications. Previously, he led social and traditional media efforts for Fortune 500 brands at O'Malley Hansen Communications and was a regular contributor to The Advocate magazine. He serves on the board of Equality Illinois and has held board position at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Hauswirth�earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Hauswirth told Windy City Times, "I'm proud to serve a mayor who strongly believes in technology as a means to empower Chicago voices. I hope to implement social media tools to ensure that the Mayor's office is part of the conversation and encourages everyone can be part of the solution. Chicago is a city where citizens from every community can turn online organizing into offline action, and I plan to take that passion to the next level."


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