Austin Baidas, a Chicago consultant who held multiple key posts in former Gov. Pat Quinn's election campaign and administration, has accepted a post with the Obama administration.
Beginning May 31, Baidas, who is openly gay, will be a senior advisor for pipeline and hazardous materials safety, a position under the auspices of the United States Department of Transportation.
Baidas began working with Quinn's campaign in 2009, taking on a large part of the governor's outreach to the LGBT community. He became associate director of the office of management and budget in 2011, and was then, in late 2013, named as assistant director of central management services ( CMS ); Baidas was one of two gay officials in Quinn's cabinet (Rocco Claps was the other; prior to that Mike McRaith and Brent Adams were members of the cabinet). Baidas also serves on the board of directors of Center on Halsted and is board chairman for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based TriMatrix Laboratories.
The new post will be based in Washington, D.C., but Baidas said he will main his residence in Lakeview and commute to work in D.C.
"I love Chicago," he said. "I don't want to give up living there."
But he added that he was excited to be part of Obama administration initiatives that demonstrate the president is serious about having his final months in office be meaningful and have a lasting impact.
"I'm very excited to join the Obama administration," Baidas said. "It's exciting and an honor to be working for this presidenthe is the most LGBT-friendly president in history."