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Press Release: President-Elect Obama Announces More Key White House Staff

December 05, 2008

WASHINGTON – Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced that Christina M. Tchen will serve as White House Director of Public Liaison and Michael Strautmanis will serve as Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison.

President-elect Obama said, "I am pleased to announce that these two distinguished individuals will be joining my administration, as we seek to meet the big challenges of our time. They not only bring impressive resumes but also a deep commitment to public service -- and I know the American people will be served well by them."

The White House Staff Announcements are below:

Christina M. Tchen, Director of Public Liaison

Tchen has broad litigation experience at all levels of the state and federal courts. She has represented companies, officers and directors in shareholder class and derivative actions, and she has also handled a wide range of commercial, intellectual property, and employment-related litigation. Tchen also has represented public agencies in state and federal class actions, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Chicago Housing Authority. She serves on the board of the Chicago Bar Foundation; she is also Chair of the Board of Field Foundation of Illinois and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Library and the Board of the Chinese American Service League. She has served on the Judicial Nominations Commission for the Northern District of Illinois and she has been appointed to several leadership positions with the American Bar Association Section of Litigation.

Tchen is the recipient of many awards, including the Leadership Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois (1999); "Women of Achievement" award from the Anti-Defamation League (1996); and Chicago Lawyer "Person of the Year" (1994). She was selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 and The Best Lawyers in America 2009. She also was selected as one of the top three women business lawyers in Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network 2007.

Michael Strautmanis, Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison

A native of Chicago, Strautmanis first came to know the Obamas when he worked as a paralegal at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin for Mrs. Michelle Obama. After law school, Strautmanis practiced complex litigation and employment law in Chicago, before joining the Clinton Administration at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Strautmanis also served as Legislative Director and Counsel to then Rep. Rod Blagojevich, aiding Governor Blagojevich in his successful 2002 Illinois gubernatorial campaign, and serving as Counsel for Legislation for the American Association of Justice.

Strautmanis served as Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff to Obama in the United States Senate. He then served as Senior Counsel for Obama for America where he played a leading role in political outreach as a member of the Congressional Relations team. Strautmanis received a B.S. from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. from the University Of Illinois College Of Law. He and his wife Damona are the proud parents of three.

Barack Obama, Press Release: President-Elect Obama Announces More Key White House Staff Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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