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Obama Adds Two More to White House Staff

By Philip Rucker
President-elect Barack Obama continued to round out his staff today by naming two lawyers with Chicago roots to positions in his White House.

Christina M. Tchen, who has a range of commercial, intellectual property and employment-related litigation experience, will serve as director of public liaison. The Office of Public Liaison promotes the president's priorities with constituencies and public interest groups and plans White House briefings, meetings and large events. As a lawyer, Tchen 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 several organizations, including the Chicago Bar Foundation.

Michael Strautmanis, a Chicago native who first met the Obamas when he worked as a paralegal for Michelle Obama at the law firm Sidley & Austin, will serve as chief of staff to the assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison.

Strautmanis served as chief counsel and deputy chief of staff to Obama in the U.S. Senate and as senior counsel for the Obama campaign. He has practiced law in Chicago, worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Clinton Administration and is a former top aide to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"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," Obama said in a statement. "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."

Posted at 3:22 PM ET on Dec 5, 2008  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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