Gautam Raghavan: A trailblazing Indian American political operative

Gautam Raghavan with Obama
In this undated photo, Gautam Raghavan, the editor of “West Wingers,”is seen with President Obama. Photo credit:

Raghavan, a former Obama administration official, is set to work in the White House again.

Gautam Raghavan is a trailblazing Indian American who has served in multiple positions at the White House and on Capitol Hill in the past decade. Prior to being named as the Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, he worked as the Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments on the Biden’s transition team. Before joining the team last year, Raghavan served as Chief of Staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, for roughly two years.

Raghavan was also the founding executive director of Indian American Impact Fund, a political advocacy group that encourages and support members of the community that run for elected offices across the country.

Like many Biden officials, Raghavan has experience working with the president-elect, having served as an Advisor to the Biden Foundation.

Raghavan also worked as the Policy Director of the Gill Foundation, based in Denver, Colorado, one of the oldest and largest private foundations dedicated to the cause of LGBTQ equality.

From 2011 to 2014, Raghavan served in the Obama White House as the president’s liaison to the LGBTQ and the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. He was the first openly gay Indian American official in the Obama administration.

Raghavan, a first generation immigrant who was born in India, was raised in Seattle. The Stanford University alumn lives in Washington, DC, with his husband and their daughter.

The Indian American coauthored and edited a book by Obama administration officials that takes a behind-the-scene look at the presidency of the first African American to serve as the commander-in-chief. West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House is a collection of essays by 18 former staffers.

He also served in the White House Liaison Office for the US Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group.

Related stories:

Indian Americans Vinay Reddy, Gautam Raghavan, get White House posts (December 23, 2020)

Gautam Raghavan named chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (December 3, 2018)

‘West Wingers’: perspectives of the Obama White House by 18 insiders (September 29, 2018)

New Indian American group Impact to support candidates to ‘run, win and lead’ (January 19, 2018)

Gautam Raghavan resigns, joins Gill Foundation(September 11, 2014)


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