Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Gay Man on Bush's Team

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Gay Man on Bush's Team

Article excerpt

Brian Bennett says he is proof the president won't exclude gay people from his administration

Brian Bennett spent 13 years as a top aide to and 20 years as a close friend of former U.S. representative Robert K. Dornan, an antigay California Republican. That close relationship, which ended in 1997, in some ways was the perfect qualification for Bennett's post as one of a handful of openly gay members of President Bush's transition team.

"I know how conservatives think and what their sensitivities are," said Bennett, who came out to his former boss in 1996 and has received the cold shoulder from him since mid 1997. "By being an openly gay person in these circles, I believe I can help break down stereotypes. I can sit down at a table and talk about gay issues with Republicans, and it usually turns out to be not such a big divider after all."

Bennett, vice president for public affairs at Southern California Edison, said he has "no interest" in a Bush administration job because he wants to remain in Long Beach, Calif., where he lives with his partner of nearly five years. But he spent the truncated transition period as one of 40 members of the transition team on national energy policy and pushed what he calls "highly qualified" gay GOP friends and colleagues for positions throughout the Administration. …

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