By Michelle Boorstein and Michael D. Shear for the Washington Post
President Obama has named Josh DuBois, the 26-year-old who ran religious outreach for his presidential campaign, to head the White House’s new office of faith-based programs, a White House aide said today.
DuBois, who has worked as an associate pastor for a small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts and received a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University, was widely expected to get the position and is considered close to the president, for whom he also worked in the Senate.
DuBois’s appointment to run the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships — first reported today in the New York Times — is the first publicly known detail about the future of the office, which partners with faith groups on social service issues and helps advise them on applying for federal funds.
Obama aides have said the president’s effort will expand the faith-based office at the White House. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives made a priority of placing faith offices within federal agencies, but was criticized by some former high-ranking staff for becoming politicized.
It’s still unknown whether Obama’s faith-based effort will include the same amount of staff at the agencies — including the Justice, Labor and Education Departments — or how he will juggle concerns some faith-based social service groups have voiced about being forced to compromise their beliefs in order to compete equally for federal funding. Obama has come under fire for saying he would reverse a Bush executive order allowing faith-based groups to discriminate in hiring based on religion, but then largely halting comment on it.
DuBois is a familiar face to faith activists.
DuBois “is a very close confidant and adviser to President Obama, so this demonstrates the president is very committed to working with faith groups and organizations in this country,” said Burns Strider, who ran religious outreach for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and now does faith-based political consulting. “He’s put a trusted adviser to run it so it can hit the ground running.”
The faith-based office will remain, as it did under Bush, within the Domestic Policy Council. There will also be faith outreach staffer in the Office of Public Liason.
DuBois also worked for U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and was raised in Nashville.