Openly Gay Union Activist on Shortlist for Labor Secretary
Granholm, Sebelius also rumored picks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 10:43 AM CST
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, seen here at an August meeting of Michigan Women for Obama, was mentioned as a possible running mate for Obama and is now under consideration for his secretary of labor.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – A gay union leader is on the shortlist for Barack Obama's secretary of labor, the Wall Street Journal reports. Democratic officials have confirmed that Mary Beth Maxwell—who would become the first openly gay Cabinet member in American history if chosen—is being vetted for the position, along with Govs. Jennifer Granholm and Kathleen Sebelius, of Michigan and Kansas, respectively.

Maxwell has the firm backing of David Bonior, a transition team member and former congressman believed to still be on the shortlist himself. Some labor leaders back Maxwell as a consensus choice. Others, despite Maxwell's strong activist record as head of the advocacy group American Rights at Work, believe the position calls for someone with more stature in light of the big names chosen for other Cabinet positions.