TheGrio's 100: Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the Democratic National Committee

theGRIO's 100 -- Patrick Gaspard played a major role in helping President Barack Obama get elected to the White House as the campaign director for Obama's 2008 campaign...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Patrick Gaspard is the executive director of the Democratic National Committee. Before that, Gaspard played a major role in helping President Barack Obama get elected; serving as director of Obama’s 2008 campaign. He also served as White House political director from 2009 to 2011.

Gaspard has been involved in politics for years, as a health care union lobbyist, community organizer focused on school reform, and the political of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199 in New York.

In addition to Obama’s presidential campaign, he has also helped with the presidential runs of Rev. Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean.

Gaspard credits his father for his strong sense of civic duty. Gaspard was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haitian parents. His father, who was educated as a lawyer and spoke French and Latin, moved there in the 1960s to get involved in the freedom movements taking place in parts of Africa at the time. His parents moved to the U.S. when he was still young.

“I think my father was always completely inspired by just how wide open [the] democratic discourse is in this country, and he instilled in me from my earliest years a sense that I had an obligation to give back to my community and to serve to the greatest degree possible,” Gaspard said.

Patrick Gaspard is making history … as one of the highest-ranking African American political operatives outside of the federal government. In his various roles, Gaspard has fought for worker’s rights, school reform and successfully served as a campaign leader in the election of the country’s first African American president. In these roles Gaspard has upheld his father’s legacy of working to improve his community.

What’s next for Patrick Gaspard?

As the head of the party machinery responsible for making Obama’s reelection a reality in November, Gaspard said he has “no ability to think past the next 302 days” until Election Day. “I am 100 percent focused on the great question that comes before all Americans every four years, and that is what the future course of this country is, and I’m 100 percent confident, given the accomplishments of this president … when I think about (the) challenges, I am convinced that Barack Obama is the best leader suited for these times.”

Gaspard in his own words …

“Irrespective of what your calling is in life, there is some intersection with government, and therefore with politics, and it behooves all of us to have a toe in the pool of political action,” Gaspard told theGrio. “But more than most, I think because of the unique history that African Americans have in this country, we can ill afford to be in a position where others are determining the fate of our community, whilst we’re on the outside looking in.”

A little-known fact about Patrick Gaspard…

Gaspard is a huge fan of comic books, and said Batman is his favorite character.

Favorite quote:

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
― Bertolt Brecht