Illinois grad Michael Strautmanis '94 named to Obama Transition Senior Staff

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Michael Strautmanis, a 1994 University of Illinois College of Law graduate, has been named to the 13-member Transition Senior Staff on the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Mr. Strautmanis, who has served as long-time Chief Counsel for Senator and President-elect Barack Obama, will serve as Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. Mr. Strautmanis was honored by the College of Law at the annual Chicago Alumni Luncheon on November 11 in Chicago. Mr. Strautmanis has worked with Senator Obama since they met in the early 90's at the Chicago law firm, Sidley & Austin.

Mr. Strautmanis graduated from the University of Illinois as an undergraduate and from the College of Law.  After law school in 1994, he worked at two of Chicago's largest law firms, representing clients in complex litigation, labor and employment law, and intellectual property matters. Near the end of the Clinton Administration, Mr. Strautmanis moved to Washington, DC to serve as a political appointee in the Clinton Administration at the U.S. Agency for International Development.  As Chief of Staff to the General Counsel of USAID, he advised the agency on food aid, disaster assistance, transition assistance and civil-military relations. Mr. Strautmanis then joined the office of Representative Rod Blagojevich (5th District, Illinois) as Legislative Director. Following Rep. Blagojevich's successful run for Illinois Governor, Mr. Strautmanis joined the Public Affairs Department of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) where he advocated on behalf of the civil justice system.

Mr. Strautmanis has worked on national, state and local political campaigns, serving for many years as a Democratic precinct captain, the most important job in Illinois politics. He is a long-suffering fan of the Chicago Cubs and, in a related matter, is active in his church and community in the Washington, DC area and his native Chicago.  He and his wife, Damona, have three children, Michael, Jori and Nia.