Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs
Department: Policy and Political Affairs
Tom O’Donnell is the Human Rights Campaign’s Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. O’Donnell leads HRC's federal, state and local legislative, legal and field teams and oversees the management of HRC’s political action committees.
Prior to joining HRC, O’Donnell served as a senior official in the White House, the U.S. Senate, the Obama and Clinton Presidential Transition Teams, several Presidential campaigns and nominating Conventions, and as a law firm public policy partner.
During his tenure as a United States Senate chief of staff, O’Donnell managed both national and state offices and served as liaison to the White House and Executive Branch, Congressional leadership offices, and other policy and opinion leaders nationwide on behalf of his office. He directed legislative, media, and outreach strategies on high-profile public policy matters, including Presidential nominations, LGBT rights, immigration reform and international trade and taxation.
O’Donnell also served as Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff of the White House National Economic Council (NEC) and Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The NEC coordinates economic policymaking across a Presidential Administration; the CEA is the President’s in-house, Cabinet-level economic advisory council.
Between his government service, Tom worked as a public policy law firm partner and in senior management positions at several national party Presidential conventions, including as Managing Director of the 2000 convention in Los Angeles. He was also a member of the Obama and Clinton Presidential Transition Teams. He began his national political career on the policy staff of the Governor Clinton for President Campaign in Little Rock.
Mr. O’Donnell is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his partner, Carl L. Davis, Jr., founder of the non-profit consultancy Think Social Change.