At a Glance
- Career History: President of Certus Advisors (March 2005 to January 2009); Vice president for state and local government affairs at the Center for American Progress (January 2004 to May 2005); Domestic policy adviser to the Clinton Foundation (2001 to 2005); Deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Agriculture Daniel Glickman; Deputy director of White House scheduling and advance; Assistant press secretary at the Department of Agriculture (1997); Staffer on the D.C. City Council
- Birthday: Feb. 8, 1962
- Hometown: Washington D.C.
- Alma Mater: Howard University, B.A. (political science)
- Spouse: Mona Sutphen
- Web site
Path to Power
Williams grew up in Washington D.C. His father, Williams found out much later, worked at the DNC but died when his son was just 3-years-old. Williams' mother was a public school teacher in southeast Washington.
Williams was supposed to go to Ballou High School, immortalized in Ron Suskind's book "A Hope in the Unseen" as a crime-ridden inner-city school. But his mother paid the electric bill for a friend who lived in-boundary for Woodrow Wilson High School, a public school located in a more affluent neighborhood. "And that was the only thing she could afford to do, so that was like her private school for me," Williams said.
Williams, a former vice president of the D.C. Young Democrats, doesn't hide his partisan perspective. "I believe in the Democratic Party. I believe in what it represents," he says. "When I think about this party and the potential it has to grow and expand, it's endless."
Williams' job at the DNC is to simultaneously expand the party and promote the president's agenda. He spends much of his time working with state governments and nationwide elected officials. "It's one thing for us to talk about it [an issue] or for people in D.C. to talk about it," Williams said. "It's another thing when people across the country talk about it. When they understand the importance of it and they're part of saying, 'you know, we're helping to get this piece of legislation pushed through because we think it's important.'"
Williams met his wife, Mona Sutphen, in the Situation Room while helping to plan the Wye River Summit in 1998. The White House deputy chief of staff is an integral part of Barack Obama's network and is a close adviser to the president.
Still, Williams supported then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the 2008 presidential election because of his loyalty to the Clintons. "One thing I always say is you dance with the one that brung you," Williams said. "Nobody would ever know me on a national level - no one would ever know me in politics if I hadn't worked for Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. So there's nothing more important than loyalty." In addition to being close to the Clintons and former Agriculture Secretary Daniel Glickman, Williams considers top Hillary Clinton aide Maggie Williams as a mentor.
Williams has donated sparingly throughout his career. He donated $1,000 to Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) in 2003 and $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008.