First Lady Michelle Obama said she got a grilling at her “Take Your Child to Work Day” event with kids at the White House this morning and called it her first official press conference.
“They asked me a ton of questions. They were hard,” Mrs. Obama said about the questions from the children of employees from the Executive Office of the President, the White House military office and the Secret Service.
Continuing her outreach to federal employees, the first lady dropped by the Office of Personnel Management to attend the official swearing-in of new director John Berry.
Berry, who is openly gay , noted the presence of gay rights activist Frank Kameny in the audience. Kameny was fired from his federal job in 1957 because of his sexual orientation and the decision was overturned by the Civil Service Commission in 1975.
“In no small part, Dr. Kameny's work, and other leaders like him, made it possible for me to stand here today,” said Berry, who was joined at the event by his partner Curtis Yee.
The first lady said that OPM is where the federal government’s effort to lead the way in hiring practice begins.
“Our nation is best served when the principles of excellence and diversity guide the federal government's hiring practices,” she said. “This office is the place where we can break new ground and we can be on the front lines of important issues of finding new and creative ways of making work important but also making sure that people are thriving at home, as well.”
Mrs. Obama has said that one of the issues she will focus on in the White House is work/life balance for American families. Today she said that OPM employees, as the federal government’s HR team, must remember how important that balance is in order to maintain “a strong and committed workforce.”
“That's one of the reasons why I take on this cause, because we're all struggling to make sure that we're not just good workers but we're good parents and grandparents and neighbors,” she said.
This was the tenth stop on the first lady’s thank you/listening tour. She already has visited DHS, HUD, Transportation, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Interior, State and the EPA.
-- Karen Travers