Pete Rouse, who is partial Japanese American, was officially announced on Friday as the new White House chief of staff, making him the first Asian American to be appointed in history. Rouse will be replacing chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who recently decided to step down and run for mayor of Chicago.
Rouse, 64, who has been a long-time aide and close adviser to President Obama, is known as a private man who likes to keep a low profile. His mother, Mary Mikami, grew up speaking only Japanese, and his maternal grandparents immigrated from Japan and were interned in Arizona during WWII. Though Rouse is filling an interim position for now, White House aides believe this will become a permanent position for the third-generation Asian American. Known as a workaholic, he is regarded highly by his peers:

“One of the smartest things [Obama] did after being elected to the Senate was choosing Pete as chief of staff,” said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “That indicated to people on the Hill that he was serious.”

As chief of staff, Rouse will certainly help change things up post-Emanuel—plus, it’s so great to see an increasing number of Asian Americans in the White House. [via LA Times]

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post

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