UPDATE II (12:30AM 4/8/09): A White House official said that Penn is the only such appointee for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities. His designation would be Associate Director in the White House office of Public Liaison.
“They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House,” Penn, 31, told Huffingtonpost.Com in an interview posted on its website.
To take up this position, Penn said he will be leaving the popular television show ‘House’.
Kal Penn was one of the leading Indian Americans to have campaigned aggressively for Barack Obama during the presidential election. Highly popular among the younger Indian Americans, Kal was highly instrumental in getting their support for Obama.
“There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs. But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honour,” he said.
The suicide of Kal Penn’s "House" character Lawrence Kutner came as a major surprise to not only viewers of the show last night, but to Kutner’s on screen colleagues too.
Producers were not looking to get rid of Penn. On the contrary, it was Penn who asked to leave the series, so he’d be freed up to work for… wait for it… the President of The United States.
Kal recently accepted a position as the associate director for the White House office of public liaison.
UPDATE 11:20 a.m. eastern
Penn will be working with the Asian-American and arts communities, said Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman. (Penn’s parents are Indian-America.) His start date is not set. (end update)
Penn told EW: "I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison. They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations. They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It’s similar to what I was doing on the campaign."