Remembering the White House's 34-year-old tech advisor Jake Brewer
We are so sad to share the news that the nation is mourning the loss of a young and prominent voice in the White House. White House technology adviser Jake Brewer was in a fatal accident on Saturday afternoon when, during a charity bicycle race in Maryland, his bicycle went out of control, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. Brewer was 34.
“I am heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of my advisors, Jake Brewer,” President Obama said in a statement. “We set out to recruit the best of the best to join their government and help us harness the power of technology and data to innovate new solutions for the 21st century. Simply put, Jake was one of the best.”
Brewer only joined the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as a senior policy adviser to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith three months ago. Already, he had made huge waves.
“A small sample of Jake’s work in just the past two weeks included: leading our participation in an event in the Bronx to help underprivileged young people learn to code; working with our colleagues to accelerate the President’s TechHire Initiative; and bringing together leaders from industry and government to use data to connect those with key skills to job opportunities,” Smith wrote on the White House blog in a post commemorating Brewer on Sunday.
On top of his political and technological prowess, Brewer was a competitive triathlete who used his athletic talent to ride in the DC-based charity event on Saturday so he could raise money to fight cancer. The two-day event spanned 150 miles and raised money for various local hospitals. “[Brewer] lived life large and tended to live life for other people,” his mother, Lori Brewer Collins, told the Washington Post.
Previously, Brewer worked as the director of external affairs at Change.org. “Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them,” President Obama said in the statement. “He worked to give citizens a louder voice in our society. He engaged our striving immigrants. He pushed for more transparency in our democracy. And he sought to expand opportunity for all.”
Brewer leaves behind his wife — Mary Katharine Ham, journalist and editor-at-large at Hot Air — his daughter, two-year-old Georgia, and a baby on the way. Brewer, who was a Democrat, married someone on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of political beliefs. “I always joked that he was the West Wing to my House of Cards,” Ham told the Washington Post. “Never cynical. And this is not relegated only to politics. He could connect with almost anyone. Because he cared about people. . . Clearly I’m on the right and he was on the left. He was such a transcendence of all these lines . . . that was his mission, he was dedicated to communicating across those lines with everyone.”
“I’ve often said that today’s younger generation is smarter, more determined, and more capable of making a difference than I was as a young man,” President Obama said in the statement. “Jake was proof of that. Michelle and I are praying for all of Jake’s family and his many friends, most of all his wife, Mary Katharine Ham, their daughter, Georgia, and their growing family. They’ll always have a family here at the White House.”
Our thoughts are with Jake Brewer’s loved ones during this difficult time. What a tragic and incredible loss — one the nation will be feeling for a long time to come.
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