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Bob Hattoy, Clinton Aide and Voice on Gay Issues, Dies

Tuesday Mar 6, 2007
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Bob Hattoy, who drew nationwide attention with a speech about AIDS at the 1992 Democratic National Convention and then became a strong advocate for gay and lesbian issues in the Clinton Administration, died on Sunday in Sacramento. He was 56.

The cause was complications of AIDS, said Adrianna Shea, special assistant at the California Fish and Game Commission, where Hattoy was the newly appointed president.

Hattoy had just learned he had AIDS when he took the stage at the Democratic convention. "We are part of the American family," he said, addressing himself to then-president George H.W. Bush. "And, Mr. President, your family has AIDS, and we are dying, and you are doing nothing about it."

"I don’t want to die," he said. "But I don’t want to live in an America where the president sees me as the enemy. I can face dying because of a disease, but not because of politics."

His words riveted a nationwide audience. "Bob Hattoy gave people with AIDS and gays in America hope with that speech," said Michael Petrelis, a writer and activist.

At the White House, Hattoy was an associate director of personnel and also a link to a constituency that had never had a vocal advocate in the West Wing. Clinton also named him to the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS. He was appointed to the California Fish and Game Commission in 2002 and became its president last month.

Hattoy was born on November 1, 1950, in Providence, R.I, the son of a mechanical engineer and a school registrar. He leaves a brother and a sister.

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