Diversity and tolerance returns to the White House

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Biden-Harris Transition Team
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

The inclusiveness of Biden’s selections didn’t stop with his second-in-command

Kamala Harris is seen here on the right with Joe Biden
Kamala Harris is seen here on the right with Joe Biden in Delaware after the VP pick

When former Vice President Joe Biden selected former California Attorney General Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 elections, it was a historic first. With the election victory, she became the first Black and Asian-American to ever hold an office that high in the United States.

The diversity and inclusiveness of Biden’s selections didn’t stop with his second-in-command. The incoming cabinet is a balanced mix of men and women, including former Presidential candidate John Kerry, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, and former South Bend mayor and Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay mayor of a major city.

There is a long list of appointees for the new administration:

Chief of Staff, Ron Klain: longtime aide to Biden who had been with the President during the Obama administration, the Senate, and past campaigns.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Jen O’Malley Dillon: joined Biden’s campaign in March after helping Beto O’Rourke with his campaign.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Bruce Reed: former President Bill Clinton’s chief domestic policy advisor, also worked with Biden during the Obama administration and was a senior advisor on his campaign.

Counselor to the President, Steve Ricchetti: Biden’s second chief of staff when he was Vice President, was also a deputy chief of staff to former President Clinton.

Counselor to the President, Jeff Zients: was a top economic official in the Obama White House.

National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan: was national security advisor to Biden during the Obama administration and deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Director, Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden: held a senior role at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration and worked on the Affordable Care Act.

Director, National Economic Council, Brian Deese: former deputy director of the National Economic Council, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget.

Director, Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice: served as ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 before becoming former President Barack Obama’s national security advisor.

Director, Office of Public Engagement, Cedric Richmond: a five-term Louisiana congressman and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Senior Advisor to the President, Mike Donilon: Biden’s chief strategist during his campaign where he led speech writing, advertising, and polling.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry: was Secretary of State under Obama and an architect of the Paris Climate Accord.

National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy: led the Environmental Protection Agency during former President Obama’s second term.

Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, Louisa Terrell: had worked on legislative affairs in the Obama White House, worked with Biden previously during his time as a Senator.

Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Julie Chavez Rodriguez: had worked as Biden’s campaign manager after being a national political director for Vice President Harris’s presidential bid.

Director, White House Office of Presidential Personnel, Cathy Russell: was a State Department ambassador on global women’s issues during the Obama administration.

Counsel to the President, Dana Remus: was the general counsel to Biden’s presidential campaign; also served as general counsel for the Obama Foundation.

Communications Director, Kate Bedingfield: served as communications director and deputy campaign manager during Biden’s campaign.

Deputy Communications Director, Pili Tobar: an out lesbian and immigration rights advocate as well as former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer.

Press Secretary, Jen Psaki: previously served in the Obama administration as communications director and as the spokesperson for the State Department.

Deputy Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre: an out lesbian, a former Obama White House staffer and a spokesperson for the group MoveOn. She is also the first Black person to serve as a chief of staff for a vice president.

White House Social Secretary, Carlos Elizondo: an openly gay man who served as Biden’s social secretary when he was Vice President.

Chief of Staff for the Vice President, Tina Flournoy: was chief of staff to former President Clinton.

Chief Spokesperson for the Vice President, Symone Sanders: was a senior advisor on the Biden campaign, previously was press secretary for Senator Bernie Sander’s 2016 presidential run.

Chief of Staff for the First Lady, Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon: served as ambassador to Uruguay as well as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere during the Obama administration.

Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen: served as the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018 and was chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors during the Clinton administration.

Chairperson, Council of Economic Advisors, Cecilia Rouse: a labor economist and dean of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai: chief trade counsel for the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo: governor of Rhode Island.

Chief of Small Business Administration, Isabel Guzman: was a senior official at the Small Business Administration during the Obama administration.

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken: was deputy secretary of state and deputy national security advisor during the Obama administration.

Secretary of Defense, Retired General Lloyd Austin: a retired Army four-star general who served in the military for 41 years.

Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas: served as deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security during Obama’s second term.

Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines: was Obama’s principal deputy national security advisor and deputy director of the CIA.

Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield: has more than 30 years of experience as a diplomat.

Attorney General, Merrick Garland: had been Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia in 2016, a nomination blocked by the Republicans.

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra: California’s Attorney General and a former congressman.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge: has served in the House of Representatives since 2008.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack: was Secretary of Agriculture during both of Obama’s terms.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough: served as Obama’s chief of staff from 2013 to 2017.

Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh: the mayor of Boston. His departure to Biden’s cabinet will make Kim Janey the first woman and person of color to be mayor of the New England city.

Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg: served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana from 2012-2020 as the first openly gay mayor of a major US city. His appointment makes him the first LGBTQ person in U.S. history to hold a permanent Cabinet role.

Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm: former governor of Michigan and one-term attorney general of the state.

Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland: one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress; will be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet role.

Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan: heads North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, focusing on coal ash and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, cleanups.

Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona: education commissioner of Connecticut since August 2019; a former teacher, he has served as an assistant superintendent.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo: served as senior international economic advisor in the Obama White House.

Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco: was Obama’s top advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism.

Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves: longtime advisor to Biden; oversaw the Small Business Lending Fund and State Small Business Credit Initiative under Obama.

Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta: was the active Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s civil rights division during the Obama administration.

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky: chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy: was Surgeon General during the Obama administration; he is a physician and research scientist who has advised Biden on COVID-19 issues.

Chairperson, Council on Environmental Quality, Brenda Mallory: was general counsel to the Council on Environmental Quality during the Obama administration.

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