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Biden, Harris continue to build their team, name new members of White House Staff

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U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris continued to build their team on Thursday with the announcement of additional members of the White House staff for the Domestic Policy Council, Office of Domestic Climate Policy, The White House Council on Environmental Quality, National Economic Council, and the Presidential Personnel Office.

The appointments include the Deputy Directors of the Domestic Policy Council, including Healthcare & Veterans Affairs, Racial Justice & Equity, Immigration, and Economic Mobility.

“Working closely with incoming Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan E. Rice, these impressive and qualified appointees underscore the president and vice President-elect’s commitment to elevating and strengthening the Domestic Policy Council to help our country build back better and deliver for American families,” the transition team said in a statement.

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It added: “Also announced today are key individuals who will join the White House climate team. These qualified, diverse and experienced appointees share the president and vice president-elect’s view that there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world than climate change. These skilled individuals will work closely with incoming White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and lead efforts to address the climate crisis, create good-paying union jobs, and advance environmental justice. From marshaling every part of our government, working directly with communities, and harnessing the forces of science these appointees will be instrumental in utilizing all the tools at the incoming Administration’s disposal to address climate change head on.”

The announcement includes senior officials within the National Economic Council with deep expertise on tax policy, place-based solutions for developing communities, inclusive economic development, and competitiveness.

“These individuals will work closely with incoming NEC Director Brian Deese on the Administration’s efforts to advance racial equity, support working families, and drive forward inclusive economic development. Over the coming months, their work will be vital to NEC’s overall efforts to push forward on COVID-19 economic relief with a focus on those most impacted by the crisis,” the transition team said.

“All of the individuals announced today will play key policy roles across the White House and coordinate with federal agencies across the administration to execute the president and vice president-elect’s bold vision for this country and bring about innovative solutions to the challenges facing the American people. These experienced and tested appointees represent the best of public service and further demonstrate the President and Vice President-elect’s pledge to put together a diverse team that looks like America and poised to hit the ground running on day one,” the transition team added.

Reactions:

President-elect Joe Biden: “Delivering results to Americans grappling with the many challenges facing our country will require an experienced, innovative, and principled White House team. The policy leaders announced today are accomplished public servants who are ready to build back better for this country immediately. They will be critical to ensuring that our policy agenda is effective in bringing change for the American people.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: “These appointees are experienced public servants who share a fundamental commitment to containing this pandemic, creating an economy that works for working people, and rebuilding our nation in a way that lifts up all Americans. They are innovative thinkers and principled leaders, and I look forward to working with them to ensure that every American has a fair shot at pursuing their dreams.”

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain: “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris share a bold agenda to build our nation back better than before for working families. These individuals join an impressive group of White House staff and advisors focused on using public policy to ensure every American gets a fair shot.”

Read the biographies of all the appointees

Domestic Policy Council

Stefanie Feldman, Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the Director of the Domestic Policy Council

Stefanie Feldman has worked for President-elect Biden for most of the past decade, most recently serving as the national Policy Director for the Biden-Harris Campaign. She previously worked as the inaugural Policy Director for the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden School of Public Policy & Administration. Prior to her role at the University, she served at the White House for five years, ultimately serving as Vice President Biden’s Deputy Director for Domestic and Economic Policy. Originally from Georgia, she holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.

Catherine Lhamon, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity

Catherine Lhamon chairs the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to which President Obama appointed her in 2016. Until December 2020, Lhamon served as Legal Affairs Secretary to California Governor Gavin Newsom. Before then, Lhamon was Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, to which President Obama nominated her and the Senate confirmed her in 2013. Lhamon has also litigated civil rights cases at National Center for Youth Law, Public Counsel Law Center, and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. Lhamon taught federal civil rights appeals at Georgetown University Law Center in the Appellate Litigation Program and clerked for the Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Born in Virginia and raised in California, Lhamon graduated from Amherst College and Yale Law School. Lhamon lives in California with her husband and two daughters.

Carmel Martin, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Economic Mobility

Carmel Martin was a senior policy advisor for the Biden for President campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, she was the National Policy Director for Beto for America. Martin served as the assistant secretary for policy and budget at the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama-Biden Administration. Martin was a founding employee and, after her service in the Obama-Biden Administration, she was the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. Prior to her appointment by President Obama, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the United States Senate under the leadership of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. She also served as chief counsel and senior policy advisor to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman and special counsel to former Sen. Tom Daschle. Early in Martin’s career, she worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a member of Hogan and Hartson’s (now Hogan Lovells) education practice. She graduated with a J.D. and master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas. After graduate school, Martin was a law clerk to Thomas M. Reavley, judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Tyler Moran, Special Assistant to the President for Immigration for the Domestic Policy Council

Tyler Moran most recently served as Executive Director of the Immigration Hub, a project of the Emerson Collective. Tyler previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and in the Domestic Policy Council in the Obama-Biden White House. While at DPC, Moran worked on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the President’s 2013 immigration reform bill. Prior to working in government, Tyler worked for the National Immigration Law Center, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and taught high school at the Tilton School. Moran is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education and currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two sons.

Esther Olavarria, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Immigration

Esther Olavarria serves as a member of the Biden-Harris Department of Homeland Security Agency Review Team. Prior to this role, she served in the Obama-Biden Administration in several senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Previously, she spent many years on the Senate Judiciary Committee serving as Senator Edward Kennedy’s immigration counsel. Olavarria has also worked at the Immigration Hub, the Center for American Progress and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and at various non-profit legal service organizations. Born in Cuba, Olavarria is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law. She currently lives with her family in Miami.

Christen Linke Young, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Health and Veterans Affairs

Christen Linke Young serves as a health policy advisor for the Biden-Harris Transition. She was a fellow at the Brookings Institution, where her research focused on access to health insurance at the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. Previously, Young was the Deputy Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. During the Obama-Biden administration, she served at the Department of Health and Human Services as the Principal Deputy Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which oversees private health insurance. She also served at the White House Domestic Policy Council, the HHS Office of Health Reform, and the CDC. Originally from Ohio, Young is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School and resides in Washington, DC with her husband and 2-year-old daughter.

Office of Domestic Climate Policy

Sonia Aggarwal, Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation

Sonia Aggarwal was a co-founder and the vice president of Energy Innovation. While at Energy Innovation, she acted as founding executive director of the Climate Imperative project; led America’s Power Plan, bringing together 200 electricity policy experts; and directed the team that developed the Energy Policy Simulator to analyze the environmental, economic, and public health impacts of climate and energy policies. Prior, Aggarwal managed global research at ClimateWorks Foundation, where she worked on the McKinsey carbon abatement cost curves and led research for the American Energy Innovation Council. Born and raised in Ohio, Aggarwal graduated from Haverford College in astronomy and physics, and earned a masters at Stanford University in civil engineering

David Hayes, Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy

David Hayes is the Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center and an Adjunct Professor at the NYU School of Law. Hayes was Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior for Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He served as a policy advisor for the Biden-Harris Transition, and led the energy and environmental agency review teams for the Obama-Biden Transition. Hayes is a former Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the Stanford Law School; a former Fellow at Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy and Woods Institute for the Environment; and the former Chairman of the Board of the Environmental Law Institute. Born in New York, he is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Stanford Law School.

Maggie Thomas, Chief of Staff for the Office of Domestic Climate Policy

Maggie Thomas serves on the Biden-Harris Transition and served as a policy volunteer on the Biden-Harris Campaign. She was the Political Director at Evergreen Action, a non-profit working to advance a full government mobilization to defeat the climate crisis. In addition, Thomas served as Climate Policy Advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren and Deputy Climate Director to Governor Jay Inslee. Thomas also worked at NextGen America, working to increase youth voter turnout on college campuses across the country. Born in California, Thomas is a graduate of Trinity College and holds a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment.

Jahi Wise, Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Finance

Jahi Wise served as a policy volunteer on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Wise was Policy Director for the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC), an organization dedicated to accelerating investment in clean energy and climate infrastructure. Previously, Wise was a project finance associate in the Energy and Infrastructure Projects Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Before law school, Wise worked in economic development as a community organizer and AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington, DC. Born in Georgia and raised in Maryland, Wise is a graduate of Morehouse College, Yale School of Management, and Yale Law School. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife.

White House Council on Environmental Quality

Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Senior Director for Environmental Justice

Dr. Cecilia Martinez served as the lead for the Council of Environmental Quality Agency Review Team on the Biden-Harris Transition. She also served on the Climate Engagement Advisory Committee and the Transition Advisory Board. She is the co-founder and Executive Director at the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy (CEED). Her previous positions include Associate Research Professor at the University of Delaware.. She received her B.A. from Stanford University, an MPA from New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

National Economic Council

Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley, Special Assistant to the President for Budget and Tax Policy

Nadiya Beckwith-Stanley is a Policy Advisor on the Biden-Harris Transition. Before joining the Biden-Harris Transition, she was an Associate in the Tax group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates in Washington, DC. She also served as a clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Judge Ronald L. Buch of the United States Tax Court. She began her career in public policy advocating for low-income kids and families at the Children’s Alliance based in Seattle, Washington. Beckwith-Stanley is a graduate of Pomona College and New York University School of Law with a JD and LLM in Taxation.

Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director, National Economic Council

Sameera Fazili is the Economic Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to her role she was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta where she served as the Director of Engagement for Community and Economic Development. In the Obama-Biden Administration, Fazili served as a senior policy advisor on the White House’s National Economic Council and as a senior advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department in both Domestic Finance and International Affairs. Prior to that she was a clinical lecturer of law at Yale Law School. Originally from Buffalo, she now lives in Georgia with her husband and three children. Fazili is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvard College.

Presidential Personnel Office

Jeff Marootian, Special Assistant to the President for Climate and Science Agency Personnel

Jeff Marootian is the Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation and serves on the U.S. Department of Transportation Agency Review Team for the Biden- Harris Transition. Prior to joining Mayor Muriel Bowser’s cabinet in 2017, Marootian served in the Obama-Biden Administration and held roles at the United States Department of Transportation as the White House Liaison, Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Sustainability Officer. He was the Director of LGBTQ Outreach at the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 Obama-Biden re-election campaign. Originally from New Jersey, he is an alumnus of George Washington University in Washington, DC.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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