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Biden, Harris name additional members of White House Staff

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U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris on Wednesday announced additional members of the White House staff. The announcement included individuals from the Office of the Chief of Staff, Office of Scheduling and Advance, and the Office of Management and Administration. 

Biden and Harris picked John McCarthy as Senior Advisor to the Counselor to the President; Zayn Siddique as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff; Thomas Winslow as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff; Lisa Kohnke as Director of Presidential Scheduling; Sarah Feldmann, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Management and Administration;Michael Leach, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Director; Christian Peele as Deputy Director of Management and Administration for Personnel and Jeffrey Wexler, Director of COVID-19 Operations.

In a statement, the Biden team described the new picks as a “diverse, qualified, and experienced appointees will play key roles across the White House in positions that will support day-to-day White House functions and facilitate broad engagement with the American people.”

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“This collection of talent demonstrates the president and vice president-elect’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America that is ready to hit the ground running for American families on day one,” the statement added.

Reactions:

President-elect Joe Biden: “To tackle the challenges facing our country and restore faith in government we must build an administration with experienced, principled, and dedicated appointees. These individuals are part of a White House staff that is ready to build back better immediately to make a difference in the lives of working families. They are accomplished public servants who will be instrumental in ensuring that our White House is efficient and effective in delivering for the American people.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: “These dedicated public servants reflect the very best of our nation. They have the knowledge and expertise to help us meet the unprecedented challenges facing the American people. And President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with them to contain this pandemic, provide more relief for families and businesses, and rebuild our country in a way that lifts up all Americans.”

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain: “Today’s skilled and experienced appointees bring a commitment to public service that will further enhance our historic White House team. Each appointee will help ensure efficiency and collaboration within the White House and throughout the administration as we work to build back better and improve the lives of all Americans.”

Read their extended biographies

Office of the Chief of Staff 

John McCarthy, Senior Advisor to the Counselor to the President

John McCarthy served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Biden-Harris Campaign throughout the primary and general election. In this role, he maintained relationships with elected officials and community leaders around the country. Immediately prior, McCarthy was the Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA). He has held a number of political positions including as Director of Faith and Heritage Community engagement at Hillary for America, National Co-Chair of Catholics for Obama-Biden in 2012, Vice-President of Irish American Democrats, and as the Co-Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s coordinating body for diaspora communities. He worked as a legislative aide to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ). Originally from New Jersey, McCarthy is a graduate of the Catholic University of America. 

Zayn Siddique, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff

Zayn Siddique is the Chief of Staff for the Domestic and Economic Team of the Biden-Harris Transition. He was also a member of Vice President-elect Harris’s prep team for the 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate. Previously, Siddique was the Deputy Policy Director for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign and a Senior Policy Advisor to his senate campaign. He has also served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Dean Pregerson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In between his clerkships, Siddique practiced law as an associate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Originally from Bangladesh and raised in New York, Siddique is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School. 

Thomas Winslow, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff

Thomas Winslow was Chief of Staff to the Campaign Manager on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to his role on the Biden-Harris Campaign, he served a similar role at Beto for America. Winslow spent a number of years at Precision Strategies, most recently as a Managing Principal on the Organizing and Campaign Management team. Originally from Connecticut, Winslow grew up in California. He is a graduate of American University.

Office of Scheduling & Advance

Lisa Kohnke, Director of Presidential Scheduling 

Lisa Kohnke is Director of Scheduling for President-elect Joe Biden on the Biden-Harris Transition and Director of Scheduling for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to these roles, Kohnke was Director of Global Affairs for two Mayors of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot. Kohnke has 23 years of scheduling and advance experience having worked as Director of Scheduling and Advance for former US Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and President Barack Obama in roles such as the Director of Scheduling and Advance on the President’s 2012 re-election campaign, Deputy Director of Special Events in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Deputy Director of Scheduling and Advance on his 2008 campaign and roles on both 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committees. Kohnke has also worked for former Vice President Al Gore, former Member of Congress Kendrick Meek, then-Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and AIPAC. Kohnke is from Chicago and is a graduate of Indiana University. 

Office of Management and Administration

Sarah Feldmann, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Management and Administration

Sarah Feldmann is Operations Director for the Domestic/Economic Agency Review team on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to the Transition, she was the Lead Partnerships Manager at Alloy. She served as Director of Operations and Special Projects for Hickenlooper 2020 and Giddy Up PAC and as Finance and Operations Manager for House Majority PAC. Feldmann was Campaign Manager for Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s history-making primary campaign. Prior to politics, she was an Associate at Next Street, an impact investing fellow at Invested Development, and a Consulting Associate at Cambridge Associates. With roots in New Jersey and Colorado, Feldmann is a graduate of Dartmouth College. She lives in Washington, DC with her rescue pup, Remy. 

Michael Leach, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Director

Michael Leach serves in Operations and HR for the Biden-Harris Transition team and will serve as the first-ever Chief Diversity & Inclusion Director for the White House. Previously, Leach served as the Chief People, Diversity, & Inclusion Officer on the Biden-Harris Campaign where he led the campaign’s strategic vision, planning, and implementation of staff diversity & inclusion efforts, talent acquisition, and leadership development. Prior to joining the Campaign, Leach worked as the Senior Manager of Labor Relations for the National Football League (NFL) Management Council, served in leadership on the NFL Diversity Council, Co-Chaired the NFL Black Engagement Network, and was the Administrative Lead for the NFL Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship Program. Prior to his work at the NFL, Leach served as the Assistant to Head Coach for the Chicago Bears. Originally from Chicago, Leach is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and St. Thomas University. 

Christian Peele, Deputy Director of Management and Administration for Personnel

Christian Peele is the deputy lead for operations on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to her role on the Transition, she founded a consulting practice supporting operations for social impact organizations. Peele was previously Director of Operations for Stop the Spread at ImpactAssets and also worked as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at the historic Riverside Church in New York. In the Obama-Biden administration, Christian was Director of the White House Internship Program, followed by Deputy Director for White House Operations. Originally from North Carolina, Christian is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and Mary Baldwin University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. 

Jeffrey Wexler, Director of COVID-19 Operations

Jeffrey Wexler worked on the COVID-19 Preparedness team on the Biden-Harris Campaign and served as the Director of COVID-19 Preparedness on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to his role on the campaign, he served as Senior Director of COVID-19 Preparedness and Senior Director of Hall Management for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Wexler served as Chief Operating Officer for the Global Climate Action Summit and Director of Operations & Advance at the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Obama-Biden administration. Originally from Colorado, Wexler holds a degree in International Relations from Connecticut College.

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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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