Biden to nominate 8 key administration leaders

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday announced his intent to nominate eight leaders to key administration posts.

Pamela Melroy will be nominated to serve as Deputy Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Sarah Bianchi – Deputy United States Trade Representative; Jayme White – Deputy United States Trade Representative; Robin Ashton – Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency; Robert Bonnie – Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Department of Agriculture; Gwen Graham – Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, Department of Education; Mara Karlin – Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, Department of Defense and Taryn Williams – Assistant Secretary of Disability and Employment Policy, Department of Labor.

Pamela Melroy, Nominee for Deputy Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Pam Melroy (Colonel, USAF, ret) is an aerospace executive with government and industry experience across civil, commercial, and national security space. She is a retired U.S. Air Force test pilot and former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle commander. Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with over 200 combat and combat support hours. She has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft. Melroy flew three missions in space: as Space Shuttle pilot during STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and as Space Shuttle Commander during STS-120 in 2007. One of only two women to command the Space Shuttle, she has logged more than 38 days in space.

After NASA, Melroy served as Deputy Program Manager for the Lockheed Martin Orion Space Exploration Initiatives program. She then returned to government, overseeing commercial space licensing activities at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA as Director of Field Operations and acting Deputy Associate Administrator. She subsequently served as Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where she directed a large advanced technology development portfolio. Melroy later was the Director of Space Technology and Policy for Nova Systems Pty, Australia and an advisor to the Australian Space Agency. She is an independent consultant and a member of the Users Advisory Group to the National Space Council.

Sarah Bianchi, Deputy United States Trade Representative

Sarah Bianchi has spent nearly a decade in government roles in economic and domestic policy including in the Office of the Vice President, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  In 2011, Ms. Bianchi was appointed by then Vice President Biden as his head of economic and domestic policy in the White House, where she ran the economic and domestic policy team in the Office of the Vice President and coordinated policy initiatives ranging from workforce competitiveness to manufacturing to budget negotiations. She also served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Bianchi has also served as a senior advisor to the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware, where she worked on a variety of economic policies and served as Chair of the Institute’s Policy Advisory Board.

Bianchi has served in a number of private sector roles as well. In 2019, she joined Evercore ISI in the macroeconomic research group where she leads the U.S. public policy research. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1995 and has served on the Senior Advisory Committee at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University since 2004. Bianchi and her husband live in Arlington, Virginia with their twelve-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son.

Jayme White, Deputy United States Trade Representative

Jayme White has spent two decades working to ensure American trade policy empowers American workers and promotes a sustainable environment. Mr. White grew up in Seattle, WA, where his family were union workers for Boeing. He went to Washington, DC to work for his hometown member of Congress in the House of Representatives, Representative Jim McDermott, who served on the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over international trade. Since then, he has played a role in nearly every major trade issue and trade legislation, over the last 20 years.

Mr. White has served in the U.S. Senate since 2009, including as the chief trade advisor for the Senate Committee on Finance since 2014, under the leadership of Chairman Ron Wyden. During this tenure, White led efforts to level the playing field for American workers, through trade negotiations and agreements, and by reforming US trade laws to better respond to unfair foreign trade practices. In his role on the Finance Committee, he has long represented and advanced bipartisan US views to foreign trade leaders, and the outcomes of those efforts are evident in many trade agreements. Key provisions — especially enforceable measures on labor and the environment — found in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are a result of his efforts.

Robin Ashton, Nominee for Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency

Robin Ashton has spent nearly 35 years in public service. She recently served as the Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG), where she oversaw audits, inspections, and investigations related to the ICIG’s mission to promote economy and effectiveness in the administration of the activities within the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. Before joining the ICIG, Ms. Ashton worked for over 30 years in many capacities with the Department of Justice (DOJ), including as the Director of DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which under her leadership successfully investigated allegations of misconduct involving DOJ attorneys and law enforcement personnel. 

Ms. Ashton spent nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she handled complex appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, prosecuted numerous jury trials, supervised hundreds of grand jury investigations, and investigated police misconduct, public corruption, and national security cases. She also served as the Executive AUSA for Management, responsible for the overall operation of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the nation, managing the administrative, personnel, and budget staffs in an office consisting of more than 700 employees. Ms. Ashton also spent four years as the Principal Deputy Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the DOJ component responsible for providing executive and administrative support to the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide, and over 10,000 employees, including over 5,000 Assistant United States Attorneys. During her DOJ career, Ms. Ashton was awarded the Attorney General’s Claudia Flynn Award for Professional Responsibility, the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Management, the United States Attorney’s Award for Meritorious Service, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys Director’s Award for Excellence in Management, among other awards.

Ms. Ashton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, and her Juris Doctor degree from the College of William and Mary. She grew up in Michigan, and now resides in Maryland with her husband, Dr. Yves Rosenberg. They are the proud parents of a daughter and son.  

Robert Bonnie, Nominee for Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Department of Agriculture

Robert Bonnie is the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Climate Advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prior to joining USDA, Bonnie was at Duke University, first as a Rubenstein Fellow and later as an Executive in Residence at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions working on conservation and environmental issues in rural America. In 2020, Bonnie also worked with the Bipartisan Policy Center on its Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Initiative. Prior to joining Duke, during the second term of the Obama Administration, Bonnie was the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at USDA. In this role, he oversaw the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on a variety of natural resource issues, including management of the 193 million-acre National Forest and Grassland System, implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs on America’s farms, ranches and forests, and climate change.

During President Obama’s first term, Bonnie served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for environment and climate change. Prior to joining USDA, Bonnie was vice president for land conservation for the Environmental Defense Fund where he focused on developing incentives to reward farmers, ranchers and forest owners for stewardship activities on private lands. At EDF, Bonnie helped develop the Safe Harbor program and other incentive-based approaches to endangered species conservation. Bonnie has master degrees in forestry and environmental management from Duke University. He grew up on a farm in Kentucky and now lives in Virginia.

Gwen Graham, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, Department of Education

Gwen Graham, who honed her commitment to public service as a leader in Florida’s local public schools, is a respected former Member of Congress with a reputation for fairness, compassion, and problem-solving. Graham served as the Congressional representative from Florida’s 2nd District during the 114th Congress and was known as one of the House’s most bipartisan members. She is an attorney and, prior to her service in Congress, focused her practice on public education as Chief of Labor and Employee Relations for the Leon County School District. She was involved in every aspect of the educational process and was recognized for her integrity and fairness. The Florida Education Association and the Leon Classroom Teachers Association were the first organizations to endorse her Congressional candidacy. She also served as a board member of the statewide Florida Educational Negotiators. Graham is a proud product of public K-12 education as are her children, and she served as PTA President and School Advisory Council Chair while they were young. She has worked on a number of presidential campaigns, and in 2004 served as John Kerry’s surrogate coordinator in Florida. She currently serves as a board director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida, the Florida State Parks Foundation, Ruth’s List, and as Vice Chair of the City of Tallahassee Independent Ethics Boards.

Mara Karlin, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, Department of Defense

Mara E. Karlin, PhD, is currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In that role, she advises the Secretary of Defense on defense policies relating to the Middle East, Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, Eurasia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. Prior to taking on this role, she served on the policy team for the Biden-Harris Transition. Karlin was Director of Strategic Studies and an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Previously, she served in national security roles for five U.S. secretaries of defense, advising on policies spanning strategic planning, defense policy and budgeting, future conflicts, and regional security affairs. She started her government career as a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and has received the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award. She is the author of two books on defense policy and military history.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Karlin holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.

Taryn Williams, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor

Taryn Mackenzie Williams is the managing director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress, which works on progressive policies focused on a broad range of anti-poverty strategies. Before joining American Progress, Williams worked at the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor. At ODEP, she worked on a variety of issues related to education, workforce policy, Social Security, Medicaid, and civil rights. In her most recent role as director of youth policy, Williams led agency efforts to coordinate education and employment policy in support of improved labor force outcomes for disabled youth. From 2014 through 2016, Williams served as ODEP’s chief of staff. She also served on detail assignments as associate director for public engagement and liaison to the disability community at the White House from 2014 through 2015 and as a policy adviser on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions from 2012 through 2013.

Prior to joining the federal government, Williams worked as the research coordinator for leadership programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership and as the director of programs at the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues headquartered in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Brown University and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. She resides in Washington, DC.

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