Everything you need to know about Ron Klain, Biden’s new chief of staff

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On Wednesday, U.S. President elect Joe Biden named long-time aide Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff.

Klain played a leading role during the economic and public health crises of the Obama administration when Joe Biden was vice president.

With former White House Ebola coordinator Ron Klain and Senator Coons on Capitol Hill on February 27, 2015
With former White House Ebola coordinator Ron Klain and Senator Coons on Capitol Hill on February 27, 2015

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White House chief of staff is one of the most powerful jobs in Washington DC, as the person is the gatekeeper for the president, deciding who gets to speak with him and does not.

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Who is Ron Klain?

According to official biography released on Wednesday, Ron Klain served as the president-elect’s first Chief of Staff when he became Vice President (2009-11); Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the president-elect’s tenure as Chair of the Committee (1989-92); and Policy Advisor on the Judiciary Committee staff (1986-87). Klain also worked as an advisor on President-elect Biden’s 1988 and 2008 Presidential campaigns.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with staff in the Oval Office, April 21, 2010, prior the meeting with Congressional leadership on the pending Supreme Court nomination. Attending, from left, are Counsel to the President Bob Bauer, Deputy Counsel to the President Susan Davies, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to the Vice President Ron Klain, and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with staff in the Oval Office, April 21, 2010, prior the meeting with Congressional leadership on the pending Supreme Court nomination. Attending, from left, are Counsel to the President Bob Bauer, Deputy Counsel to the President Susan Davies, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to the Vice President Ron Klain, and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Klain has devoted many years to public service, serving as White House Ebola Response Coordinator (2014-15). At the conclusion of his work coordinating the US response, President Obama said that Klain had taken on “a challenge that many called insurmountable, and, in leading the team responsible for tremendous progress, helped remind the world what makes America exceptional.” Earlier, in addition to his work with then-Vice President Biden, Klain served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Al Gore, Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, and Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee. Klain was also Associate Counsel to President Clinton and in charge of judicial selection. Through his work on the Judiciary Committee, and in the Executive Branch, he has played a role in the selection or confirmation of eight Supreme Court Justices.

"The President talks with Ron Klain during debate preparations in Henderson, Nev. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., background, played the role of Gov. Mitt Romney during the prep sessions." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with Ron Klain during debate preparations in Henderson, Nev. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., background, played the role of Gov. Mitt Romney during the prep sessions.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Prior to joining the Biden for President campaign, Klain was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Revolution LLC. In 2005, prior to joining Revolution, Klain spent four years as a partner and National Practice Group Chair at O’Melveny & Myers. Klain began his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Byron White, for the Supreme Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms. He was also General Counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000.

Serving as an advisor on several Presidential campaigns, Klain has worked for Presidents Obama and Clinton, and Democratic Presidential nominees Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Ron Klain graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law School, was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and won the Sears Prize for highest grade average in 1985. He was a summa cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, where he serves an Adjunct Professor. Klain is married to Monica Medina and they have three grown children.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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