Fills out Staff with Women of Color; Black Men Nominated for Key Posts
by Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
It isn’t often a politician running for office keeps his campaign promise.
Since defeating Donald Trump, Joe Biden has so far lived up to his promise of a diverse senior staff and cabinet.
The Democrat, who openly has recognized the critical role African Americans and women played in helping him to garner a record of more than 80 million votes, on Monday, November 30, 2020, named an-all women senior communications staff – including three Black women.
On Monday, Darrell Blocker appeared on his way to being nominated by Biden as the nation’s first African American CIA director.
“I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden said in a statement.
Symone Sanders, an African American and a senior Biden campaign adviser will serve as a senior adviser and chief spokesperson for the vice president.
Ashley Etienne, an African American and senior adviser on the Biden campaign, will serve as communications director for Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris.
Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior adviser on the Biden campaign who later served as chief of staff to Harris and who is also Black, will serve as principal deputy press secretary.
Former Barack Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki will serve as press secretary, while Kate Bedingfield, who served as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the campaign, will be White House communications director.
Pili Tobar, who served as the communications director for coalitions on the campaign, will serve as deputy White House communications director.
Additionally, Biden was said to learn toward a nomination of Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo to serve as Deputy Treasury Secretary.
If confirmed, Adeyemo, the current president of the Obama Foundation in Chicago, would be the first Black person to hold that powerful position.
The Biden/Harris team has also selected Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers.
This appointment would make Rouse the first woman of color to chair the council.
In what could be another historic nomination, many believe that Biden is set to name Darrell Blocker the first African American CIA director.
Blocker has spent about 30 years at the CIA, so experience isn’t a question. He started as an analyst with the Air Force before joining the CIA, taking on various undercover assignments.
“My clandestine activities were enhanced by being viewed as a singer, because who would ever think that one could be both?’ Blocker told ABC News in a 2019 interview.
“That is a leap too far for most, and I honestly feel that it kept me safer by being in plain sight.”
Biden and Harris also announced they are forming a Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) to organize activities surrounding their swearing-in on January 20, 2021, announcing the initial senior leadership team who will lead PIC and unveiling its online presence.
The selections, which include two African Americans, and all individuals of color include:
Tony Allen, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
The President of Delaware State University (DSU), one of the nation’s premiere public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Before being appointed President, Dr. Allen served as Executive Vice President and Provost at DSU and previously led Bank of America’s corporate reputation group.
He is also the Founding President of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and co-Founder of Public Allies Delaware. In the 90’s, Allen worked in then-Senator Biden’s office as a Special Assistant and Speechwriter.
Maju Varghese, Executive Director
Chief Operating Officer and Senior Advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign from the primaries through the general, overseeing the campaign’s day-to-day operations and leading the entire campaign through an unprecedented shift to remote working.
Varghese previously served in the Obama White House in various roles, including Assistant to the President for Management and Administration and Deputy Director of Advance.
He has also worked as the Chief Operating Officer at The Hub Project and a Senior Advisor at the law firm Dentons.
Erin Wilson, Deputy Executive Director
Wilson served as the Biden-Harris campaign’s National Political Director throughout the primary and general elections, the senior staff member responsible for relationships with hundreds of elected officials and leaders across the country.
Previously, Wilson was a senior aide in Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey’s office, most recently serving as his State Director and Senior Advisor to his 2018 reelection. She is also a Hillary for America and Democratic National Committee alumna.