Setting a new record, US President Joe Biden has already named or nominated over 20 Indian Americans, 13 are women, for several key positions in the White House. For a community that constitutes one percent of the country’s population, this is a record number of people to be part of the presidential administration.
Nominated as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden tops the list.
The 50-year-old has been nominated as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, a department that oversees the president’s policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives. Currently, she heads the Centre for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank.
Dr Vivek Murthy
Indian American physician Dr Vivek Murthy will return to his role as the surgeon general. The 43-year-old was previously appointed by the Obama administration, and was asked to step down by the Trump administration. He co-chaired Biden’s coronavirus task force, which was formed in December 2020.
Nominated as the Associate Attorney General at the US Department of Justice, Vanita Gupta is a notable civil rights lawyer. She is presently the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and has dedicated her career to to protecting and advancing democracy and the civil rights of all Americans, especially immigrants and people of colour. She will also be the first woman of colour to serve as the US Associate Attorney General.
Uzra Zeya, who is an Indian-American diplomat, is nominated as the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. With familial roots tracing back to Kashmir, she presently heads the the Alliance for Peacebuilding and had quit her earlier post at the state department in protest against the Trump administration.
Biden’s long-time associate Vinay Reddy has been appointed as the Director of Speechwriting. Reddy was the senior advisor and speechwriter for the Biden-Harris campaign and was also the speechwriter on the Biden-Harris transition. In the second term of the Obama-Biden White House, he was the chief speechwriter to Vice President Biden.
A first generation immigrant, Gautam Raghavan has been appointed Deputy Director in the Office of Presidential Personnel. Raghavan served as the Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments on the Biden-Harris transition, and has long been associated with policy for the Gill Foundation, one of the oldest and largest private foundations dedicated to the cause of LGBTQ equality.
Bharat Ramamurti has been appointed the Deputy National Economic Council Director for Financial Reform and Consumer Protection. The National Economic Council coordinates the domestic and international economic policymaking process for the administration. Previously, he was a long-time aide to senator Elizabeth Warren, a former competitor to Biden for presidency.
Mala Adiga has been named the Policy Director to First Lady Dr Jill Biden. She was the former deputy assistant secretary of state, and has worked and served as a senior advisor to Jill Biden. Adiga was also the Director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation.
Garima Verma has been appointed the Digital Director of the Office of the First Lady Jill Biden. She was previously the audience development and content strategist on the Biden-Harris campaign, and has been volunteering with the content team, designing graphics for Biden-Harris volunteers across the country.
Appointed a key position in the National Security Council, Tarun Chhabra has been named the Senior Director for Technology and National Security under the Biden administration. He previously served as Director for Strategic Planning, Director for Human Rights and National Security Issues on the Council during the tenure of the Obama-Biden administration.
Sumona Guha has been appointed as Senior Director for South Asia at the National Security Council. She is presently serving as the Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group and was a co-chair at the South Asia foreign policy working group. Guha was also a member of the transition’s State Department Review Agency Team.
Shanthi Kalathil has been appointed the Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights at the National Security Council. Presently, she is the senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. The main focus of her work has been the emerging challenges to democracy.
Sonia Aggarwal has been nominated as the Adviser for Climate Policy and Innovation in the Office of the Domestic Climate Policy at the White House. She was the co-founder and vice president of Energy Innovation, which led America's Power Plan, and brought together 200 electricity policy experts. Aggarwal also led a team that developed the Energy Policy Simulator, which analyses the environmental, economic, and public health impacts of climate and energy policies.
Sabrina Singh has been named Vice President Kamala Harris’s Deputy Press Secretary. The 32-year-old was previously the press secretary for Harris’ vice-presidential campaign. She previously headed the press team for two of the Democratic presidential candidates earlier in the campaign, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.
The Partnerships Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy will be Kahmir-born Aisha Shah. She had previously served as a Digital Partnerships Manager on the Biden-Harris Campaign. At present, Shah serves as an Advancement Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution.
Sameera Fazili, who traces her roots back to Kahsmir, has been appointed the key position of Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council (NEC) in the White House. The NEC looks over the economic policy-making processes and provides relevant advice to the president. Fazili was also the Economic Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition.
US President Joe Biden has also named India-born Vedant Patel to the post of the White House Assistant Press Secretary. Patel was the senior spokesperson of the Biden inaugural, was part of the Biden Campaign where he served as Regional Communications Director and as the Nevada and Western Primary-States Communications Director.
Health policy expert Vidur Sharma has been appointed the Testing Adviser on Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Response Team. In the Obama administration, he was a health policy adviser on the Domestic Policy Council working on implementing Obamacare.
President-elect Joe Biden named Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. An ally of Sen Elizabeth Warren, Chopra is currently a member of the Federal Trade Commission and helped launch the agency in 2011, previously serving as its assistant director. He went on to become the assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led the agency's effort on student loans.
Neha Gupta, who was an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel for the Biden-Harris Transition has been chosen to serve as Associate Counsel.
Reema Shah has been appointed the Deputy Associate Counsel at the Office of White House Counsel. Prior to this, she was a member of the debate preparation team for the Biden-Harris Campaign and served as an associate at Latham & Watkins and a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General, at the Department of Justice.
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