As Biden Names his Cabinet and Top Senior Officials, New England Faces Stand Out
President-Elect Biden is set to take office next week, on January 20th. As that date fast approaches, the transition team has finished naming the Biden-Harris administration’s cabinet nominees and has announced most other senior officials who will be working in the White House. Among this list are several New Englanders, ensuring that the region will be well-represented in the incoming administration. Below is a list of prominent New Englanders nominated to serve in Biden’s Cabinet and White House.
John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate:
One of the most prominent politicians in Massachusetts’ history, Kerry served as Senator from 1985 to 2013, when he was nominated and confirmed as President Obama’s second Secretary of State. Prior to his time in the Senate, Kerry served as Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor and received the Democratic nomination for President in 2004. Growing up, Kerry’s father was stationed in Massachusetts with the military. He moved there with his family and Kerry attended schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Now part of the Biden administration, Kerry will be the first to serve in a newly created position: Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Kerry will address climate policy at home and work with leaders abroad to reestablish the United States’ role fighting climate change in the international community.
Gina McCarthy, White House Climate Czar:
McCarthy, best known for her tenure as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017, was born in Boston and raised in Dorchester, MA. She attended college at the University of Massachusetts Boston and received her Master’s degree from Tufts University. Before working in the federal government, McCarthy served as an environmental adviser to five Massachusetts governors. She will now serve as White House Climate Czar, coordinating the administration’s climate policy.
Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of Labor:
Walsh has served as Mayor of Boston since 2014, before which he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1997. He was born and raised in Dorchester and attended Boston College for his bachelor’s degree. Walsh has a history in the labor movement. He joined the Laborers’ Union Local 223 when he was just 21 years old and went on to serve as the Union President. Later he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Boston Metropolitan District Buildings Trade Council. Taking leadership of the federal Department of Labor, Walsh will aim to bolster workers’ rights after four years of the Trump administration rolling back legal protections.
Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce:
Raimondo has served as Governor of Rhode Island since 2015. A Rhode Island native, she grew up in the state before attending Harvard University for her bachelor’s degree, after which she attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School. In 2000, Raimondo founded Point Judith Capital in Rhode Island, a venture capital firm. In 2010 she was elected General Treasurer of Rhode Island, five years prior to her election as Governor. She will now lead the Department of Commerce.
Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Deputy Chief of Staff:
O’Malley Dillon rose to prominence after working as President-Elect Biden’s Campaign Manager in 2020. She is the first woman to serve as Campaign Manager of a winning Democratic presidential candidate. O’Malley Dillon was born in Boston and grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts. She attended Tufts University. Prior to her work on the Biden Campaign, O’Malley Dillon has had a storied career in campaign politics, including as Chair of the DNC’s 2016 Unity Reform Commission, Deputy Campaign Manager of President Obama’s 2012 campaign, and as his 2008 campaign’s battleground states director.
Neera Tandem, Director of the Office of Management and Budget:
Tanden was born in Bedford, Massachusetts to immigrant parents from India. She is most well known for her leadership at the Center for American Progress, a prominent liberal think tank, where she works as President and CEO. Previously, she has served in the Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama, where she was one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act.
Jennifer Psaki, White House Press Secretary:
Psaki, who served as White House Communications Director under President Obama, will return to the West Wing as Press Secretary. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, she grew up in the state before attending the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Besides her previous White House role, Psaki has worked as spokesperson for the Department of State, as Managing Director of public relations firm Global Strategies Group, and as a CNN political commentator.
Brian Deese, White House Economic Adviser:
Deese will return to the National Economic Council as Director. He previously served on the Council as Deputy Director under President Obama. He was born in Belmont, Massachusetts and stayed in New England for his higher education, attending Middlebury College and the Yale School of Law. Outside of his White House experience, Deese has worked at the Center for American Progress, Hillary Clinton and Obama’s 2008 presidential campaigns, and investment firm BlackRock as Global Head of Sustainable Investing.
Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education:
Cardona was born in Meriden, Connecticut and has spent his entire career in the state, first working as a fourth-grade teacher at the Israel Putnam Elementary School. At age 27 he became the youngest principal in the state’s history, when he took the job at the Hanover School in his hometown. Cardona was appointed Connecticut Commissioner of Education in 2019.