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Biden adds key campaign allies and Obama-Biden policy leaders to the transition team



Biden adds four co-chairs along with longtime confidante and former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman: Jeffrey Zients, Obama’s top economic advisor, tasked with rescuing the floundering HealthCare.gov website; Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, who considered Biden for the vice president nomination; Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, a top Biden deputy and national campaign co-chair; and Anita Dunn, a senior campaign advisor.
He’s also tapped a 15-member advisory board that includes a one-time Democratic presidential rival for 2020, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The panel also includes a former vice presidential candidate, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice; Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general under former President Barack Obama, who advised Biden̵
7;s campaign policy and tactics amid the coronavirus pandemic; and Sally Yates, the former assistant attorney general.
The steps come when Biden’s transition team – if Biden defeats President Donald Trump in the fall – lays the groundwork for government appointments and actions nearly five months away, amid rapidly evolving health and economic crises and a national reckoning of racial injustice.

“There is no precedent for the challenges. It’s 1918, 1932 and 1968 together, so seriously preparing for victory is just the right approach,” said David Marchick, who has worked with transition teams for the president on both parties Director of the Center for the President’s Transition in Non-Profit Public Service Partnership

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He added that “this will be the first virtual transition in United States history”.

Biden’s transition team this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Trump’s General Services Administration, a legally mandated document that formalizes how the federal government will support Biden’s team ahead of the election and, if it wins, after the election.

The work of the transition teams increases at the end of the political parties’ conventions when they are given access to government infrastructure support and can request security clearances.

“We are preparing for this transition amid a global health crisis and difficult economic climate. This is a transition like no other and the team that is being assembled will help Joe Biden meet the pressing challenges our country faces on the first day, “Kaufman said in a statement. “The Co-Chairs, Advisory Board, and Senior Executives are a diverse group of experts committed to helping a potential Biden-Harris administration overcome the public health crisis and get Americans back into high-paying jobs bring. ”

Other advisory board members include Tony Allen, president of the historic Black Delaware State University; Veteran Biden economic advisor Jared Bernstein; former Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell; former US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein; Environmentalist Cecilia Martinez; former Veterans Secretary Bob McDonald; Veteran Democratic agent Minyon Moore; Labor leader Teresa Romero of the United Farm Workers and Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Cathy Russell, a former Jill Biden chief of staff who Obama has appointed to a new role: Ambassador for Global Women; and Felicia Wong, President of the Roosevelt Institute.

Biden’s transition team is also expanding its daily staff, led by Yohannes Abraham.

Cynthia Hogan, a longtime Biden consultant and former Apple lobbyist who helped find his vice president, is part of a group of eight new senior executives added to those employees. Other additions include Cecilia Muñoz, head of the Obama White House Home Affairs Council; as well as Democratic political and political veterans Tanya Bradsher, Suzy George, Don Graves, Jessica Hertz, Tara McGuinness, and Darla Pomeroy. Graves and Pomeroy are also former Biden employees.

The presence of long-time Biden allies like Kaufman and Hogan, as well as veteran Democratic politicians like Zients, Rice, Murthy and Muñoz could help Biden’s transition team develop plans that will persist if Biden defeats Trump.

In 2016, Trump’s transition team faced turmoil almost immediately after the election when former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who led the effort, was dropped when Trump campaign advisors took over the effort .

Marchick said Biden was wise to pick Richmond and Dunn, who are deeply involved in his campaign, and others who advised his campaign.

“They learned from previous pain points in previous transitions and planned to address all of those pain points to avoid them in the future,” he said.


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