President-elect Biden Announces Key Members of His Administration

WASHINGTON – Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced key members of his administration: Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture;
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative; and Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

This diverse and accomplished team will work around the clock to deliver
immediate relief to the American people — including working families,
veterans, farmers and producers, and everyone fighting for their place in
the middle class. And as our nation emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and
its aftermath, this team will bring the highest level of expertise and the
bold vision necessary to help all Americans seize new opportunities and
build back better.

President-elect Joe Biden said, “This dedicated and distinguished group of
public servants will bring the highest level of experience, compassion,
and integrity to bear, solving problems and expanding possibilities for
the American people in the face of steep challenges. The roles they will
take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and
crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s
lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the
day-to-day lives of Americans. This is the right team for this moment in
history, and I know that each of these leaders will hit the ground running
on day one to take on the interconnected crises families are facing

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “Over the past few weeks,
President-elect Biden and I have announced members of our administration who will help contain this pandemic, responsibly open our economy, and keep our nation safe and secure. The administration members we are announcing today will help us meet a range of other challenges — from helping make sure no American goes hungry to putting affordable housing within reach for all to caring for veterans and their families and advancing our ideals of opportunity and equality. These deeply experienced public servants reflect the best of our nation, and will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to rebuild our country in a way that lifts up all Americans.”

This diverse, tested slate includes some of the nation’s most accomplished
public servants:

* Secretary Tom Vilsack, a two-term Governor of Iowa and the Secretary of
Agriculture for all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, is
ready to get to work on day one. With an estimated one-in-six Americans
and a quarter of U.S. children facing a hunger crisis, farmers reeling,
and rural communities struggling to weather the pain and economic fallout
of the pandemic, Vilsack will bring the experience and bold thinking
needed to deliver immediate relief to farmers, ranchers, producers and
families all across the country. Vilsack is committed to ensuring the USDA
promotes true equity and inclusion in every mission it has. Confirmed by
the unanimous consent of the Senate in 2009, Secretary Vilsack oversaw
record-breaking investments in rural communities, secured vital
improvements to the nation’s school meal system, and led a successful
campaign to increase food safety standards.

* Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, a leading voice for working families who has represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District for the last twelve years,
is nominated to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A
former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and past Chair of the
Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Fudge is a longtime champion of affordable housing, urban revitalization, infrastructure investment, and
other reforms to enhance the safety, prosperity, and sustainability of
American communities. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead
HUD in more than 40 years and the second Black woman in history to lead
the Department.

* Denis McDonough, a lifelong public servant who has been engaged at the
highest level in shaping domestic and foreign policy, is nominated to
serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Through his service as White House
Chief of Staff, Deputy National Security Advisor, and Chief of Staff of
the National Security Council, McDonough helped lead the Obama-Biden
administration’s work on behalf of military families and veterans, and
earned the trust of the President-elect as a first-class manager with the
knowledge and vision to deliver results. McDonough knows the ins and outs
of government, and if confirmed, he will pull every lever to deliver
results for veterans and their families.

* Katherine Tai, a dedicated, deeply respected public servant and veteran
international trade expert who has spent her career working to level the
playing field for American workers and families, is nominated to serve as
United States Trade Representative. If confirmed, she would be the first
Asian American and first woman of color to serve in this position. Tai
serves as the chief lawyer on trade for the House Ways and Means Committee and previously served in the Office of the United States Trade
Representative as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement. Her deep
experience will allow the Biden-Harris administration to hit the ground
running on trade, and harness the power of our trading relationships to
help the U.S. dig out of the COVID-induced economic crisis and pursue the
President-elect’s vision of a pro-American worker trade strategy.

* Ambassador Susan Rice will serve as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. With years of experience working at senior levels in the executive branch, Rice knows government inside and out and will carry through the President-elect’s vision of a newly empowered Domestic Policy Council and turbocharge the effort to build back better. Rice is among our nation’s most senior and experienced government leaders with the skills to harness the power of the federal government to serve the American people. As a former member of the Cabinet, she also understands the challenges and opportunities of running an agency and has extensive experience working with other key members of the Biden-Harris White House team, including the heads of NSC and NEC.

The following White House announcements were made today:

Tom Vilsack is a former two-term governor of Iowa who served as Secretary
of Agriculture for all eight years of the Obama-Biden Administration.
Unanimously confirmed by the Senate to lead the USDA in 2009, he oversaw
record-breaking investments in rural communities, secured vital
improvements to the nation’s school meal system, and led a successful
campaign to increase food safety standards during his tenure. Vilsack also
served as Chair of the first-ever White House House Rural Council, where
he helped drive critical financing opportunities to rural businesses and

As the 40th Governor of Iowa, Vilsack led the charge on major
infrastructure investments, implementing a successful program that spurred
the creation of popular projects across the state. He worked across party
lines to help create the Grow Iowa Values Fund, an initiative to invest in
the state’s entrepreneurs and spark economic development.

Prior to his tenure as Governor, Vilsack served as Mayor of Mount
Pleasant, Iowa, and in the Iowa State Senate. Originally from Pittsburgh,
he received his bachelor of arts degree from Hamilton College and his JD
from Albany Law School.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has represented the 11th Congressional District of Ohio since 2008. As a fierce advocate for solutions to our nation’s
most pressing issues, Congresswoman Fudge currently serves on the
Committee on House Administration, House Committee on Agriculture, and
House Committee on Education and Labor.  She is the Chair of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and Chair of the Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and
Department Operations.

A member of several congressional caucuses, she is also a past Chair of
the Congressional Black Caucus. Congresswoman Fudge has served the people of Ohio for more than three decades, beginning with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. She was later elected as the first African American and first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

Congresswoman Fudge earned her bachelor’s degree in business from The Ohio State University and her JD from the Cleveland State University
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.  She is a Past National President of
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a member of its Greater Cleveland
Alumnae Chapter.

From February 2013 to January 2017, Denis McDonough served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama. In that role, he managed the White House staff, and worked across the Cabinet, to advance the
Obama-Biden agenda, confronted management issues facing the federal
government, and devised and enforced plans, performance and goals,
maintaining the Obama-Biden Administration’s reputation for effective,
ethical operation.

Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, from September 2010 until February
2013, McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading a multiagency team to address complex national security challenges, including crisis management and national security policy making. Prior to his eight-year tenure in the White House, McDonough served in senior leadership and policy-making positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee, and in the U.S. Senate, for the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and for Senator Ken Salazar (CO).

McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, went to college at St. John’s University (MN) and to graduate school at Georgetown

Katherine Tai is a dedicated, deeply respected public servant and veteran
international trade expert who has spent her career working to level the
playing field for American workers and families. Currently, Tai serves as
the chief lawyer on trade to the Chairman and Democratic Members of the
Committee on Ways and Means on matters of international trade as Chief
Trade Counsel. In this role, she has secured key victories for workers in
U.S. trade policy and has been praised by lawmakers and lawyers for her
work. Prior to the Committee, Tai served in the USTR’s Office of the
General Counsel, first as Associate General Counsel from 2007 to 2011 and
then as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement with responsibility for
the development and litigation of U.S. disputes against China at the World
Trade Organization (WTO).

Before joining USTR, Tai worked in the international trade departments in
various Washington, D.C. law firms. From 1996 to 1998, she lived and
worked in Guangzhou, China teaching English at Sun Yat-Sen University as a Yale-China Fellow. Tai was born in Connecticut — the first American-born
citizen in her family — and raised in the Washington, D.C. area.  She is a
graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.

Ambassador Susan E. Rice will serve as Domestic Policy Advisor and
Director of the Domestic Policy Council.  She will coordinate the
formulation and implementation of President-elect Biden’s domestic policy
agenda to build back better. Rice is among our nation’s most senior and
experienced government leaders, bringing unparalleled skill in harnessing
the power of the federal government to serve the American people. Rice
served as National Security Advisor from 2013-2017, where she directed and implemented the Obama-Biden Administration’s national security policy in all areas including: global health, climate policy, international trade, development and economic issues, relationships with allies, competition and cooperation with China and Russia, and managing U.S. foreign relations with all regions of the world. As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of the Cabinet from 2009-2013, Ambassador Rice won major concessions and sealed important agreements with America’s toughest adversaries and worked to advance U.S. interests and to promote global development, democracy and human rights.

Previously, Rice served President Bill Clinton as U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs, Special Assistant to the President and
Senior Director for African Affairs, and Director for International
Organizations and Peacekeeping at the National Security Council from
1993-2001. This year, she co-chaired DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Re-open DC
Advisory Commission during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is currently a
Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University and a
Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs at Harvard University. Ambassador Rice received her
master’s degree and Ph.D. in international relations from Oxford
University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and her B.A. with honors in
history from Stanford University.