Several NRIs to Hold Key Positions Under Biden- Harris Administration

Several NRIs to Hold Key Positions Under Biden- Harris Administration

US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Vedant Patel, a former communications aide to House of Representatives member Pramila Jayapal, as his assistant press secretary on Friday last week. Already, at least eight Indian Americans have snagged headline grabbing appointments in the incoming government: Dr. Vivek Murthy is US Surgeon General nominee, Atul Gawande and Celine Gounder are on the coronavirus task force, Neera Tanden is nominated for Office of Management and Budget lead, Mala Adiga has been chosen as policy director for First Lady Jill Biden.
Maju Varghese will be the executive director of their inauguration – the swearing-in ceremony and the festivities around it. Gautam Raghavan hasd been nominated to be the Deputy Director, Office of Presidential Personnel and Vinay Reddy will be the Director of Speechwriting for the President. President-elect Joe Biden named Bharat Ramamurti to be deputy director of the National Economic Council with an important role in carrying out his campaign promises of banking and consumer reforms. Tanden and Dr. Murthy will have to be confirmed in their positions by the Senate, unlike in the case of Patel and others.
Patel has held a string of communications positions in the Democratic Party domain, most recently as a regional communications director for the campaign of Biden and Kamala Harris, moving up from the Biden primary campaign where he headed up communications for Nevada and western states. He was born in India and grew up California, graduating from the University of California-Riverside.
Patel has also been the western regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee and communication director for Jayapal and Mike Honda, the California representative who lost to Ro Khanna. Patel’s nomination is a gesture to the left – Jayapal is a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Raghavan serves as Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the transition, Raghavan served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Previously, Raghavan served as an Advisor to the Biden Foundation, and as Vice President of Policy for the Gill Foundation, one of the oldest and largest private foundations dedicated to the cause of LGBTQ equality.
During the Obama-Biden Administration, Raghavan served in the White House as the liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American & Pacific Islander community, and in the White House Liaison Office for the U.S. Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. A first-generation immigrant, Gautam was born in India, raised in Seattle, and graduated from Stanford University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his husband and their daughter.
Vinay Reddy, Director of Speechwriting: Vinay Reddy serves as a speechwriter on the Biden-Harris Transition and served as Senior Advisor and Speechwriter for the Biden-Harris Campaign. He previously served as chief speechwriter to Vice President Biden in the second term of the Obama-Biden White House, after which, he worked as Vice President of Strategic Communications at the National Basketball Association. During the Obama-Biden Administration, he also served as senior speechwriter at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, deputy speechwriter for the Obama-Biden reelection campaign, and speechwriter for his home state Senator, Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Reddy grew up in Dayton, Ohio, the middle of three sons in an immigrant family and is a product of Ohio public schools from kindergarten to Miami University to The Ohio State University College of Law. He currently lives in New York with his wife and their two daughters.
Bharat Ramamurti will be responsible for financial reform and consumer protection on the council, which is the president’s influential advisory body on economic policy. Ramamurti is expected to help steer the Biden administration’s programs to implement several promises in his manifesto of reform, consumer protection and banking.
The latest to be added to the growing number of Indian Americans on the new administration is Aisha Shah. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced on December 28th members of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, among them an Indian-American, Aisha Shah.
Shah joins the Office of Digital Strategy as a ‘Partnerships Manager, a role she has played on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Shah currently serves as an Advancement Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution.
Prior to this role, Shah worked as an Assistant Manager on the Corporate Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, supporting the first-ever expansion of a presidential memorial. Shah also served as a Strategic Communications Specialist at Buoy, an integrated marketing firm that specializes in social impact communications, as well as Spitfire Strategies, where she enabled nonprofits to use pop culture as a tool for social change. Born in Kashmir and raised in Louisiana, Shah is a graduate of Davidson College.

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