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Mala Adiga Indian-American appointed as Jill Biden’s Policy Director

Mala Adiga Indian-American appointed as Jill Biden’s Policy Director

Saturday 21st November 2020

President-elect Joe Biden is adding four Obama-Biden administration veterans to his top ranks as he continues to build out his White House team.

Cathy Russell, who was Jill Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama administration, will serve as director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, evaluating applicants for administration roles. Louisa Terrell, who served as a legislative adviser to the president in the Obama administration and worked as deputy chief of staff for Biden in the Senate, will be the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Terrell has already been engaged in Capitol Hill outreach as part of Biden’s transition team.

Carlos Elizondo, who was social secretary for Jill Biden during the Obama administration, will reprise his role and serve as social secretary for the incoming first lady. And Mala Adaga will serve as her policy director. Her role hints at what Biden may focus on as the first lady — Adaga previously worked as a director for higher education and military families at the Biden Foundation, and also advised Jill Biden on policy during the Obama administration.

The announcements come just a few days after Biden unveiled his first major round of top White House staff, including the appointment of his current campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, to serve as deputy chief of staff, and campaign co-chair Rep. Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Late last week, he announced that longtime aide Ron Klain will serve as his chief of staff.

While the new hires give a sense of the White House that Biden is beginning to build, he has yet to appoint someone to fill the role of COVID coordinator, which Klain announced this week, or name individuals for key communications roles. His team has thousands of more staff-level roles to fill when it takes over the administration in January, and they’re currently reviewing applications and reaching out to potential candidates for key roles.

Biden has indicated he plans to make and announce some of his Cabinet picks around Thanksgiving, and he said Thursday he’s already made his decision for Treasury Secretary.

In a statement, Joe Biden lauded the "dedication" of additional members of his team and said the new addition will serve the American people and help build back better, creating a more just, equitable, and united nation.

"I'm proud to name additional members of our team who will help deliver the change America needs in these difficult times. Their dedication to overcoming the challenges facing our country today is rooted in their diverse backgrounds and experiences. They will serve the American people and help build back better, creating a more just, equitable, and united nation," said President-elect Biden\

Ms. Adiga, who comes from Illinois, is a graduate of Grinnell College, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the University of Chicago Law School.

A lawyer by training, she had been a clerk for a federal and had worked for a Chicago law firm before joining the campaign of former President Barack Obama in 2008.

Announcing the names of four new members of his White House senior staff, Joe Biden made the announcement of Ms. Adiga’s appointment.

 

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