Joe Biden certified as next US president

Joe Biden’s cabinet picks: Who is nominated?

President-elect has filled out the nominees for his administration

James Crump@thejamescrump
Friday 22 January 2021 12:55

Joe Biden has formally nominated the members of his cabinet, as he prepares to take office in the White House on 20 January.

Mr Biden’s team vetted potential candidates for cabinet positions after he was announced as the winner of 3 November’s election, despite Donald Trump repeatedly refusing to concede and initially blocking the transition process.

Mr Trump seemed to soften his stance in late November, as he accepted that a formal transition for Mr Biden to take office should begin, though still has not accepted defeat.

After the General Services Administration acknowledged Mr Biden as the “apparent winner” of the presidential election in late November, Mr Trump said that the agency must “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols”.

Read more: Inauguration day schedule 

Vice-president elect Kamala Harris, Mr Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain and his deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon were previously announced as part of the president-elect’s team, before he revealed more nominations in late November and December. He filled out the final positions in January.

A number of Mr Biden’s first picks for his national security and foreign policy teams have worked with him before, while the hires are more diverse than any previous US cabinet.

Here are Mr Biden’s picks for his cabinet.

Follow Inauguration Day 2021 – live: Bidens attends Mass with McConnell as JLo and Bush family among first arrivals

Antony Blinken, secretary of state

Antony Blinken was announced as Mr Biden’s pick for secretary of state on Monday 23 November, to replace Mike Pompeo in Mr Trump’s administration.

Mr Blinken was born in New York City. He went on to study at Harvard University and earned a law degree from Columbia Law School.

Between 1994 and 2001 he served on the National Security Council at the White House and then worked as staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He joined Mr Biden’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, before he was selected by Barack Obama as his running mate.

The longtime diplomat was part of the Obama transition team in 2008.  He worked directly with Mr Biden when he was vice president, serving as national security adviser from 2009 to 2013.

Mr Blinken then served as deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017 during president Obama’s second term.

He reunited with Mr Biden to work as a foreign policy adviser for his 2020 campaign and has publicly spoken about the president-elect’s plans in regards to foreign policy.

In October, he said that the Biden administration will “undertake a strategic review” of America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, and confirmed that it will “will continue non-nuclear” sanctions against Iran.

He previously called Brexit a “total mess” and compared the decision to the far-right French politician Marine Le Pen.

However, Mr Blinken has praised the Trump administration’s normalisation agreement between Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Mr Obama described Mr Blinken as “outstanding. Smart, gracious, a skilled diplomat, well-regarded around the world”.

John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate

John Kerry was announced as Mr Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate on 23 November, becoming only the second person appointed to the role.

Mr Kerry, former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee, retired from government service in 2017 when Mr Trump was inaugurated as president.

The longtime public official served as a Massachusetts senator from 1985 to 2013. He then served as secretary of state for four more years under Mr Obama.

While in the role, he played an important part in the creation of the Paris climate agreement, which commits countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Trump then withdrew the US from the agreement but Mr Biden has promised to immediately rejoin it. 

Mr Kerry was part of the climate taskforce during Mr Biden’s presidential campaign. The president-elect’s transition team said that his appointment shows that Mr Biden sees climate change as an “urgent national security issue”.

Mr Kerry tweeted: “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”

He does not need to be confirmed by the Senate for his role.

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Mr Biden announced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday, 23 November.

Mr Mayorkas, was born in Havana, Cuba, and if confirmed will become the first immigrant to hold the position and the first Latino person in the role.

He moved to Miami, Florida with his parents in the 1960s after his family fled Cuba as refugees, before then settling in California a few years later.

After working as a US attorney in the Central District of California, he joined the Obama administration in 2009 as the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The agency is in charge of applications for green cards, naturalisation ceremonies and work permits, according to CBS News.

He was then nominated by president Obama to be the deputy DHS secretary in 2013, which made him the highest ranking Cuban-American in the US government.

After Mr Obama’s presidency ended, Mr Mayorkas worked for the international law firm WilmerHale.

Following the announcement on Monday, Mr Mayorkas wrote: “When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge.

“Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones.”

Avril Haines, director of National Intelligence

On 23 November, Mr Biden nominated Avril Haines to serve as the director of National Intelligence.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms Haines will become the first woman to serve in the role.

Ms Haines was born in New York City, and studied at the University of Chicago before gaining her law degree from Georgetown University.

She first worked with Mr Biden between 2007 and 2008, as the deputy chief counsel for the Majority Senate Democrats, while the president-elect served as the chairman.

Under the Obama administration, Ms Haines worked as both the White House deputy national security adviser and deputy director of the CIA. She was the first woman to hold both titles.

Ms Haines also serves on the boards of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Refugees International, and previously worked as a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

In the position as the director of National Intelligence, Ms Haines will oversee the National Intelligence Programme, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. She will also serve as an adviser to the president.

Speaking to NPR about Ms Haines’ appointment, former CIA director John Brennan said that she is “widely respected among intelligence professionals, and her superior intellect, humility and legendary work ethic are deeply admired by the thousands of intelligence officers with whom she worked during the Obama Administration.”

Jake Sullivan, national security adviser

Mr Biden announced Jake Sullivan’s nomination as his national security adviser, replacing Robert O’Brien in Mr Trump’s administration.

Mr Sullivan, who is the youngest of Mr Biden’s picks at 44, was born in Vermont but moved to Minnesota with his family when he was a child.

He attended Yale University and went on to earn a law degree from the school.

After working as chief counsel to Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, he served as an adviser for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries, and then to Mr Obama for the 2008 presidential election.

After Ms Clinton was made secretary of state during Mr Obama’s presidency, Mr Sullivan worked as her deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning until she stepped down in 2013.

He then taught at Yale Law School and joined the London and New York–based firm, Macro Advisory Partners.

A statement from Mr Biden’s transition team read: “During his time in government, Sullivan was a lead negotiator in the initial talks that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal and played a key role in the US-brokered negotiations that led to a ceasefire in Gaza in 2012.

“He also played a key role in shaping the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy at both the State Department and the White House.”

Mr Sullivan also tweeted that president-elect Biden “taught me what it takes to safeguard our national security at the highest levels of our government. Now, he has asked me to serve as his national security advisor”.

“In service, I will do everything in my power to keep our country safe.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, UN ambassador

Linda Thomas-Greenfield was announced as Mr Biden’s pick for UN ambassador, replacing Kelly Craft who has served in that role for the Trump administration since 2019.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield was born in Louisiana, where she gained a bachelor of arts from the state university. The following year she gained a master’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

A longtime diplomat, Ms Thomas-Greenfield joined the US foreign service in 1982 and served in numerous positions, including the deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

She also served as the US ambassador to Liberia between 2008 and 2012 and later as the director general of the Foreign Service and director of human resources.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield was terminated from the State Department in 2017 by President Trump, as part of a purge of several senior officials in the department.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield was named as a volunteer for Mr Biden’s transition team earlier in November, before being  announced as his pick for the UN ambassador.

Following the announcement, Ms Thomas-Greenfield wrote on Twitter: “My mother taught me to lead with the power of kindness and compassion to make the world a better place.

“I've carried that lesson with me throughout my career in Foreign Service – and, if confirmed, will do the same as ambassador to the United Nations.”

Janet Yellen, treasury secretary

Announced as Mr Biden’s pick for treasury secretary on 23 November, Janet Yellen will replace Steven Mnuchin who has served in that role since February 2017.

Ms Yellen was born in Bay Ridge, New York City, and attended Brown University, where she graduated with a degree in economics, before attaining a PhD in the same subject at Yale University.

She then worked as an assistant professor at Harvard from 1971 to 1976, before she joined the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to research international monetary reform.

Ms Yellen continued to work as a professor in both the UK and US for the next 20 years, before former president Bill Clinton appointed her as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, which she served between 1994 and 1997.

The economist worked as the president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and then as the vice chair of the Federal Reserve from 2010 to 2014, before she was sworn in as the chair at the end of her term.

Since leaving the position in 2017, Ms Yellen has served as a distinguished fellow in residence at think tank the Brooking Institution and has publicly criticised President Trump’s economic policies.

If she is confirmed by the Senate, Ms Yellen will become the first women to serve as the US treasury secretary.

Neera Tanden, director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Neera Tanden was announced as the president-elect’s pick for the OMB director on 30 November 2020, replacing Mick Mulvaney, who was appointed to the position in May 2020.

Ms Tanden, was born in Bedford, Massachusetts, to parents who emigrated to the US from India. If confirmed to her position, she will be the first woman of colour, and only the third woman to hold the title of the OMB director.

She first got a degree from the University of California in 1992, before she graduated from Yale Law School in 1996 with a law degree.

Ms Tanden, who is a personal friend of former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, worked as policy director for Ms Clinton’s successful Senate campaign in 2000 and her unsuccessful run for president in 2008.

She then joined Mr Obama’s successful presidential campaign and served as a senior adviser to secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services during his administration.

Ms Tanden also serves as the president of the advocacy organisation, the Centre for American Progress, which she co-founded in 2003.

The OMB director pick is a prolific Twitter user, which has drawn some criticism from Republicans.

After being nominated, Ms Tanden tweeted: “Every American – Republican, Democrat, and Independent – deserves to know that their government has their back.

“If I have the honour of being confirmed, I’ll never lose sight of that.”

Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services secretary

Xavier Becerra was announced as Mr Biden’s pick for the US Health and Human Services secretary on 8 December 2020, replacing Alex Azar, who has held the position since January 2018.

Mr Becerra was born in Sacramento, California. His father was born in the US but raised in Tijuana, Mexico, while his mother is from Guadalajara. If confirmed, he will be the first Latino person to run the department.

He first studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain, before he completed an economics degree from Stanford University. Like many of Mr Biden’s cabinet picks, he went on to get a law degree, which he obtained from Stanford University.

After working as a lawyer for a number of years and then as a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Mr Becerra was elected as a congressman in California.

The 62-year-old was in Congress from 1993 to 2017, and served as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus between 2013 and 2017.

He then became the California attorney general in 2017, before Mr Biden selected him as his pick for the US Health and Human Services secretary.

General Lloyd Austin, defence secretary

Lloyd Austin was announced as the president-elect’s pick for US defence secretary on 8 December 2020, replacing the acting secretary Christopher Miller, who has held the position since November.

General Austin was born in Alabama, but raised in Georgia. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1975 and obtained a masters from Auburn University's College of Education in 1986 and a masters of business administration from Webster University in 1989.

Having served in the US army in locations across the US and Germany, General Austin was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, where he worked as chief of the Joint Operations Division.

A four-star officer, General Austin served as the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division during the war in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2005, before becoming the commanding general of US Forces in Iraq in 2010.

He was nominated by Mr Obama to the position of commander of the United States Central Command in 2013, which saw him work with Mr Biden on foreign policy .

General Austin was the first Black general to command an army division in combat and will be the first Black person to lead the Pentagon if he is confirmed by the Senate. 

Jeff Zients, coronavirus coordinator

Jeff Zients was announced by Mr Biden as his coronavirus coordinator on 7 December, to lead the team distributing Covid-19 vaccines to US citizens.

Mr Zients was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Kensington, Maryland. He received a degree in political science from Duke University in 1984.

After working in management consulting at Mercer Management Consulting for a number of years, Mr Zients was appointed to the position of chief operating officer of DGB Enterprises in 1996.

He was then promoted to chief executive officer in 1998 and chairman in 2001, which he served as until 2004.

During the Obama administration, Mr Zients was the acting director of the OMB in two spells between 2010 and 2013, and was tasked with fixing the website for the Affordable Care Act, which had launched with errors.

He then served as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council from 2014 to 2017. After leaving government, Mr Zients chaired Facebook’s Audit and Risk Oversight Committee.

Mr Zients was a co-chair of the Biden transition team, before he was appointed as the coronavirus coordinator and a counselor to the president in December.

Vivek Murthy, surgeon general

Dr Vivek Murthy was announced as Mr Biden’s pick for the US surgeon general on 7 December 2020, replacing vice admiral Jerome Adams, who has served in the role since 2017. Dr Murthy previously served in the role under Mr Obama.

He was born in Huddersfield, England, in 1977, to parents who emigrated from Karnataka, India. A year later, the family moved to Newfoundland, off the coast of Canada. When Dr Murthy was three, his family moved again to Miami.

Dr Murthy graduated from Harvard University with a degree in biochemical sciences in 1994 and then earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management in 2003.

Having worked as a physician for a number of years, Dr Murthy was appointed by Mr Obama to the role of surgeon general, which he served as from 2013 until 2017.

After his nomination, Dr Murthy tweeted: “The best doctor is not an authority figure who writes prescriptions, but rather a partner in healing – someone who sees patients in their fullest humanity and empowers them to take charge of their health.

“That’s what I will always strive to be as America’s doctor.”

Pete Buttigieg, secretary of transportation

Pete Buttigieg was announced as Mr Biden’s secretary of transportation on 15 December 2020, replacing Elaine Chao who held the position from 2017 until 11 January 2021.

He was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1982, and went on to attend Harvard University, where he majored in history and literature.

After he graduated, Mr Buttigieg was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Oxford, in England, where he graduated in 2007 with a bachelor of arts in philosophy, politics, and economics.

Mr Buttigieg worked on both Mr Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and Indiana politician Joe Donnelly’s successful 2006 congressional campaign.

He then worked between the private sector and campaigns, before he joined the US Navy Reserve in 2009. Mr Buttigieg was elected as the mayor of South Bend in 2011 and in 2014 took a seven-month leave of absence to be deployed in Afghanistan.

Mr Buttigieg served two terms as the mayor of South Bend between 2012 and 2020 and was the second youngest mayor in the city’s history after he was elected at 29.

He came out as gay in 2015, and in his final year as mayor, he ran for the Democratic nomination for president, but was unsuccessful. He was the first openly LGBT+ candidate to win primary delegates from a major party.

If approved, Mr Buttigieg would be the first openly LGBT+ person to be a permanent member of a US cabinet.

Miguel Cardona, secretary of education

Miguel Cardona was announced as the Biden administration’s secretary of education on 22 December 2020, replacing Betsy DeVos who served in the position from 2017 until 8 January 2021.

Mr Cardona was born in 1975 in Meriden, Connecticut, to parents from Puerto Rico. He grew up with Spanish as his first language.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Central Connecticut State University, before he obtained a master of science in bilingual and bicultural education at University of Connecticut. Mr Cardona became a doctor of education in 2011.

After starting his career teaching fourth-grade students, Mr Cardona became the principal at Hanover Elementary School in 2003, becoming Connecticut’s youngest principal for 10 years.

He later worked as an adjunct professor of education in the University of Connecticut's department of educational leadership and as assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Meriden.

In 2019, Mr Cardona was appointed the state’s commissioner of education, becoming the first Latino person to hold that position.

He has been vocal in his support to get children back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic, and seems like a good fit for Mr Biden, who has set a goal of reopening a majority of US schools by his 100th day in office.

Merrick Garland, attorney general

Merrick Garland was announced as Mr Biden’s choice for US attorney general on 7 January 2021, replacing Jeffrey Rosen, who took over from the previous attorney general William Barr following his resignation in December 2020.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1952, and was raised in a conservative Jewish tradition. 

After receiving a scholarship, Mr Garland attended Harvard University, graduating with a degree in social studies. He then completed a law degree at Harvard Law School before he served as a law clerk for justice William Brennan of the US Supreme Court.

Mr Garland worked in both the private sector and the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, before he was confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1997.

He then became the chief judge of the DC circuit in 2013. His seven-year term ended in 2020 but he is still an active member of the court.

Judge Garland was nominated to the US Supreme Court by Mr Obama in 2016, but never had his confirmation hearing. He is seen as a political moderate.

Jennifer Granholm, secretary of energy

Jennifer Granholm was announced as Mr Biden’s nominee for the US secretary of energy on 17 December 2020, replacing Dan Brouillette who has served in the role since 2019.

Ms Granholm was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1959, but moved with her parents to California when she was just four years old. She became a naturalised US citizen at the age of 21.

After working on John B Anderson’s presidential campaign in 1980, she studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a degree in political science and French. She then gained a law degree from Harvard University.

She became an assistant US attorney in Michigan in 1991 and became attorney general in 1998. In 2002, she was elected as the governor of the state.

Ms Granholm served two terms as Michigan’s governor and also worked as part of Mr Obama’s economic advisory team after he was elected president.

In a tweet after being nominated, Ms Granholm wrote: “Been doing a deep dive into the Department of @ENERGY since being nominated.

“Awed by the work of the scientists at the DOE labs doing critical research into next-gen clean energy technologies. So hopeful for our planet.”

Isabel Casillas Guzman, administrator of the Small Business Administration

Isabel Casillas Guzman was announced as Mr Biden’s nominee for the administrator of the Small Business Administration on 7 January 2021, replacing Jovita Carranza who has served in the role since 2020.

Ms Guzman was born in Burbank, California, in the early 1970s and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

She previously worked as the deputy chief of staff and senior adviser at the Small Business Administration in California, and now serves as the director of California's Office of the Small Business Advocate.

After her nomination was announced, Ms Guzman tweeted: “We have to build our economy back better from this pandemic.

“Small businesses and their employees will be core to our recovery and I will work around the clock to help them re-open and thrive.”

Deb Haaland, secretary of the interior

Deb Haaland, 60, was announced as the Biden administration’s secretary of the interior on 17 December 2020, replacing David Bernhardt who has served in the role since January 2019.

She was born in 1960 in Winslow, Arizona, and after working in a bakery enrolled to the University of New Mexico at age 28, where she earned a bachelor of arts in English in 1994.

Ms Haaland then earned her juris doctor in Indian law from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2006.

During Mr Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, Ms Haaland worked as the vote director for Native Americans in New Mexico before then serving as the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico Native American Caucus from 2012 to 2013.

She ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of New Mexico in 2014 before becoming the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2015. She became the first Native American woman to lead a state party.

In 2018, Ms Haaland became one of the first two Native American women in congress, when she was elected as a House representative in New Mexico.

Ms Haaland has been vocal in her support of climate change policies. If confirmed to the role, she would be the first Native American to head the department and be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

Marcia Fudge, secretary of housing and urban development

Marcia Fudge was announced as Mr Biden’s secretary of housing and urban development on 10 December 2020, replacing Ben Carson who has served in the role since 2017.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1952 and went on to earn a bachelor of science in business from Ohio State University in 1975. Ms Fudge then earned a law degree from Cleveland State University Cleveland–Marshall College of Law in 1983.

After working as a law clerk and an auditor, Ms Fudge served as the mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, from 2000 until 2008. She was the town’s first African American and first female mayor.

She then became a House representative for Ohio in 2008 and has served in that role for more than 12 years.

Ms Fudge publicly mulled a bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as house speaker in 2018, but in the end decided to support the incumbent, who was once again reelected.

She currently chairs the House Administration Committee's subcommittee on elections and the Agriculture Committee's subcommittee on nutrition, oversight and department operations, and previously chaired the Congressional Black Caucus.

Denis McDonough, secretary of veterans’ affairs

Denis McDonough was announced as the Biden administration’s nominee for the secretary of veterans’ affairs on 10 December 2020, replacing Robert Wilkie who has served in the role since 2018.

Mr McDonough was born in Stillwater, Minnesota, in 1969, and graduated from Saint John's University with a degree in history and Spanish in 1992. In 1996, he then graduated from Georgetown University's Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service with an MSFS degree.

After working as an aide and adviser in numerous roles in politics, Mr McDonough became Mr Obama’s chief foreign policy adviser during his 2008 presidential campaign.

During Mr Obama’s time in office, Mr McDonough worked as the deputy national security adviser and then as his chief of staff.

Following the end of Mr Obama’s presidency, Mr McDonough worked at the Markle Foundation. If his position is confirmed, he would be just the second non-veteran to serve in the role of secretary of veterans’ affairs

CNN reported that Mr McDonough has a close relationship with Mr Biden.

Gina Raimondo, commerce secretary

Gina Raimondo was announced as the Biden administration’s commerce secretary on 7 January 2021, replacing Wilbur Ross who has served in the role since 2017.

Ms Raimondo was born in 1971 in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and graduated from Harvard College with a degree in economics in 1993. She then received MA and DPhil degrees at the University of Oxford. She also earned a law degree from Yale University in 1998.

After working as a law clerk, Dr Raimondo co-founded Rhode Island’s first venture capital firm before it later relocated to Boston.

Her first foray into politics came when she was elected as the general treasurer of Rhode Island in 2010, before she then became the state’s governor in 2014. Dr Raimondo is the state’s first female governor.

Dr Raimondo was also considered as Mr Biden’s health and human services secretary, before being nominated for commerce.

In a tweet after her nomination was announced, Dr Raimondo wrote: “Rhode Island may be small, but our economy is mighty on the strength of our small businesses and innovative technologies.

 “As secretary of commerce, I will harness that same American ingenuity to create good-paying union jobs and build our economy back better than ever before.”

Michael S Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Michael S Regan was announced as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 17 December 2020, replacing Andrew R Wheeler who had served in the role since 2019.

He was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1975 and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in earth and environmental science from North Carolina A&T State University.

He then received a master of public administration degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Mr Regan worked as an environmental regulator for the EPA from 1998 to 2008, before he became the associate vice president for clean energy and a southeast regional director for the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF).

He then became the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality in January 2017, where he has overseen the state's climate change interagency council.

If confirmed to his position, he would be the first African American man to lead the EPA.

Following his nomination, Mr Regan tweeted: “We will be driven by our conviction that every person has the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthier life – no matter how much money they have in their pocket, the colour of their skin, or what community they live in.

“And that’s what we’ll pursue together 👍🏾🌎”

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture

Tom Vilsack was announced as Mr Biden’s nominee for the US secretary of agriculture on 10 December 2020, replacing Sonny Perdue, who has served in the role since 2017.

Mr Vilsack was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1950, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in 1972. He then received a law degree from Albany Law School in 1975.

He volunteered as part of Mr Biden’s presidential campaign in 1987 before he became the mayor of Mount Pleasant in Iowa later that year.

Mr Vilsack was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1992 and then became the state’s governor in 1998. He served in this role until 2007 and was the first Democratic governor in the state for 30 years.

He ran for president in 2007, but later dropped out and offered his support to Ms Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign.

Mr Vilsack was Mr Obama’s secretary of agriculture throughout his eight years in office and became the president and chief executive of the US Dairy Export Council following the end of that administration.

Martin Walsh, secretary of labour

Martin Walsh was announced as Mr Biden’s secretary of labour on 7 January 2021, replacing Eugene Scalia who has served in the role since September 2019.

He was born in Dorchester, Boston, in 1967, and later in life received a bachelor's degree from the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College in 2009.

Mr Walsh first joined the Laborers' Union Local 223 at age 21, and went on to serve as its president until 2013. He also led Boston's Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents ironworker and electrician unions.

He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1997 and became the mayor of Boston in 2013. He has a good relationship with Mr Biden, and was called by him after he became the mayor of Boston.

In a tweet after his nomination was announced, Mr Walsh wrote: “Working people, labour unions, and those fighting every day for their shot at the middle class are the backbone of our economy and of this country.

“As secretary of labour, I’ll work just as hard for you as you do for your families and livelihoods. You have my word.”

Katherine Tai, United States trade representative

Katherine Tai was announced as the Biden administration’s United States trade representative on 10 December 2020, replacing Robert Lighthizer who has served in the role since 2017.

Ms Tai was born in Connecticut but grew up in Washington, DC. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan before she was born. She is fluent in Mandarin.

She initially earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Yale University, before she received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

After teaching English at Sun Yat-sen University as a Yale-China Fellow, she went on to work in the Trade Representative's Office of General Counsel. Ms Tai was named chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee in 2017.

Ms Tai oversaw trade enforcement for China during Mr Obama’s administration and negotiated policy in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that was signed in 2020.

Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors

Cecilia Rouse was announced as Mr Biden’s nominee for the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors on 30 November 2020, replacing Tyler Goodspeed who served in the role from 2020 until 7 January 2021.

Ms Rouse was born in California and went on to receive a bachelor of arts in economics from Harvard University in 1986 and a PhD in economics in 1992.

Following her studies, Ms Rouse taught at Princeton University and became a professor of economics and public affairs. She also served as the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Ms Rouse served as a member of Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and then again for Mr Obama between 2009 and 2011.

After her nomination was announced, Ms Rouse tweeted: “I am focused on the task ahead. This job is about advising the President on how to rebuild and revive our economy. The planning for a fairer economy, grounded in facts and evidence, begins now.

“I’m proud to be nominated as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.”

A majority of Mr Biden’s nominations still need to be confirmed by congress before starting in their roles following his inauguration on 20 January.

Note: the section about Jake Sullivan previously referred to the ‘law firm’ Macro Advisory Partners. The company is not a law firm and we updated this article on 2 December 2020, by removing the word ‘law’ .

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