Biden begins appointment announcements


photo by Bethany Barker

Laura Shaw’s column is a recurring column where she discusses her view of political matters and events both locally and nationally.

Despite a bumpy start, with little cooperation from the current administration, the Biden-Harris team has begun transitioning into the upcoming presidency and started announcing Cabinet appointments mid November. 

Some familiar names from their positions in the Obama administration include former deputy Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who was announced to be appointed Secretary of State and former deputy of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas was also appointed Secretary of Homeland Security. 

The trend here is that Biden is doing exactly what he campaigned on: a third Obama term and this is quite concerning. Although it seems that Biden significantly admires government experience for his appointment picks, which is refreshing, reusing the same people as Obama could be detrimental to him creating his own narrative as President. Hostility across party lines is of course expected to continue and Republicans have a history of not favoring the Obama-Biden cabinet. What people really wanted was a significant change in leadership, appointing individuals that have already served in said department levels is a safe move, but I’m afraid it could be a rocky start to the administration if little to no appointments are accepted.

This fear is due to the heavily anticipated Georgia runoffs that are set to take place next month. Each race is raising millions of dollars to win, rightly so because there is a lot at stake. What’s important to keep in mind with these appointments is the fact that they all must be passed by the incoming Senate. If both Democratic candidates are elected, the Senate will be 50/50, but if Democrats lose even one race they will be forced to try to appeal to a Republican majority. 

Despite the fear of rejection of candidates, there are a few picks that are especially interesting. New faces in the administration include former Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was appointed to UN Ambassador. Also, Michele Lujan Grisham, the first Latina governor in the US, is a contender for Health and Human Services. Greenfield and Grisham are highly qualified women of color that will hopefully provide diversity and a needed perspective to efficiently represent the American people. As well as these strong women, the entire Biden Communications team is female led. 

And some more potential wins are familiar for a different reason, former presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are contenders for positions as well, both of whom would be a win for progressives.

Surprisingly not among those listed is Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren was rumored to be considered for Vice President and later Treasury Secretary. Instead, Biden nominated former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen. There is no questioning that Yellen is highly qualified for the position, but I am disappointed that someone such as Warren that garnered a large amount of media following throughout her presidential campaign will not be holding a higher office. 

Biden has a lot of potential for a highly qualified and diverse administration. Every member of his cabinet so far has lots of experience in their field and will be sure to do an adequate job but there is more expected of these positions than what he has provided so far. I am hoping as more appointments are announced we will see a more diverse list of candidates that can bring new ideas to the White House and create a presentable reputation of America once again.