With focus on diversity, Biden packs key positions with Indian Americans

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Joe Biden fills key positions with Indian Americans.

From fighting COVID-19 to building back the economy to reforming the system of immigration, Biden-Harris administration will include at least 25 Indian Americans 

Our Bureau
Washington, DC 

“As Senator, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as Vice President, Joe Biden has supported Indian Americans and a strong friendship between India and the United States. Diverse and vibrant communities of Indian Americans enrich the fabric of our nation in every state of the union. As President, Biden will work in partnership with these communities; celebrate their extraordinary contributions to America’s success, prosperity, and safety; listen to Indian Americans’ needs; and put in place policies that address their priorities,” says the campaign website of President-elect Joe Biden. 

Biden, who will assume presidency on January 20, 2021, seems to be keeping his word. 

This week, the US President-elect named Gautam Raghavan and Vinay Reddy to the post of Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel and Director of Speechwriting respectively. Gautam Raghavan currently serves as Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments on the Biden-Harris Transition. He had earlier served as Chief of Staff to US 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.

Gautam Raghavan

During the Obama-Biden Administration, Raghavan served in the White House as the liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and in the White House Liaison Office for the US Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group.

Vinay Reddy serves as a speechwriter on the Biden-Harris Transition. He had earlier 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.

Vinay Reddy

Earlier on Monday, Biden appointed Bharat Ramamurti as deputy director for the National Economic Council for Financial Reform and Consumer Protection. Ramamurti is the Managing Director of the Corporate Power program at the Roosevelt Institute. He was also appointed in April to serve on the Congressional Oversight Commission for the CARES Act by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Previously, Ramamurti was the top economic adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren during her 2020 presidential campaign and senior counsel for banking and economic policy in her Senate office.

Born in Massachusetts, Ramamurti is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two daughters.

Joe Biden continues to fill his government structure in a way that will “look like the country”, at least 25 Indian Americans are set to hold roles in the new administration, with at least 15 in key policy positions. They have selected several individuals for key roles, including Neera Tanden, Vivek Murthy, Rohini Kosoglu, Ali Zaidi, Bharat Ramamurti, Vedant Patel, Vinay Reddy and Gautam Raghavan. 

While Murthy will co-chair Biden’s Covid task force, Dr Atul Gawande and Dr Celine Gounder, who traces her roots to a Tamil Nadu village, will also be part of the task force.

Among other appointments, Dr Arun Majumdar, former Google executive, Obama official, and IIT-Bombay graduate, will lead the transition team for the Energy Department; Dr Rahul Gupta will lead the transition with the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Kiran Ahuja has been nominated for Team Lead for Office of Personnel Management; Vedant Patel will be assistant press secretary of the White House; Mala Adiga will be policy director to First Lady Dr Jill Biden; Bhavya Lal will lead the transition at NASA; Punnet Talwar will be on the agency review team for the US Department of State; Pav Singh will help transition the National Security Council; and Seema Nanda will be with the US Department of Labor.

Among these names, Vedant Patel, a former communications aide to House of Representatives member Pramila Jayapal, as his assistant press secretary, stands out. 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.

Patel 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.

Vedant Patel

Biden seems to be creating an inclusive Cabinet. “Indian Americans, like all Americans, are deeply invested in the core elements of our future — education, access to high-quality, affordable health care, addressing the climate crisis, and reforming and modernizing our immigration system in a way that aligns with our values,” says Biden’s website. “Our government will reflect the diversity of the United States, and Indian American voices will be included in shaping the policies that impact their communities.” 

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