The Cabinet Stars in The Biden-Harris Administration

Amancay Tapia

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President elect Jo Biden takes office on Jan 20th and he is already on his way to having the most diverse cabinet in the history of the United States of America.

A country where members of the Biden-Harris administration will represent modern American society. Ethnically diverse and multicultural.

Let’s look at some of those new Cabinet members;

The barrier-breaking public servant

The star of the Cabinet at this stage is no doubt congresswoman Deb Haaland. She will be the first Native American to lead the agency of governing public lands.

As the interior secretary, she will be the first Indigenous person in a cabinet secretary role.

Ms Deb Haaland will be responsible for the management of public land and honouring its treaties with the Native Americans from whom those lands were taken.

She will also manage the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration, which handles Native American finances, and Bureau of Indian Education.

Her appointment is very significant as many Native American groups have in the past clashed with the Interior department, which for years dislocated many Indigenous communities.

Ms Deb Haaland is 60 and a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and she was elected to congress back in 2018. She has two years of experience on the House Natural Resources Committee.

A foreign born Secretary of Homeland Security

Even though he has lived in the United States since he was a baby, he was born in La Habana, Cuba, to Jewish parents.

Cuban-American Alejandro Mayorkas, will serve as the head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of the Department during the Obama administration and he led the implementation fo the DACA-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -program which the Biden administration plans to restore.

He certainly has the skills, empathy and humanity needed to lead this department.

A top educational official as Education Department Secretary

Miguel Cardona is the child of Puerto Rican immigrants, he has worked as a teacher in public schools and so he has a good knowledge of the needs of the U.S. education system.

He is currently the education commissioner for Connecticut and once Biden takes offfice, Mr Cardona will be in charge of reopening schools safely after suffering the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden-Harris administration, plans to provide universal access to 3-4-year-olds and to increase the federal funding to schools under Miguel Cardona supervision.

The first Latino to run the Health and Human Services Department

Xavier Becerra is the California Attorney General and he will be the Health and Human Services secretary. He will be the first Latino to do so.

He is the proud son of Mexican immigrants who educated their 4 children on solid values based around hard work.

His mum was a secretary in Jalisco who could hardly speak English when she arrived and his dad was a builder of Mexican origin but born in the United States.

Mr Becerra lived in one-bedroom apartment with his three sisters as a kid and despite his very humble working class background, he went on to achieve excellence academically and professionally.

An example of a self-made man, he studied abroad at the University of Salamanca, Spain for one year before graduating in economics from Stanford University and receiving his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.

He is passionate about ensuring every American has access to quality health care.

The Health and Human Services Department that Mr Becerra will lead, faces many challenges including the successful rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A black man leading the Pentagon

General Lloyd Austin will be Secretary of Defence and he will be the first Black person to lead the Pentagon.

The choice of General Austin for Secretary of Defence was a bit controversial as he is a recently retired Army general, he is also the former commander of the American military effort in Iraq.

Because the United States is a nation that prides itself on civilian control of the military, critics argue that he is a bit too close to the armed forces to bring a much needed civilian oversight to the role.

Amongst other things, General Lloyd Austin will be expected to renew America’s relationship with allies, strained by the Trump administration and to deal with crises such as pandemics, refugee issues or climate emergencies.

The first female to be Secretary of the Treasury

Janet Yellen would be the first female Treasury secretary in U.S. history, a role that has always been dominated by white men.

Her main task as soon as Biden takes office will be rebuilding the U.S. economy. An economy still struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic and high unemployment

Her experience in American fiscal policy- she was the former Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018- will be key in helping the economy heal.

Recently, it was revealed that she earned an enormous amount of money in speaking fees from Wall Street and other large corporations including companies she advised such as for example Blackstone, a well known investment giant and a vulture fund.

A bit of a contradiction if we consider Ms Yellen’s belief that economic policy must focus more on Main Street than on Wall Street.

At age 74, she is definitely a pioneer as she entered her profession as an economist at a time when hardly any women did.

One thing is for sure, the talented team of the Biden-Harris administration, no doubt represent that unique magic of America to turn dreams into reality.

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