Historic firsts of Biden’s incoming administration

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Several of President-elect Joe Biden‘s nominees would make history if confirmed by the United States Senate to serve in top roles in his incoming administration.

Since winning the election, Biden has made moves to carry out his campaign promise of building an administration that looks like and reflects the diversity of America.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has already shattered a monumental barrier by becoming the first woman elected Vice President.

Here are other people who would be historic firsts:

First Black deputy secretary of the Treasury

  • Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo: Adeyemo currently serves as the president of the Obama Foundation. Adeyemo served during the Obama administration as the President’s senior international economic adviser, and also served as deputy national security adviser, deputy director of the National Economic Council, the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and senior adviser and deputy chief of staff at the Department of the Treasury.

First Hispanic American White House social secretary

  • Carlos Elizondo: Elizondo was a special assistant to the president and social secretary to the Bidens for all eight years of the Obama administration. He will be the first Hispanic American appointed to this position. During the Clinton administration, Elizondo served in both the White House and in the Office of the US Chief of Protocol.

First woman to lead the US intelligence community

  • Avril Haines: Haines would become the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence. Haines served as assistant to the president and principal deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama. She chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, which is responsible for formulating the administration’s national security and foreign policy. Haines previously served as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Avril was also legal adviser to the NSC. She served as deputy chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while Biden served as chairman.

First Latino and immigrant as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

  • Alejandro Mayorkas: Mayorkas would be the first Latino and immigrant as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security if confirmed by the Senate. He was deputy secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, and served as the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. While at USCIS, Mayorkas oversaw the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was an executive action under Obama that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation. President Trump moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017 but was ultimately blocked by the Supreme Court from doing so.

First woman as Treasury secretary

  • Janet Yellen: Yellen would make history as the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary. Yellen already made history as the first woman to have chaired the Federal Reserve, and did so from 2014 to 2018. She previously served for four years as the vice chair of the board, and president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for four years prior to that. Yellen was also chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999.

Read about the other historic firsts here.

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