State and Local Leaders Tapped to Assist With Biden Transition

President-elect Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


Connecting state and local government leaders

The president-elect’s “agency review teams,” including one focused on transportation, will in some cases be led by state and local government officials.

State and local government officials from around the country will join, and in some cases lead, teams that will assist with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition into the White House.

Biden’s camp announced the “agency review teams” on Tuesday. They’ll be tasked with taking stock of operations at federal agencies to help ensure a smooth transfer of power. Some of the team members who now work in state and local government were also previously officials in the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president.

As of Tuesday, there was still ongoing tension over the transition as President Trump has refused to concede defeat in last week’s election.

And and least one of the president’s appointees, Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, has declined to allow a process to move forward that would unlock resources like government funding and office space for Biden’s transition efforts.

The naming of the review teams, staffed predominantly by volunteers, is an example of how work on the transition is taking place. 

Biden’s Department of Transportation team will be led by Phillip Washington, CEO of the agency that operates public transportation in the Los Angeles metro area.

Polly Trottenberg, who heads New York City’s transportation department and was an under secretary of transportation for policy during the Obama years, is also on that panel.

Jeff Marootian, director of the District of Columbia’s department of transportation, will serve on the review team, too. He was a White House liaison and assistant secretary for administration at the U.S Department of Transportation under the Obama administration.

Also on the transportation team is Therese McMillan, executive director of a nine-county Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area and a top Federal Transit Administration official in the Obama-era.

Gabe Klein, former commissioner of the Chicago and Washington D.C. transportation departments, is on the team as well.

With Health and Human Services, Robert Gordon, director of Michigan’s health and human services department, will be one of the team leads. He, too, held roles at federal agencies during the Obama years, including at the Office of Management and Budget.

Leandra English will lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau team. She is currently a policy advisor at New York state's Department of Financial Services. English resigned as deputy director of CFPB in the earlier days of the Trump administration after getting into a legal dispute with the White House over the leadership of the bureau.

Manuel Alvarez, commissioner of California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, is also on the CFPB team.

The teams include dozens of other members from a range of professions and backgrounds, affiliated with organizations that include law firms, technology companies, think tanks, unions and academia. A full roster can be found here.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington.

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